Mexican Feast

Posted By Kerri


Last night, we had some friends over for a pre-Christmas get-together. We had originally planned to do traditional buffet-style food but a lack of time meant we opted for a throw-it-in-the-oven-and-leave-it-to-cook kind of dish instead. Since we’ve been cooking a lot of Mexican food lately, we took the opportunity to cook something more elaborate from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Kitchen book. There was a little bit of work to do initially (which saw Stephen dashing to Notting Hill mid-afternoon to pick up some special chillies) but once it was in the oven, we were free to get on with other things.

We started with two types of tortilla chips (one was a really good chilli flavour made by Poco Loco which can sometimes be found in corner shops but are quite hard to track down) and some guacamole.  The planned chilli popcorn was shelved since one of our friends bought some of her brilliant spring-rolls.  Not traditionally Mexican but very welcome nonetheless.  Stephen also experimented with a Christmas Cumberland Cocktail which involved Prosecco and cranberries. We had planned to make margaritas too but the vast selection of wine meant we were distracted and forgot.


We then moved on to the pork shoulder which we served with some beans, rice, salad and radishes (as per Rick’s suggestion), the cooking liquid, more guacamole, some salsa, cheese and corn tortillas to wrap everything up in.

The pork was tender and fell apart easily when removed from the oven but didn’t seem to have taken on much of the chilli flavour, with just a background warmth instead of the punch I expected.  It was well received though and there wasn’t a lot left which is always a good sign. There was plenty of rice though which we sent home with one of our friends to turn into fried-rice.


We finished with Nigella’s Margarita ice-cream which I made the previous day, along with a non-alcoholic version with oranges and limes taking the place of the tequila and Cointreau.  This is similar to the bitter orange ice-cream we used to make a lot and is brilliant if you don’t have an ice-cream maker since it doesn’t require any churning.  This wasn’t quite as successful as the orange version, the texture was different which may have been to do with the alcohol.  It didn’t seem to matter too much by this point in the evening as we were really more interested in the wine that was left, as you can probably tell from the terrible picture below.


Chile Seasoned Pot-Roasted Pork
Serves Six

2 medium dried ancho chillies, stemmed and deseeded
4 medium dried guajillo chilles, stemmed and deseeded
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
Pinch cloves
11/2 tbsps vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
2kg pork shoulder
Lettuce, to serve
Radishes, to serve

Rehydrate the chillies by steeping in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup of water, transfer chillies and reserved liquid to a blender.

Crush bay leaves in a mortar and pestle then add to the blender with the vinegar, onion, garlic, mixed herbs, cloves and allspice. Process to a smooth paste and then push through a fine sieve into a bowl.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the spice paste and fry for five minutes until dark in colour.

Heat the oven to 160 degrees, cut the pork into pieces that are roughly 3 inches thick and make 1 inch incisions all over the meat. Lay the meat on top of the paste and ensure that it is all well coated. Pour 1.2 cup of water around the meat and put the dish into the oven.

Baste the meat every 30 minutes. After 2.5 hours the meat should be tender and falling apart. If the liquid dries out at any point during the cooking time then top up with water.

Allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes before serving. We attempted to turn the fat into crackling but it didn’t work all that well. What did work was removing the fat from the cooking liquid and reducing it down to create a thick sauce to serve with the meat.

Dec 13th, 2009

6 Comments to 'Mexican Feast'

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  1. LexEat! said,

    How fantastic! Looks like a great feast and very different from the standard Christmas dinner!
    .-= LexEat!´s last blog ..Everyone’s in on the act: Pear Tarte Tatin =-.

  2. Alex said,

    That ice-cream would be my dream flavour… And I love your centre-piece, very festive!
    .-= Alex´s last blog ..Aren’t I a lucky girl? =-.

  3. Niamh said,

    OH! This looks fantatsic. I will be trying the pork.
    .-= Niamh´s last blog ..Festive Frolics at Covent Garden Real Food Market =-.

  4. Stephen said,

    Niamh, if you do it, pour the cooking liquid over the meat (after skimming off the oil) after cutting / breaking the meat up, as ours was a bit dry at first. As Kerri mentioned, we thickened it into a sauce and poured that over after serving, which was good, but what was even better was reheating the leftovers the next day actually in the leftover sauce.

  5. Jeanne said,

    That pork sounds heavenly, and similar to what I did for my 40th back in March (although ours was done slowly on the Weber) for tacos al pastor. The feast looks spectacular!
    .-= Jeanne´s last blog ..Playing catch-up =-.

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