This preparation hardly needs an introduction; many corn dough based antojitos (“little cravings”, Mexican snacks) are filled with this delicious stew of chicharrón prensado (pressed pork cracklings) cooked in a red guajillo pepper sauce.
Chicharrón prensado is made from the bits left behind after frying large batches of pork meat and rinds (such as carnitas or chicharrón). The leftover bits are collected from the bottom of the pot, and pressed into perforated moulds, to compact the meat, fat and skin into a block, and squeeze some of the melted fat out. In a previous post, I talked about chicharrón prensado, and how to make a small batch at home, as shown below:
Nowadays, it is also sold already packaged, for example, as shown below:
Pork Cracklings in Guajillo Pepper Sauce –
Chicharrón en Guajillo
½ lb (225 g) chicharrón prensado (Mexican pressed pork cracklings); see my recipe above for homemade, or from package
5 guajillo peppers
1-2 puya peppers; for spicier sauce, optional (see note below)
½ white onion; peeled and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic; peeled
2 medium tomatoes; washed, stem spot removed, and cut into quarters
Water, as needed
½ tsp salt, or to taste
Note about puya peppers: Some cooks and food writers refer to them as “guajillo picante” – “spicy guajillo“. They are indeed similar to guajillo in flavour, and spicier; they are thinner and a little smaller than regular guajillos (photo below, left).
Rinse peppers in cold water and dry, or wipe with a damp towel. Remove stems and seeds. Place in a pan with water, and bring to boil over high heat (photo below, right):
Cook for about five minutes, then remove pan from heat and allow to cool down and the peppers to soak for ten to twenty minutes.
Place tomatoes, onion, garlic and salt in a blender jar, then add peppers and about half a cup of the soaking liquid (photo below, left). Process for at least one minute, to obtain a very smooth sauce (photo below, right):
Chop pork cracklings, then place in a large pan over medium heat; cook, stirring, for about two minutes (photo below, left). Add reserved sauce (photo below, right):
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about twenty minutes:
This filling can go inside a warm tortilla, or be used as a topping or filling for other dishes, such as quesadillas from corn dough (masa).
Since the state of Tlaxcala is named after the pre-Hispanic word for corn tortillas (tlaxcalli), it should not come as a surprise that they have several regional taco dishes. Perhaps the best well known, at least in Mexico City and Central Mexico, are tacos de canasta (tacos in a basket), and chicharrón en guajillo is one of the traditional fillings. Stay tuned for more on tacos de canasta in my next post.
Pressed pork cracklings are ubiquitous – almost pervasive some might retort – at supermarkets and even convenience stores in Mexico, and many Hispanic stores would carry one form or another in the US and Canada. However, I could not find any on Amazon™; some delivery services such as Instacart™ might carry them.
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I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #554, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.