In the Kitchen With Ricky: Chicharron tacos a great way to enjoy fried pork rind
Wed., Feb. 15, 2023
Fried pork skin – chicharrones – served with salsa verde on a taco. (Ricky Webster)
Did you all watch the Super Bowl this past Sunday? Well, you probably did, and here’s hoping that your team won (since I’m writing this prior to the big game, it’s all a mystery to me). Sunday wasn’t only the Super Bowl, but it was also National Pork Rind Day, which falls on Super Bowl Sunday every year.
I am not the biggest pork rind fan ; however, warm chicharrones – fried pork skin popular in Mexico – can be quite delicious. Even better, in my opinion are chicharron tacos. Chicharron tacos are the most common way to consume the pork skins in Mexico, besides just snacking on some freshly fried ones with a sprinkling of salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. There are many ways to make chicharron tacos, but my all-time favorite is with a salsa verde, which translates to “green sauce.”
The salsa verde in this recipe is so versatile and can be used on enchiladas, as a sauce for chicken, fish, or pork and is wonderful for breakfast on eggs. Use it to simmer fried corn tortilla wedges and you have the makings of a delicious plate of chilaquiles.
As far as pork rinds go, the ones from the grocery store will work just fine, so this recipe would be great if you have some leftover from those Super Bowl parties! However, if you want an even better taco-eating experience, go get some fresh chicharrones from De Leon Foods. The fresh made ones tend to hold their shape better and have little meaty bits that add another texture and different flavor.
I hope you give this recipe a try.
4 ounce of chicharrones, or pork rinds
1 large white onion
1 1/4 pounds tomatillos, peeled, washed, and dried
3-4 cloves of garlic
1-3 whole serrano peppers
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Set a large heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron works great here) over a medium flame and let it preheat.
Slice both ends from the onion and place them into the preheating pan (leaving the outer paper on).
Add tomatillos, garlic (with paper still on), and serrano chilies to the preheated skillet.
Blister the ingredients in the skillet, over the medium flame until charred. Keep in mind the more char you have the sweeter and smokier the finished sauce will be.
While the vegetables char, peel and thinly slice the remaining onion, set aside.
Once the vegetables are evenly charred and somewhat softened, remove them from the pan and place them into a blender. At this point, peel the charred skins from both the onion and garlic and discard.
Add one cup of water to the blender along with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper.
Blend the charred veggies until a smooth sauce remains. This should take a minute or two.
Wipe out the skillet used to char the vegetables and add the oil and the sliced onions.
Sautee over medium heat until the onions begin to take on some color.
Add the blended sauce directly to the softened onions and keep cooking over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce slightly thickens and it becomes smoother.
Taste for salt and pepper and season as desired. At this point you can remove the sauce from the heat, cool and store it for taco assembly at another time (it lasts four to five days, covered in the refrigerator).
To make your tacos, add in the chicharrones and stir over medium heat just until they are coated.
Serve by filling your warmed tortillas and top with your choice of avocado, sour cream, lime or fresh chopped onions and cilantro.
Once you add the chicharrones to the sauce, they should be consumed quickly so they keep their texture.
I like to reserve a few chicharrones to crush and crumble atop my tacos, as this adds another layer of texture and crunch.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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