Fried Crisp Pork with Chile-Peanut Sauce (Carnitas con Salsa Guajillo y Cacahuates)

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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Salsa Guajillos y Cachuates:
2 cups water
4 guajillos, stemmed and seeded
2 anchos, stemmed and seeded
5 chiles de árbols, stemmed and seeded
1/4 lb tomatillos, husked
1 white onion, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup roasted peanuts

2 1/2 cups water
10 bunches thyme
2 sprigs oregano
1 medium white onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic
2 lb boneless pork butt diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 lb lard
Warm corn tortillas
Sliced radishes
Shredded lettuce


For the salsa: In a small saucepot, bring 2 cups of water to boil.

In a cast iron skillet, toast the chiles until they start to smoke and blister. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl and cover with boiling water.

Put the soaked chiles, peanuts, onion, tomatillo, and garlic in a food processor with the chile water. Puree until smooth, and season with salt and pepper.

For the carnitas: In a large stockpot, heat 2 1/2 cups of water with the thyme, oregano, white onion, garlic, and salt. When it comes to a boil, add the diced pork butt and cook covered for 1 hour. Remove and drain.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the lard. When lard is smoking, sear the pork to brown all sides. Remove and serve with warm tortillas, guajillo-peanut sauce, radishes, and shredded lettuce.

Serves 4 to 6.