Cooking Attempt

As a transplanted Californian living in New England, I can tell you that it's really difficult to find good Mexican food in New England.  So, I attempt to make it myself.  Salsa?  Can do!  Enchiladas?  Getting better.  But then Walter requested burritos for his birthday dinner.  Oh no.  I don't really do burritos.  To make it worse, we took Walter to our favorite little hole-in-the-wall Mexican burrito place in California once, so he's tasted the best of the best.  No pressure, or anything.  Going only on my taste memory, I attempted to replicate those burritos.  This is what I did:

I purchased two pork tenderloins (not center cut, but not the really big ones either).  (One shown.)  I rinsed the tenderloins and rubbed them with a generous quantity of ground cumin.  I sliced 1 1/2 white onions and one green bell pepper.


I heated about 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat and seared the meat on all sides to seal in the meat's juices.  Then I placed the seared meat in a large casserole pan.  In retrospect, I should've place them on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.


Then I smothered the tenderloins in the sliced onions and bell pepper.


I placed a meat thermometer into the thickest part of one tenderloin.  Into the oven it all went to slow roast, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 15 mins.  Then I dropped the temperature to 250 and continued to cook until the meat thermometer registered done for pork (actually I over-cooked it just a bit to make sure it was done).  Slow roasting such a dense piece of meat took a long time...maybe four hours?...maybe longer.  Then I removed the meat from the pan; let it sit to cool slightly; and shredded the meat.

The next day, I placed the shredded meat in a large skillet.


To the meat I added: about 1 1/4 c. chicken broth, one can diced green chilies, and 1 jar of salsa verde.  I put the skillet over a medium-high flame until the sauce began to boil, then dropped to a simmer until the liquid was reduced a bit.


Since I didn't want the burritos to be too drippy with juices, I pulled meat out of the skillet with tongs and placed in the middle of a warmed, burrito-size tortilla.  I used a pre-shredded 4-cheese Meixcan blend of cheeses to top it all, because it melts really well and tastes nicely authentic.  Then I wrapped it all up.  The heat from the meat was sufficient to melt the cheese, and the burrito needed no further heating.


Yum!  Walter was pleased!


The taste was pretty authentic and accurate to what I remember.  They definitely needed to be spicier though.  Next time I will search harder to find "hot" chilies and salsa verde and add a jalapeno (or two).  But if you like medium- to mild-Mexican food, this recipe will be quite the pleaser!

6 comments:

  1. Looks delicious. Before we were restationed to our current posting in the south east we were stationed in San Antonio, TX. It's close to the border and has some of the best Mexican food in the U.S. It was quite a crushing blow to move here and find restaurants puting sugar in the chicken enchiladas. Oh the humanity!

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  2. Oh my! You have my sympathies. Sugar in enchiladas? Really! The outrage!

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  3. Hi there Kate,
    You have a beautiful blog. I too wish that we could leave Southern Cali for a more healthy, family oriented life, but it isn't in the plans for us right now. One thing I would miss is the mexican food, that's for sure! I would try the same recipe, but in a crock pot and with a pork shoulder (if you ever feel up to it). I did a carnitas recipe that way once and it turned out awesome. Take care!

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  4. Thanks for the tip! I briefly considered the crock pot, but then rejected it. My crock pot has issues...cooks too hot too fast. Sort of negates the point of a crock pot when it does that. Someday, when I break down and buy a new one, I will have to try it that way!

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  5. La Carreta in Manchester,NH. Wonderful, authentic mexican food. Be sure to try their queso fundido dip!

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  6. Well...we have tried La Carreta. Well, I almost didn't bring my leftovers home. Sorry. We actually like El Tapitio in Pennichuck Square in Amherst a whole lot better! That's good mexican food!

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