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Immediately, I knew I didn't want to make something sweet. Too obvious, right? But, how could I combine such desserty ingredients into a savory dish?
The answer: Mole and salsa.
A traditional mole sauce contains a long list of ingredients--including several kinds of chile peppers, garlic, seeds, nuts, tomatoes, spices, herbs, chocolate--and takes several days to make. According to Diana Kennedy, the authority on Mexican food:
The word mole comes from the Nahuatl word molli, meaning "concoction." The majority of people respond, when mole is mentioned, with "Oh yes, I know--that chocolate sauce. […]" Well, it isn't a chocolate sauce. One little piece of chocolate (and in Mexico we used to grind cacao beans for the mole) goes into a large casserole full of rich dark-brown and russet chiles. […] As in other Mexican sauces, the seasonings and spices are not used with such a heavy hand that they vie with each for recognition, but rather build up to a harmonious whole.For my recipe, I include the chocolate in the form of unsweetened cocoa powder AND chocolate stout beer to braise a big hunk of pork (because, what's sexier than deliciously fatty pork? NOT MUCH). There's cinnamon in there, too, which is traditional for a mole sauce. A sweet and spicy strawberry salsa tops it off.
Mole Carnitas with Strawberry Salsa
carnitas adapted from Pinch of Yum
For the carnitas:
4-5 pound pork boneless shoulder
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon each of unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, & black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon allspice
12 ounces chocolate stout
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
- Place the pork shoulder in a crockpot.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl & pour over the pork.
- Cook on low for 10-11 hours.
- Remove the pork from the liquid, let cool enough to handle, then shred the meat.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or aluminum foil. Place the shredded meat on the cooking sheet and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until the edges of the meat brown.
|Mmmmm….juicy, unctuous, crispy pork. I'm in love.|
- Serve on corn tortillas with strawberry salsa, cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, avocado, sliced jalapeños, and a squeeze of lime.
For the salsa:
1 pound of strawberries, hulled
1 jalapeño, seeded
1 medium shallot, peeled
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon each of salt & pepper
- Place all ingredients in a food processor & pulse until desired consistency.
- Check for seasoning before serving.