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MEXICAN SOPES WITH OAXAQUEÑA MOLE AMARILLO
Makes 4 servings of 2 sopes each
Recipe by Chef Thomas Meyer, from the cookbook Sharing Our Global Passion: Recipes from 22 World Class Chefs
The Slow-Cooked Pork:
1 cup blanco mezcal
1/4 c. distilled white vinegar or vinaigre de piña
2 limes, juiced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 T. powdered chipotle chile
1-1/2 T. kosher salt
2 t. grated lime zest
1 avocado leaf
1 (3 lb.) boneless pork shoulder
1 to 2 banana leaves
In a large glass or other nonreactive bowl, combine mezcal, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chile, salt, lime zest and avocado leaf. Stir to dissolve the salt, then add pork, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Wrap pork in banana leaves. Bake on center rack of oven for about 8 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender.
Remove from the oven and cool for about 20 minutes (the pork will have shrunk considerably). When cooled, pull apart pork and chop into chunks.
1-1/2 c. masa harina or 1 c. fresh masa
1/8 t. baking powder
1/8 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. lard
Warm water, about 3/4 c.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine masa harina, baking powder and salt. Add lard and blend with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add warm water until the mixture is the consistency of soft dough.
Knead mixture about 1 minute. Form dough into balls the size of a small walnut, using about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons per ball. Form the balls into small cup shapes. (They don’t need to be perfect, but ensure there are no holes in the cups. The thinner the walls and base of the cups are, the more delicate the end result will be.)
Transfer cups to the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or just until the edges start to brown.
The Mole Amarillo:
2 c. chicken stock
4 med. (about 1 oz. total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and opened into large, flat pieces
1 dried ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and opened into large flat pieces
1 c. fresh ground corn masa
3 hoja santa leaves
1/2 c. water
Salt, as needed
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat and hold at a simmer.
In an ungreased 10-inch sauté pan or heavy griddle, toast the chiles, a few at a time, over medium heat. Press them against the pan surface with a spatula until aromatic and lightened in color underneath, about 10 seconds per side. Transfer to a blender jar and add 1/2 cup masa, hoja santa and water. Blend until mixture reaches a smooth consistency, adding more masa if mixture seems thin.
Set a medium-mesh strainer over the simmering stock and pour the chile mixture through the strainer, stirring to incorporate it into the stock. Increase the heat if necessary to keep the sauce at a gentle simmer.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavors and cook the masa, about 15 minutes. The sauce will look noticeably thicker. Adjust seasoning with salt (usually a generous teaspoon).
1 c. slow-cooked pork
1/2 c. mole amarillo
1/2 c. crumbled queso fresco
Crema, as needed
1 lg. red radish, thinly sliced
To assemble, fill two cups with any combination of fillings. Garnish with crema and radish slices.
Note: Vinaigre de piña, banana leaves, hoja santa leaves and crema can be found at Latin markets.
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