Asado de Bodas

by Meg Cotner on April 30, 2010

final dish

Last week I was in a bookstore, and found my way to the cooking section (no big surprise there).  I was there with the intent to buy some food writing or a memoir.  I saw a number of books that were perfectly respectable candidates, but nothing spoke to me at that time.  Then I spied Diana Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking, and had to check it out.  For a while now, I’ve been debating whether to get a basic Mexican cookbook by Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy, not sure which I’d prefer.   After perusing this book, I knew I had to have it.  And I’m glad I did.

There are so many delicious sounding recipes in here!  I knew I had some pork kebab meat in the freezer that I wanted to use, so I checked out the pork section.  I came across this recipe for Asado de Bodas – a northern wedding dish from Durango and Coahuila – and it looked perfect.  The flavors sounded wonderful – chiles, chocolate, tomatillos – and the method looked pretty simple (boiling, sauteeing).

I prepared it after work last night.  It took a little longer to make than I anticipated, but none of the steps were difficult.  It was worth the time and waiting – this pork is good.  It’s warm and tangy, which just the tiniest hint of bitterness in the background, not at all disturbing (I’m not normally fond of bitter things).   The tartness of the tomatillos takes care of the harsh bitterness you often find in chile soaking liquid.  As the sauce thickens, it tastes more intense, as would be expected.  I just loved it.

ingredient collage

I got to use some special ingredients, too.  I had a few stale tortillas from Tortilleria Nixtamal; the chocolate I used was made by Taza, so it is organic and stone ground, with a hint of cinnamon in it; and the pastured pork I used was sourced from the wonderful Lewis-Waite farm via my CSA.

While I’ve included the recipe as-is, I did make a few adjustments.  First, I halved the recipe, simply because I had one pound of pork on hand instead of two.  I used extra virgin olive oil, because I haven’t rendered my lard yet. I used ground cumin instead of cumin seed, because that’s what I had.   I also chose to cut the pork into slightly smaller sizes because I like it that way.

sauce collage

And I used a regular old Queens bay leaf instead of a Mexican bay leaf.  Interesting story – as T and I were walking around Corona one day, we noticed a house with a big greenhouse attached to it.  The older man who lived there came out and said hello, and we remarked how amazing his house looked with that green house attached.  He invited us in and showed us around – he’s growing citrus trees in there!  Also a bay laurel tree, and so he snipped off a handful of leaves for us.  Such a kind and neighborly thing to do – I’ve loved using these bay leaves in my cooking.

I ate this over millet cooked with chicken broth, but tortillas would be wonderful.  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

Asado de Bodas
From The Art of Mexican Cooking

The Meat
2 pounds (900 g) pork with some fat, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1/4 medium onion, roughly sliced
2 garlic cloves peeled
sea salt to taste

The Sauce
6 tbs lard
4 chiles anchos, slit open, veins and seeds removed
the pork broth
About 8 tomatillos
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small slice dried French bread
1/2 dried corn tortilla
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 oz Mexican drinking chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 Mexican bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
Thinly pared zest of 1 orange
sea salt to taste

Put the pork into a saucepan; add the onion, garlic, and salt to taste. Cover the meat with water, cover the pan, and bring to a simmer; cook slowly for about 25 minutes. Remove 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the broth and keep warm in a bowl. Continue cooking the meat, uncovered, until it is just tender but not soft and the water has been absorbed – about 15 minutes (cooking time will vary with the quality and cut of the meat).

Melt 3 tbs of the lard in a frying pan and fry the dried chiles very briefly on each side until they are an opaque tobacco brown inside – about 3 seconds. Remove from pan an add to the broth.  Fry the tomatillos and garlic until golden and transfer them to the broth. Last, fry the bread and tortilla over very low heat until crisp and brown. Add to the broth. Set the contents of the bowl aside to soak for about 15 minutes or until the chile skins are soft.

Transfer the mixture to a blender jar, add the cumin seeds and chocolate, and blend until smooth.

Melt the rest of the lard in a heavy pan and fry the pork pieces until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the blended ingredients, bay leaves, oregano, orange, zest, and salt to taste and cook over low heat, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan until the sauce is fairly thick and the lard makes a shiny surface on the sauce – about 20 minutes. Serve with corn tortillas

Serve 6-8.

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gayle iverson April 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

when do you add the tomatillos?????

Meg April 17, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Thanks for this! I’ve made the edit. Sorry for any confusion!

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