Story and photos by Chava Oropesa
When I would go visit my mom every year in Mexico, before I arrived, she would ask, “What do you want me to cook for you?” I would say, “Please make some chicharrón en salsa verde.” This and several of my other favorites would be ready when I arrived from the airport. Sitting at the table with my mom, sharing these dishes with some soft and slightly charred tortillas, I could devour several tacos without batting an eye. My mom spoiled me for sure.
This is a dish that you won’t easily find on menus in California. I honestly have not found it served in any of the places I know. Historically, it is something you find in taquerÍas as one of the guisados (stews) that may be offered.
You can make chicharrón en salsa verde as spicy or mild as you wish; I do like mine spicy, though. It’s a simple dish with few ingredients, but those yield so much flavor at the end. For instance, some lightly caramelized onions add sweet notes to contrast the spicy fresh jalapeños in the mix. The chicharrónes soak up the brightness of the green salsa and turn into this crispy-gone-chewy delight.
I lost my mom four years ago. We always connected through cooking, and so I treasure her handwritten cookbook with all her recipes and all the memories connected to meals and celebrations. It’s become the basis of an ongoing project on my website titled “Con Mucho Cariño” (With Lots of Love) because that’s the way my mom would sign her letters when writing to me. I believe that “lots of love” is the secret ingredient in each of her recipes. ♦
Photography is a deep passion for Oakland-based photographer Chava Oropesa, who grew up in Mexico City. For more of Chava’s photography, visit chavaoropesa.com.Print