Mexican Chili-Seasoned Pot Roasted Pork (Cochito Chiapaneco)

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.

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For the sauce:
2 dried ancho chiles
4 guajillo chiles
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
half a small onion
1/4 tsp allspice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
Pinch of cloves
1/2 tsp salt

For the pork:
3 1/4 lb boned pork shoulder


Soak the chiles in hot water in a small bowl until they rehydrate and plump up, and then add them to a blender along with 1/3 cup of the soaking water and two bay leaves.

Blend until you have a smooth paste, then add a teaspoon of mixed dried herbs, half of a small onion, a quarter of a teaspoon of allspice, two tablespoons of cider vinegar and a pinch of ground cloves. Blend again until the paste becomes smooth and thick. Add a little more water to keep the blades turning, if necessary.

The sauce needs some cooking to take the rawness off the onion and chille, so heat a large tablespoon of lard in a pan until it starts to smoke, and then add the sauce. It should splutter indignantly, and you’ll be able to smell the chiles. Keep the heat moderate and stir constantly for about five minutes until the sauce sears and concentrates.

Season with half a teaspoon of salt.

Chile seasoned Mexican pot roasted pork:
Now for the meat. You’ll need about a 3 1/4 lb of boned pork shoulder, skinned and sliced into thick slabs about 2 inches thick.

Lay the meat in a large pan, and tip the sauce over it, using a spoon to slather it around so that every surface of the pork is covered well. Add 1/3 cup of water, put the lid on the pan and cook in the oven at 350 degrees F for at least two and a half hours, basting the meat periodically with the sauce and rendered fat.
,br. When it’s ready, the pork will be tender to the point of falling apart.

Use a pair of tongs to lift the cooked meat out onto a chopping board and then tear and shred it apart into chunks using a pair of forks. You’ll be left with a pile of steaming hot, richly flavored tender pork.

Reduce the sauce a little over a high heat, check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary, then pour liberally over the shredded pork.

It seems like there’s a lot of chile in the sauce, but the long, slow cooking mellows the flavor considerably, and the pork soaks up and distributes the heat effectively. This is not a punch-in-the-face chile dish, rather it has a more subtle and interesting flavor, and it doesn’t hurt when you eat it…

This pork is a fantastic building block. It can be eaten as it is, with rice and maybe a green salad, or used as a filling for tacos. Cold, it makes an extraordinarily good lunch.

This recipe is from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen.