Our good friend Mary O’Grady has been an invaluable resource for cooking tips and recipes since we first met in the early days of Slow Food USA. Most recently Mary shared a recipe she developed for Chicharrones Guisados (stewed pork skin) using the extra bits of skin and fat trimmed from a holiday porchetta.
The perfect recipe for anyone who likes a little spicy kick!
For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons lard or olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
4-6 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
2 Teaspoons dried oregano
10 small tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
½ a can of peeled, chopped tomatoes, preferably unsalted
2-5 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (These are very spicy!)
4 cups water or stock
For the chicharrones:
Visible fat and skin saved from half a lovely porchetta roast
Any leftover pork meat cut into one-half inch dice
(This recipe can also be made with a 5-ounce bag of fried pork skins.)
To make the chicharrones:
Put the pork skin and fat into a heavy frying pan with a lid. Heat over a low flame, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours. The proteins in the pork skin will eventually release the fat.
Drain the fat through a sieve or colander into a non-reactive heatproof vessel. The fat may be saved and used in other recipes.
Allow the chicharrones in the sieve or colander to cool, then cut them into pieces of approximately 1-inch square. They may be stored in a closed container, refrigerated, for some days if you do not want to make the sauce right away.
To make the sauce:
Heat the lard or olive oil over low heat in a medium saucepan with a lid.
Add the onions and garlic and cover the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the quartered tomatillos, the canned tomatoes, and the oregano, and stir. Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatillos have turned a light olive color.
Add the canned chipotles, stir, and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes.
Add the water or stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool the sauce to room temperature and puree in a food processor or blender until it is the consistency of thin cooked oatmeal.
(This sauce may be used with other meats, such as roast pork or beef. It keeps well, refrigerated, and also freezes well)
To assemble the dish, add the pieces of chicharrones and heat through.
Serves 4-6. Warm corn tortillas and/or pinto beans are good as accompaniments.