If I haven’t already convinced you to buy MexicanEveryday by Rick Bayless, here is another feeble attempt on my part. Do you have a slowcooker that is more of a dust collector than a cooking vessel? I do. I’d really like to use my slowcooker more frequently than I do, but I have a hard time finding recipes that don’t contain processed ingredients, dry out too much during cooking, or just become a big plate of mush by the end. When I realized that Mexican Everyday has not just one but quite a few slowcooker recipes, I was intrigued. If they were anything like the other Rick Bayless recipes I’d tried, we were in for a winning meal.
I decided to go with the guajillo-spiced pork and potatoes, because I bought guajillo peppers in bulk and had plenty to spare. Plus, we don’t eat a lot of pork (or at least, not in many forms other than tenderloin and chops), so it’s a nice change of pace. This was, indeed, a winning meal. My husband especially liked it. This could not be easier to put together and even though the ingredient list is simple and short, the flavor is complex and delicious. The best way to describe this is downright homey. It was perfect for a cold winter evening (especially since I barely had to do any work to make it).
The night before we ate this, I cubed my pork roast and made the sauce so all I had to do the next morning was cut some potatoes and throw it all in the crockpot. From the time I put something in the slowcooker until the time we actually eat it, it’s typically been a minimum of 10 hours. Although this recipe called for cooking the pork and potatoes on high for 6 hours, I opted to cook on low while I was gone (roughly 10 hours). When I got home, the meal was quite a bit soupier/runnier than I would have liked (no doubt cooking on high would have reduced and thickened the liquid a bit more), so I cooked it on high with the lid partially off for about an hour in an effort to thicken it up a bit. It did reduce, but was still a touch too liquidy for me, so if I cook this on low again next time I make it, I will reduce the amount of water by a bit. The leftovers, on the other hand, were the perfect consistency.
Guajillo-Spiced Pork and Potatoes
Serves 6 (well, we actually got 5)
Adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
6 medium (1.5 lbs. total) redskin boiling or yukon gold potatoes, cut into 6 wedges
1.5 – 2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast, cut into 1″ cubes
8 medium (2 oz. total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into flat pieces
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
cilantro and chopped white onions (I used green) for garnish
Spread the potatoes over the bottom of your slowcooker and top with the pork.
Set a small (8″) skillet over medium heat and once it’s hot, toast the chile pieces, pressing them against the pan with a spatula until they are aromatic and lightened in color underneath–about 10 seconds per side. Transfer the chiles to a blender.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, Worcestershire, a generous amount of salt (about 1.5 tsp.) and 1 – 1.5 cups of water (I would choose this based on your slowcooker’s history for drying out foods, how much liquid is already in your tomatoes, etc. I will do closer to 1 than 1.5 next time). Blend until as smooth as possible, and then strain the mixture through a mesh strainer directly into the slowcooker. Mix everything together.
Cook on high for 6 hours (I cooked on low for about 10 hours and then a little on high when I got back so I could reduce the liquid slightly).