Similar to a Mexican mole, dark chocolate is added to this simple stew towards the end of the cooking process to add a rich flavour, dark colour and silky sheen to the sauce. It is popular in parts of north and central Mexico, and particularly in the city of Zacatecas, where it is seen as a symbol of celebration and achievement, and commonly served at wedding banquets, often with Mexican red rice.
- 3 ancho chillies (see Note)
- 3 guajillo chillies (see Note)
- 1 L chicken stock
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1.5 kg boneless pork shoulder, cut into 10 cm pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 oregano sprig
- Pinch ground cloves
- 40 g (¼ cup) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Tortillas, lime and coriander sprigs, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place all chillies in a frying pan over medium heat. Toast for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from pan and cool slightly, then remove stalks and discard. Place chillies in a food processor with 125 ml stock and blend to a smooth paste, adding a little more stock if necessary.
Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium–high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary, fry pork for 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant, then add reserved chilli paste. Cook for 4 minutes or until fragrant. Add remaining 875 ml stock, cinnamon, bay leaf, oregano and ground cloves to pan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer then add pork. Cover and cook for 2 hours or until pork is very tender.
Remove pork from pan and add chocolate, brown sugar and vinegar to pan. Increase heat to high and simmer rapidly for 8 minutes or until reduced by one-quarter. Return pork to pan and season. Serve with tortillas, lime and coriander.
• Ancho and guajillo chillies are from Herbie’s Spices (herbies.com.au), Monterey Mexican Foods (montereyfoods.com.au) and Fireworks Foods (fireworksfoods.com.au).
Photography Ben Dearnley
As seen in Feast magazine, May 2014, Issue 31.