It Started with a Tomatillo

For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than planning a dinner party. Rarely do I start with nothing, but if I do, I pull out my customized cookbook and let inspiration come. More often I already have one ingredient in hand that I know will play a part. Your dinner party menu develops around it.

This week my CSA box contained a large quantity of beautiful tomatillos. I knew then that there would be a guacamole. Blend the tomatillos and avocados with lime juice and salt in the food processor and serve with chips or crudite.

I decided that dip would also be delicious on carnitas, or pork tacos. A short trip to the farmers market for pork shoulder and to the Best Way supermarket in Mt. Pleasant (the best Latin groceries in town) for the avocados, tortillas, and Mexican crema later, and we were ready.

For the pork, make a paste in the food processor with the following: any chiles you have on hand, several, 1/2 an onion, 4 cloves garlic, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, salt, and oregano. Heat some olive oil in a pot or dutch oven and then cook the paste for several minutes. Add 3-4 cups chicken stock, enough to eventually cover the pork. Simmer for several minutes and then add your cubed pork shoulder, which has been s&p’d, a cinnamon stick, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer, partially covered, on the stove top for 2 hours.

After an hour or so, we made some black beans with bacon, tomato, onion, garlic, honey, oregano, adobo spices, and some of the broth from the pork, which gave it a kick. The meal was served with small corn or larger flour tortillas, Bibb lettuce, diced cherry tomatoes, the crema, pickled cabbage, and a variety of salsas and hot sauces. Plus, the guacamole, the beans, and the pork. Y muchos cervazas to cool it all down.

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