Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weekend Cooking...Our Mexican Christmas

I believe I mentioned that this year we were going a little non-traditional for our Christmas dinner. No turkey, no goose. No rib roast, no tenderloin. No, this year we were going MEXICAN!!
Feliz Navidad!!

Of course, it seems that in Mexico, turkey is actually very popular for Christmas, but we were going a different way!

We started with some excellent guacamole make by the Sil, with Trader Joe's tortilla chips. She makes the BEST!

Then on to the main dishes. I made black beans, with some onions and garlic and chilies and some rice with a tomato, pepper, onion and garlic puree as half the needed liquid and chicken stock for the rest. Delicious.

I made tamales, green chili chicken tamales, which I think turned out quite well and were not as intimidating as I expected. Very moist, very tender. Will be making more tamales in the future.

The Niece made Chicken Enchiladas, again, excellent.
Cheesy goodness and very creamy. Maybe she will give us the recipe

There were Salsa Verde, a mango salsa and a regular salsa.

And an interesting corn salad, Esquites, made with charred corn, lime juice, cotija cheese..some jalapeño and cilantro. Maybe I will make that again and give you the recipe, since it seems I forgot to take a photo.

But my favorite dish was the Slow Cooked Pork.
It was tender and tasty, perfect to wrap up in a nice warm tortilla, with some salsa and topped with some Queso Fresco.

I made the recipe up, taking a few ideas from here, a few from there..

Mexican Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

You start with a pork shoulder, about 5 pounds or so.
Cut it into big chunks, about 4 inches, removing any large pieces of fat and bones.
Cut small slits in each piece and add slivers of garlic to each slit, using maybe 5-6 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers, in total.
Dust pieces generously with Adobe spice mix, put in a gallon zip lock bag and let sit in the frig overnight or several hours.

When the meat has marinated, preheat a couple of tbs. spoons of oil in a heavy pan and brown the pieces of meat, until well browned, about 5 minutes per side.
When they are all browned, deglaze the browning pan with 1 cup of chicken stock and add the brown bits and stock to the slow cooker.
Add 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to taste. they are spicy) and one 4 oz. can of diced green chilies to the slow cooker and then, as you brown each piece, add it on top of the peppers.

Cook on high for about 1/2 hour an then lower to low and cook a total of 8 hours. When done, remove from slower cooker and let cool a bit. When cool, shred the pork, removing and fat that remains.
Take the liquid in the slow cooker and defat. But the shredded meant in an over proof pan, about 9x13, pour on 1 cup of the defatted cooking liquid and put into a 400 degree oven until the top of the meant get brown and crispy and most of the liquid is absorbed.

OH MY, SO tender!!  Juicy, yet crispy.
You could take the basic method and add some changes. Use different spices, some cumin or chili powder, a different liquid to deglaze, like orange juice of wine. You could add diced tomatoes and/or onions...although it was delicious just as it was.
But the basic slow cooking and especially, I think,  the browning, with the liquid to keep it moist, to finish it off is the key.

Delicious in a tortilla, a taco or a sandwich...or just over some rice. 


This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. OMG, I love, love, love this meal. I've never made tamales, but if you say they aren't intimidating to make, maybe I'll give them a shot. Green chile (pork or chicken) is one of my weaknesses.

    1. They are not. You make a filling which can be as simple as some salsa and veggies or meat. You whip some shortening add masa corn flour and liquid to make batter. Spread on corn husks and add filling. Wrap up and steam.yum

  2. Your pork recipe sounds fabulous!Have a happy and healthy 2013!

  3. How fun and original! Our nephew would have loved this!

  4. A nontraditional themed Christmas dinner sounds like delicious fun! Very inspiring...

  5. this looks like it was delicious.

  6. Oh yum. You had me at homemade guacamole! It looks like you had a delicious Christmas dinner.

  7. Several years ago my sister and I made tamales for Christmas. They were a lot easier than we expected (though somewhat time consuming) and were absolutely delicious! Our husbands had grave doubts about 2 Irish/French girls making tamales, but when the tamales were ready they gobbled them all up and we haven't heard doubts about our culinary skills from them since!

    1. I think this Irish girl did I fine job with my tamales, if I do say so myself!

  8. We did the opposite and had turkey for the very first time - and loved it. Happy New Year!

  9. Here in New Mexico, it's not Christmas without tamales! What a delicious dinner you prepared. Yummm!

  10. This is a holiday dinner my family would love. Mexican food is one thing we all eat (I have a few picky eaters). Thanks for sharing the pork recipe. I'd like to try that soon.

  11. This looks like a fun and festive meal! The traditional meal can be a tad on the bland side -- I love how much spice and pop this menu has.

  12. Your pork sounds amazing! And yay... for something different for Christmas!

  13. I'm so glad you posted your Mexican Christmas dinner; it all looks wonderful, especially the black beans.

  14. love it! we did pizza for one of our christmas dinners this year :)


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