Well, guys, I had big plans to make this blog post something really special. After hearing Daniel Johnson speak at the CCCD, Mark Hewitt and John joined Alex and me for Mexican food at the house. The table was set, the lighting was moody, steam rose seductively from the pots, and the diners had gathered around the table. But just as everything was looking Instagram-worthy, Vita made it very clear that the only thing I was allowed to do at that moment was hold her over my shoulder and bounce around in circles lest she let loose her pterodactyl screech on repeat. If I don't take beautiful photos of the food I cook and eat, did it even happen?
So you'll just have to trust that the finished product - before we dug in - was beautiful. With all this rain all I wanted to do was hole up in my kitchen and cook from the Mexico cookbook that Alex gave me as a Valentine's Day gift last year. Vita has recently started protesting the car, so to save myself the trouble of having to go to a specialty grocery store, I chose recipes with ingredients available entirely at the farmer's market. Mexican food is so much more than enchiladas, rice and beans. The following recipe from Veracruz is easy to make, full of flavor, and features only produce that's in season in the South right now.
I'd tell you more but this baby wants my attention and she's just too cute to resist.
Calabazita de Castilla Con Carne de Puerco // Pork with Pumpkin
- 1 lb boneless pork, diced in 1 inch pieces & salted generously
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 small pumpkin (or any sweet, dense, orange fleshed winter squash you’ve got lying around)
- 2 large ears of corn, cut from the cob
- 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 3 poblano peppers, dry roasted* (and maybe a serrano if you’d like more heat)
- 2 cloves
- a large handful of chopped cilantro & fresh mint
- Salt & Pepper
1. In a large pot, heat a little oil to Medium-High and add the meat. Brown the meat on all sides before lowering the heat and adding the onions and garlic. Stir for a minute or two until the onion is fragrant. Then, add enough water to cover the pot's contents, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
2. Remove the meat and onions. Strain the liquid and then return it to the pot. Add the cubed pumpkin or squash and simmer for 15 minutes. Return the meat and onions to the pot and add the corn, tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, and cloves. Season with more salt and pepper.
3. Transfer the pot from the stovetop to the oven and cook, covered, at 270 for two to three hours, or until the meat is very tender.
4. Adjust salt & pepper before serving and stir in more fresh cilantro and the mint. Serve over long grain white rice or with tortillas. And Negra Modelo of course.