Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hairy Bikers teach teen to cook

Beloved first-born awakes on Saturday morning, and having been surgically removed from PC slumps on sofa to watch "Saturday Kitchen". Watches an episode of the "Hairy Bikers" from Mexico. Mentions in passing the great looking pork and chilli meal they cook, recounting how one of the hirsute duo had been unable to grind the dried corn for the pot. Enter stage left a 90-something female dwarf, on sticks, who promptly takes over the grind stone and starts to power her way through a mountain of cobs, much to the hysterics of the film crew, and said beloved first-born. I'm half-way up the M1 this morning when the call comes in. "Mum, I can't get the pumpkin seeds to shell properly, I'm just going to grind them shells and all. Does this sound ok?" Speechless.......... The most exotic thing he's cooked to date is spag bol.

"This is our take on a very traditional Mayan dish, from before the Spanish Conquest. Traditionally it was made with rabbit, but we have found it excellent with pork. The soaked chickpeas, although not authentic, do work well..." The Hairy Bikers.

For the pork
1kg/2¼lb pork shoulder
1.75 litres/3 pints water or light chicken stock
1 medium onion, sliced
1 head garlic, chopped
5 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the tomato and chilli sauce
4 chilcostle rojo chillies
4 guajillo chillies
290ml/½ pint hot water
500g/1lb 2oz plum tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
2 cloves
4 black peppercorns
250g/9oz pumpkin seeds
250g/9oz dried corn (or substitute 300g/10½oz dried chickpeas, soaked overnight)
sunflower oil
2 yerba santa leaves or 1 tsp ground fennel seeds

1. Put the pork, water or stock, onion, garlic, bay leaves and seasoning in a large pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for about an hour or until the pork is falling apart.
2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
3. Meanwhile for the tomato and chilli sauce, toast the chillies on both sides in a dry frying pan until blistered. Be careful as the fumes that are given off are an irritant, so make sure the kitchen is well ventilated.
4. Place the chillies in a bowl with the hot water to soften. Soak for 20 minutes.
5. Place the tomatoes and the garlic in a roasting tray and roast in the oven until soft. Set aside.
6. Toast the cloves and peppercorns in a dry frying pan and set aside.
7. Place the chillies, tomatoes, garlic and spices and a little of the chilli soaking water in a blender and blend until it is the consistency of brown sauce. Pass through a sieve using a wooden spoon.
8. For the pork, toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan, then place in a food processor and grind to a powder.
9. If using dried corn, toast in the same way until the kernels start to go brown. Set aside to cool, then coarsely grind in a food processor. If using chickpeas, see step 11.
10. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and fry the tomato and chilli mixture for about 15 minutes.
11. Add the tomato and chilli mixture to the stew, then stir in the toasted corn or the soaked chickpeas, along with the ground pumpkin seeds. Add the yerba santa or ground fennel seeds and the pork. Cook until thickened and reduced, about 45 minutes. Add salt to taste.
12. Serve with tortillas, green rice and a spicy cooked salsa.