Food is generally the centerpiece of most celebrations. And Cinco de Mayo, the day in which many Mexicans celebrate the defeat of French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, is no different.
Here is a recipe from the kitchen of Ingrid Hoffman, the bubbly host of the Food Network show “Simply Delicioso” and “Delicioso” on Galavision. The authentic recipe from the popular Latin cook is for pulled pork (Tinga Poblana), one my favorites. This particular recipe features a little kick, with some poblano chilies and chorizo sausage.
Mexican Pulled Pork (Tinga Poblana)
1 pound (about 3 medium) russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 2 to 3-pound pork loin
1 yellow onion, chopped, plus ½ yellow onion left whole
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
12 ounces raw chorizo, casing removed
5 small tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
2 canned chipotle chilies en adobo, finely chopped (seeded and ribbed for less heat)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
16 corn or flour tortillas
4 medium Haas avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
Place the pork in a large pot of water. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the pork is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove the pork from the water and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle (discard the cooking liquid). Using your fingers or two forks, shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.
Break the chorizo into small pieces and fry it over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chorizo to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the chopped onion to the same skillet and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shredded pork, potatoes, tomatoes, and chipotle chilies and cook until the tomatoes break down and release their juices, about 15 minutes. Return the cooked chorizo to the pan and stir in the vinegar, thyme, marjoram and some salt. Continue to cook over medium heat until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
While the pork cooks, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and warm for 10 to 15 seconds. Flip the tortilla over and continue to warm until the tortilla is pliable and heated through, about another for 10 to 20 seconds. Place on a plate, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside; repeat with the remaining tortillas (or simply warm the tortillas in the microwave).
Place pork in a serving bowl or bring it to the table in the cooking pot. Arrange the tortillas, avocado, and cilantro on a platter so guests can fill a tortilla with some of the meat and accompaniments. Pass a bowl of lime wedges around the table to squeeze over each serving.
Yield: Serves 8.