Con Mucho Cariño
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
Chicharrón en Salsa Verde
- Yield: Serves 4-5 1x
- 18 ounces chicharrónes (fried pork rinds)
- 2 1/4 pounds tomatillos
- 4 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, to taste
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 tablespoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 white onion
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Remove the husks and rinse the tomatillos. Cut them in halves or quarters.
Rinse the chiles and cut off the stems. If you are going for a spicy version, use all 4 chiles. Depending on how mild you want it, you might use only 1 chile.
Rinse the cilantro and cut off the bottoms of the stems.
Place the tomatillos, chiles, and cilantro in a large blender with 1 cup water and ½ tablespoon salt. Blend completely and set aside.
Cut the onion in thin slices. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until transparent and edges begin to caramelize.
Place the chicharrón in the pot with the onions. Stir gently for a couple of minutes while the chicharrónes sauté.
Pour the tomatillo mixture into the pot and mix everything gently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Stir every so often until the stew has thickened. Check the salt level and add more to taste.
- Category: Plant based Entrée