Your Life A to Z Recipe: Tuesday, August 13 2013 Chuleta de Cerdo con Huitlacoche

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Your Life A to Z Recipe: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

By: Jeff Smedstad of Cafe Elote Cafe

Is it Huitlacoche or Cuitlacoche? I am not sure but perhaps a question Diana Kennedy could answer....all I know is the first time I tasted it in Fonda Refugio a good 18 years ago it was not tame or luxurious but it was the moment I thought the whole earth had fallen on my tongue, overwhelming is close but that doesn’t do it justice.  All I know is that I knew my tongue was still a virgin and like all confused first timers I yearned for more.  I now add more ingredients to this that I feel enhance it as it is the Mexican “truffle”.  I like mushroom, roasted chile and corn as they marry and enhance the base of what my dad calls corn smut.  By the way, when my father found some on the family farm they set it on fire so as to not infect the rest of the crop.  If they had only known what this stuff fetches at market today.....this recipe was inspired by dinner at Fonda Santa Clara in Puebla while the salt bath was inspired by the pork I had at Las Almendras in Merida.

Chuleta de Cerdo con Huitlacoche

1 - 14 oz can huitlacoche (350 grams)

1/2 cup fresh corn

1/2 cup chopped tomato

1 cup chopped cremini mushroom

1/2 cup roasted chopped poblano chile

2 Tbsp flat leaf Parsley

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves peeled chopped garlic

1/2 cup pork stock

Four - 8-10 oz bone-in pork chops

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

oil as needed

Kosher salt for the chops (water bath)

First, in a bowl pour enough water to cover the pork chops then before adding the pork, pour in some salt and taste it. When it tastes like the ocean you have arrived. Put chops in and marinate in the refrigerator up to 12 hours or as little as one hour.

Now the sauce.  In a sauce pot heat a couple tablespoons of oil over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms until the start to brown, then add corn and cook 1 minute more. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly then puree.  Cook the pork chops over medium heat in cast iron skillet for about 5 minutes per side or until at least medium well. I don’t care what anyone says, medium-rare pork sucks.  Divide the sauce among 4 plates and serve warm with the chops.