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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pork Tinga with Potatoes & Fresh Cheese

I'm a big fan of cooking shows on PBS. Our local station airs quite a variety, and just recently I've discovered Rick Bayless' Mexico - One Plate at a Time. I love Mexican food, so of course I was intrigued. Rick shows the origins of the food he makes (shot on-site in Mexico), then returns to his home in Chicago to recreate the dishes. Since this one was made in the slow cooker and didn't have any 'exotic' ingredients (i.e., I actually had all the ingredients already), I had to try it. I'd never even heard of tinga before, but this recipe yields melt-in-your-mouth pork and potatoes covered in a deeply flavored tomato sauce that is excellent with corn tortillas. It's the 'least effort for the most flavor' dish I've ever made. It may not photograph very well, but it is simply delicioso.

Pork Tinga with Potatoes & Fresh Cheese

1 Tablespoon canola or olive oil
1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
4 ounces chorizo sausage, removed from its casing (optional - I left this out)
4 to 5 medium (about 3/4 pound total) red-skinned potatoes, chopped into ~3/4-inch cubes
1 large white or yellow onion, sliced 1/4–inch thick
1 garlic clove, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles, en adobo, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chipotle canning sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
For serving:
About 1/2 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like salted pressed farmers cheese
Sour cream
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and diced (optional)
Warm corn tortillas (wrap ~10 corn tortillas in a heavily damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute, then place in tortilla warmer or wrap in a clean kitchen towel)


Heat the oil in a stovetop-rated slow cooker* liner over medium-high heat. (If your slow cooker liner isn’t made from a material that can be used on a stovetop, use a very large (12-inch) non-stick skillet.) Once the oil is very hot, add the pork and chorizo (if using) in an single layer and cook, stirring until the meat has browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and if you’re using a skillet, transfer the meat and its juices into the slow cooker. Add the potatoes.

In a large bowl, combine the onions, garlic, tomatoes, chipotles, adobo sauce, Worcestershire, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour mixture into the slow cooker and stir to mix thoroughly. Cook for 6 hours at the highest temperature.
After six hours, gently stir the tinga. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little water. Taste, and season with salt if you think the dish needs it.

*For stove-top cooking, brown the meat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (i.e., Dutch oven). Add remaining ingredients to the pot as directed for slow-cooker. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat. Simmer for ~2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Scoop into a large bowl. Serve with warm tortillas and queso fresco, sour cream, & avocado (if using) on the side.

Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless' Mexico - One Plate at a Time, Season 7

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