Stewed Pork in Sesame and Pump­kin Seed Sauce

SERVES 6; Photo at left

SAVEUR - - Contents -

Ac­tive: 50 min. • To­tal: 2 hr. 50 min.

This ob­scure re­gional dish can be tracked down only in the agri­cul­tural val­ley town of Almolonga in Gu­atemala. Adapted from a vil­lage na­tive, Fran­cisca Siquaná de Cotoc (who in­sists that a food pro­ces­sor could never achieve the same tex­ture as grind­ing seeds by hand), this recipe is meat-fo­cused, but its creamy, nutty sauce would pair well with any cooked veg­etable. The level of spice will vary de­pend­ing on the type of dried chiles used.

4 10

lb. trimmed bone­less pork shoul­der, cut into 3-inch chunks medium toma­toes (2½ lb.) 1 medium white onion,

quar­tered 1 Tbsp. plus ¼ tsp. kosher

salt, or more to taste ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sesame

seeds (4 oz.) ¾ cup pump­kin seeds

(4 oz.) 7 black pep­per­corns 5 gar­lic cloves 2 dried gua­jillo chiles, or an­other dried red mild to medium-heat chile, stemmed and seeded Cooked rice or corn ta­males, for serv­ing

1 In a large pot, add the pork, toma­toes, and onion and just enough wa­ter to cover (about 10 cups); stir in 1 ta­ble­spoon salt. Bring to a sim­mer over medium-high heat and cook un­til the toma­toes are soft and the skins are peel­ing off, 20 min­utes. Us­ing a slot­ted spoon, re­move the toma­toes to a large bowl; dis­card the skins. Con­tinue cook­ing the meat un­cov­ered at a low sim­mer un­til ten­der, about 1 hour and 40 min­utes more.

2 Mean­while, in a large skil­let or grid­dle, add the sesame and pump­kin seeds, pep­per­corns, gar­lic, and chiles; cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, over medium-high heat un­til toasted, 10–12 min­utes. Re­move to a medium bowl.

3 Us­ing a metate (stone grinder), stone mor­tar and pes­tle, or food pro­ces­sor, grind the seed mix­ture into a thick, pow­dery paste with a few small chunks re­main­ing. Add the cooked toma­toes, work­ing in batches as needed, and ¼ tea­spoon salt; process well un­til the mix­ture has the tex­ture of a thick, creamy sauce. (Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and re­frig­er­ate.)

4 When ready to serve, add the sauce and meat to a large pot over medium heat. Cook un­til the meat is heated through, adding a few ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter as needed to thin the sauce. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing as de­sired. Serve with rice or corn ta­males, with the ex­tra sauce la­dled on top.

LEFT: FRAN­CISCA SIQUANÁ DE COTOC, A MAYA COOK IN ALMOLONGA, GRIND­ING TOASTED SEEDS FOR CHOC’A. ABOVE: CA­CAO BEANS ON A TRA­DI­TIONAL STONE METATE.

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