In Mexico, chicharrón (fried pork rind) is sold at markets and some restaurants by weight, usually offered in large pieces (photo below, left); in recent years, they also started to appear broken into small pieces and packed as a snack, which is the presentation found at supermarkets in Canada (photo below, right):
It is common to have the crunchy rinds just crumbled into a warm corn tortilla, topped with any salsa, and enjoyed as a taco:
The snack size pieces are also served as chips with a bowl of salsa on the side. When there are leftovers from a party or family gathering, it is possible to continue enjoying the rinds by cooking them in a Mexican sauce (sometimes leftover from the party as well) and transform them in a classic guisado; in that way, it may be a dish not just to deal with leftovers, but specifically prepared for tacos de guisado parties (click here for a description, in a previous post) or burrito assembly lines.
Here in Canada, I find the brand of packaged pork rinds pictured above, at regular supermarkets, and another distributed from Chicago (made in Mexico), described as “Mexican style pork cracklings” at an international market (photo below, left). As it may be appreciated in the photo below, right, the Canadian pork rind pieces are very lean (top), while the cracklings have some fat attached, and are generally thicker than the rinds:
When eating them crunchy, I prefer the Canadian lean pork rinds, but when cooked in guisado with a sauce, the Mexican/US brand really captures the flavours of the traditional dish, since the layer of fat provides extra seasoning and a richer consistency to the sauce, and the thicker pieces deliver a more satisfying bite. If it is not possible to find Mexican style cracklings, though, the lean pork rinds will do in a pinch.
Pork Rind in Green Sauce –
Chicharrón en salsa verde
1 lb (454 g) tomatillos; husks removed, washed and halved
½ cup white onion; peeled and chopped coarsely
½ cup cilantro; washed, chopped, loosely packed
1 fresh serrano pepper (or jalapeño); washed, stem and seeds removed, chopped coarsely
½ tsp salt, or to taste
4 cups fried pork rinds (sometimes called pork cracklings)
Process all the ingredients, except the pork, in a blender, until smooth. Pour into a pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat:
Lower heat to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pork rinds and stir to coat with the sauce:
Continue cooking for another two to three minutes, until the pork has absorbed some of the liquid from the sauce, and becomes soft:
Transfer to a serving bowl and offer as part of a “tacos de guisado” spread, or serve as a main course with a side of refried beans:
There is also a popular recipe for Chicharrón en salsa roja – Pork Rind in Red Sauce, which is basically the same as this, but starting with a red-pepper sauce (click here to check my recipes for basic salsa roja). Personally, though, when I think of pork rind in a guisado, I always picture it first in green sauce, perhaps because it is one of the few Mexican dishes that my father (a Japanese national) used to really enjoy.
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #401 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance, Pam @ An Artful Mom and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.