Tlayudas are pizza-like tortillas usually topped with refried beans. Chicharrones are like pork crackling made with the belly, with layers of fat and meat. The pork is cooked with water and lard until you have a mix of tender and crunchy pieces of pork. The result is not only the golden crisp pork belly pieces, but the rendered lard, one of the main fats used in Latin American cooking. Chicharrones, also referred to in the singular, chicharrón, can be served simply with spices, salt and a squeeze of lime as a snack, added to stews and tamales, or sandwiched in bread or tortillas. Start this recipe a day ahead to dry the pork and soak the beans.
- ¼ small cabbage, finely sliced
- 2-3 bocconcini, finely grated
- Coriander leaves, to serve
- 1.5 kg piece of boneless pork belly, skin scored
- 250 gm pork back-fat, cut into 2cm dice
- 200 gm dried pinto beans, soaked in cold water overnight (see note), drained
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 50 gm lard or olive oil (¼ cup)
- 2 tbsp torn oregano
- 300 gm white masa flour (see note), plus extra for dusting (2 cups)
- 50 gm lard Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying (¼ cup)
- 6 canned tomatillos in brine (see note), drained, finely chopped
- ½ white onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, grated on a Microplane
- 4 large green jalapeños, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
- 1For chicharrones, rub the skin of the pork with salt and refrigerate uncovered overnight to dry out. Brush off excess salt, then cut into 2cm-3cm cubes and transfer to a heavy-based casserole or cast-iron saucepan. Add fat and 500ml water and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until pork is tender (50 minutes to 1 hour). Remove lid, increase heat to medium-high and stir, scraping base of pan to prevent sticking, until liquid evaporates and pork fat renders and becomes golden and crisp (20-30 minutes; hot fat will spit occasionally so place a tea towel over your arm).
- 2For refried beans, place beans in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until beans are tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, fry onion in lard in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to caramelise (6-8 minutes). Coarsely mash beans, then add to onion along with oregano, mix well, season to taste and set aside.
- 3For tortillas, combine masa flour and a large pinch of salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add lard and mix to combine. Add 145ml water and mix until a dough forms, then transfer to a bench and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 6 pieces, then roll each piece to a 20cm-diameter round on a lightly floured surface and place on a sheet of lightly floured baking paper. Heat 1cm-2cm oil in a deep frying pan over high heat, then fry one tortilla at a time (carefully slide from the paper into the oil; be careful, hot oil will spit), turning once until golden and crisp (1-2 minutes each side). Drain on paper towels.
- 4For green salsa, place tomatillos, onion, garlic and ½ tsp salt in a bowl, and stir to combine. Place jalapeños in a blender, pour in half the tomatillo mixture, blend until combined, then return mixture to remaining salsa. Makes about a cup.
- 5To serve, spread warm refried beans over each tortilla, top with cabbage, bocconcini, coriander, chicharrones and green salsa.
Dried pinto beans, masa flour and canned tomatillos are available from Mexican shops such as Monterey Foods (montereyfoods.com.au) and Fireworks Foods (fireworksfoods.com.au).
Drink Suggestion: Grenache Drink suggestion by Max Allen
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