Now I’m living in Cali, I do find myself missing a good roast dinner now and again. If I want a piece of pork with the skin still on to do roast pork with crackling, here I have to preorder it. That’s just not conducive to immediately satisfying my cravings!
I go to a few different supermarkets here to get our food shopping. I like for meat and fish as it’s all natural and/or organic which I think is truly important over here (you know someone has done something funky to your chicken when it’s the size of a turkey)! For dry and tinned goods I go to our local Vons. For fruit and veg I like to buy it as I need it so I mainly go to the closest supermarket to our house, Top Valu. I like that their fruit and veg is a little “rough and ready” looking. Most of it wouldn’t win any beauty pageants, but it’s fresh and it tastes good. According to their website, the store is minority owned and that is reflected in the produce it sells. For months now I have stood staring at some unusual items, not knowing what to do with them and finally at the weekend I brought some of those strange looking delights home.
I wanted a roast dinner and with the husband being away I wasn’t going to roast a whole joint of meat. So I bought a pork chop and decided to use my weird and wonderful Mexican ingredients to make what was the most delicious and unconventional Sunday Roast! Here’s how….
Meat of your choice
Nopales (Prickly Pear Pads)
Fresh Serrano or Jalapeño Chilli
Salt & Pepper
How You Do It
Depending on your choice of meat, you may want to start with that. As I was cooking a single pork chop, I started with the Tomatillo Gravy!
Pull the dry, outer husks off the tomatillos and scrub them under running water to remove the sticky residue that’s on the skin. Cut them up into equal sized chunks, discarding the core where the stalk attaches. Place them into a saucepan with a splash of water, some finely chopped onion and serrano/jalapeño, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and the tomatillos will break down and become soupy. Season with salt, pepper and chilli powder. Tomatillo Gravy – Done!
Now for the Nopales! These spiky little devils can be tricky! If one of the spikes gets in your finger, then you will feel it for days. Trust me!! Unless you are feeling hardcore (read: foolish) like myself, put on your gloves! You need to put the nopal flat on a board and use a sharp knife with the blade flat to the nopal. Make sure the blade is facing the opposite direction to which the spikes grow and then slide the knife along, carefully removing the spikes as you go. Once all the spikes have been removed, trim the edges of the nopales then rinse well. Slice them horizontally into 1cm wide pieces. Boil until tender in slightly salted water. It is important that you rinse them well once they’re cooked so as to removed the sticky residue that they emit during cooking.
The sweet potato recipe I got from one of my lovely books from the One Dollar Bookstore, just down the road from me. I absolutely love this place and have today added another four cookbooks to my collection! The sweet potato recipe was in the Sunset Mexican Cook Book on page 85. It’s entitled Batatas con Lima y Tequila. My oh my, was it delicious! See photo for recipe.
Whilst all of the above was going on, I cooked my pork chop. I seasoned it on both sides with salt, pepper and chilli powder and then seared each side in a cast iron skillet before putting it into the oven to cook through.
Once everything was cooked, I plated it up and added some fresh lime wedges and a drizzle of Tapatío sauce to the plate to serve. Well, it’s not really Mexican in SoCal unless you have Tapatío with it! 😉
So there you have it! A Mexican Sunday Roast, complete with meat, veg, potatoes and gravy! Dig in and Buen Provecho!