Watermelon: It’s what for dinner with the other white meat

You know how sometimes you create an outfit starting with the shoes? After reading a Tasting Table article the other day about this watermelon salad, I had a menu planned.   I envisioned pulled pork tacos in real corn tortillas with tomatillo salsa served alongside that watermelon salad.  Watermelon is a staple around here right now.  Finding another use for it, other than spitting seeds at your brother, was a welcome addition.   I have tried many versions of a Mexican pulled pork but have not found a method that I can count on.  I like the consistency of carnitas but have a hard time taking that shredded meat to just crispy instead of burned.

Rick Bayless, in his cookbook Mexican Kitchen, has a method for boiling cubes of pork shoulder in well salted water with garlic and onion for an hour and half.  After the meat is cooled in the water,  it is shredded and then fried in a skillet with half an onion and spices.  Boiling the pork sounded weird but in my current state of living, boiling water was by far the easiest method to make anything.  I have to tell you, it was muy fantastico!  Served in authentic corn tortillas with tomatillo salsa, fresh avocado, cilantro and a  little monterey jack cheese, these tacos received high marks all around.  The watermelon salad, by the way, was outstanding as well.  This is a definite repeat meal and would be great for crowd.

 Adatpted from Rick Bayless Smokey Shredded Pork Tacos, Mexican Kitchen

Tacos de Picadillo Oazaqueno 

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes

5 garlic cloves

1 large white onions, diced

In a medium 2-3 quart sauce pan, cover meat with heavily salted water.  Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of the garlic and add along with half of the onion.  Bring to a gentle boil, skim off any grayish foam that rises during the first few minutes, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat until thoroughly tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  If time allows, allow the meat to cool in the broth.  Shred the meat with two forks.

In a large 10-12 inch heavy skillet heat 1 1/2 T of lard over medium heat.  When hot, add the shredded meat and remaining half of the onion.  Fry, regularly stirring and scraping up browned bits form the bottom until the whole mixture is crispy and golden, 12 to 14 minutes.  Add 1 T of cumin, 1 T of chili powder and 1t of dried oregano.

Tomatillo salsa 

1 lb. of tomatillos, husks remove and rinsed

2 cloves of garlic

salt and pepper

juice of 1 lime

Cover a jelly roll pan or similar type pan with raised sides with aluminum foil.  Spread out the tomatillos and garlic on the pan and place under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the tomatillos begin to look charred.

Pour the tomatillos and garlic into a mortar with salt and pepper and the juice of a lime and mix and smash until it has reached the desired consistency.

-Andra

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