Carnitas congee with salsa chintextle

I really wanted to dedicate this dish to the rabbit hole that was exploring Oaxacan recipes on the internet over the past year. That and watching chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins’s video on Vice about mole. In that video, she mentioned how salsa chintextle, a Oaxacan mother sauce made with pasilla chilies and shrimp, was quite similar to Chinese XO sauce. And that’s when it clicked for me to try making a dish like this. The one Latin dish I knew how to make was carnitas, which is braised pork shoulder with some light aromatics, that is then cooked down in its own juices and fats to give it this unctuous finish. I figured, why not using the braising liquid from the carnitas to make Chinese congee, then top it with the carnitas, an egg yolk, some salsa chintextle, and an herb oil? I figured it would look really pretty, and it would just combine the two cuisines together in a really organic way.

For the carnitas:
1 onion, peeled and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1 dried avocado leaf
juice from 2 limes
1 orange, cut in half
1 lb Boston butt/pork shoulder
1/4 tspn cumin
1/2 tspn allspice
1/4 tspn clove
1 tspn oregano
1 tspn paprika
a pinch of salt
1 can of Cola*

Sweat out the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and dried avocado in a large stock pot first. Pour those ingredients into a bowl with the lime juice. Squeeze the orange over the ingredients but also place the pieces of orange in the bowl as well. Cut up the pork into smaller pieces and season with the spices. Sear on every side in the same stock pot, adding in oil as needed. Remove the pork, then deglaze the stockpot with water, and if you have any, Cola, scraping the bottom to allow the liquid to pick up those caramelized flavors. Add the pork and citrus-infused aromatics into the pot, cover, and allow the simmer for at least 2 hours. Fish out the pork and strain the braising liquid. Pour just enough braising liquid over the pork to submerge it, and allow the pork to cool down completely in the refrigerator. Reserve the remaining liquid to make congee with. Shred the pork with two forks and saute with the braising liquid you used to submerge it with until the liquid has fully evaporated into the pork.

For the salsa chintextle:
3 pasilla chilies
1 guajillo chili
2 tbsp pepitas
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup dried shrimp
1 dried avocado leaf
1/4 cup vinegar or lime juice
1/4 cup oil
a pinch of salt

Toast the chilies in a pan until they are brittle to the touch. Remove the seeds and stems. Toast the pepitas, garlic, dried shrimp, and avocado leaf in a pan as well, for about 30 seconds. Transfer everything into a blender and puree until completely combined. Season to taste and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For the nasturtium-cilantro oil:
12 nasturtium leaves
10 cilantro leaves
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup neutral flavored oil

Blanch and shock the leaves in cold water. Puree with salt and oil in a blender and pass through a sieve to remove any solids.

For the congee:
1/2 cup short grain rice
Reserved carnitas braising liquid
a pinch of salt

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear through it. Measure out, between the braising liquid and water, about 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Bring to a simmer the liquid with the rice, and the salt, only stirring every 5 minutes, on low heat, with the lid covered when not stirring. The end result should be relatively soupy, but with the rice itself fully cooked.

To garnish:
Egg yolk
Nasturtium petals

Start with the congee, then the carnitas, egg yolk, salsa chintextle, herb oil, and finally, the microherbs and nasturtium petals to finish.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Very clever and classy. Your treatment of each component must have resulted in a wonderful blend of flavors. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

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