Chicharrones: this fried pork will not contribute to your moral decline.

Decadent Chicharrones

I have got to tell you about another one of Tito’s fantastic recipes that we had for breakfast on Sunday.  Any other day of the week it would be far too decadent, but chicharrones for breakfast on Sunday is perfectly in order – they are traditional Peruvian breakfast fare.  Speaking of decadent: in Spanish the word has none of the favourable connotations it has acquired in English; indeed, those undertones of sumptuous and delectably naughty self- indulgence are entirely missing.  Hence, I found Tito to be rightly indignant when I went so far as to suggest his tasty breakfast was corrupt, and debased, and causing us to fall into general moral decline.  But, I digress.  So, chicharrones are pieces of very, very crunchy pork.  They can be as crunchy as you like, but we think they are best when they turn a rich brown all over, concentrating the flavour into the dense meat.  This dish avoids dryness with a zingy lemon and onion salsa, which should be applied liberally.  

Chicharrones 

How much pork would you, and those for whom you are cooking, like to eat?  Use that amount, in the form of ribs or chops.
Water
Salt
Oil 

Fill a large pan with enough water to approximately half cover the meat.  Bring to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and drop in the pork.  Cover with a lid and reduce the heat slightly, so the pork simmers merrily away in the water.  Make the salsa while you wait.  When the water has all evaporated, after approximately 10-15 minutes, you will find the pork is greasy and partially cooked.  At this point, turn up the heat and begin to fry the meat in its own oil.  You might find you need more oil, if this is the case, add some.  If you prefer not to add any more oil, ensure you turn the meat constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn.  Fry the pork until it reaches the desired crunchiness… 

For the salsa:

Red onion – sliced thinly
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper
Aji  (dried chilli flakes work well – though a little fresh rocoto or Spanish bonnet pepper would be tastiest) 

Mix the above ingredients together and serve with the meat. Serve the chicharrones with fresh-from-the oven bread, and / or yuccas or sweet potato.  Be sure to have a hot drink during or after noshing to aid digestion.  If you feel at all debauched, take a nice long walk.

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