Grilled Pork Porterhouse Adobada

Inch-and-1/2-thick pork porterhouse steaks (New York and filet attached) are seasoned with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, then quickly seared over an open fire before being slathered in a rich red chile sauce flavored with toasted cumin, coriander and garlic, with coffee beans, guajillo honey, cloves and fresh lime juice.  The chops are dressed with toasted corn, fresh avocado and slivered radishes..

For the Adobada

4 large dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3-4 whole cloves
1 heaping tablespoon whole coffee beans
1-1/2 tablespoons fermented ketchup
2 teaspoons raw cider vinegar
1 tablespoon (more or less) guajillo honey
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
fine sea salt to taste

Toast chiles, cumin, coriander, garlic and coffee in a dry comal or heavy skillet over medium-low heat until the chiles are pliant and the coriander begins to pop, about 5 minutes.

Put the toasted chiles and cloves into a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Allow to stand 20 minutes.

Transfer soaked chiles, cloves, cumin, coriander, garlic and coffee to the bowl of a food processor.  Add the ketchup, vinegar, honey and lime juice and process until thoroughly combined.

With the blade of the food processor spinning, slowly pour in enough of the chile soaking water until the sauce is thinned enough to barely coat the back of a spoon.

Season the sauce to taste with sea salt and if necessary, adjust the bitterness with just a little more honey.

Hold for service.

To assemble, season pork chops with salt and pepper and allow to stand at room temperature while you prepare your grill in the usual fashion (I like to use charcoal and soaked mesquite wood chunks).

Once the grill is seriously hot,  place the chops on the lightly-oiled grate and sear 3-4 minutes without moving (to get great grill marks and to help prevent sticking).  Turn the chops over and grill another 3-4 minutes, again without moving.

Move the chops to the cooler side of the grill and baste heavily with adobada sauce. Cover the grill and roast chops for 10 minutes.  Turn the chops over, baste and cover for another 5 minutes.

Transfer chops to a serving platter and dress with toasted corn, avocado, slivered radishes and a spoonful of adobada sauce.

Southwestern Pork and Pozole

Similar to the traditional Pozole Rojo, this thick stew features leftover roast pork shoulder that has been cubed and simmered in stock with heirloom pozole, toasted cumin, cracked coriander, canella and Mexican oregano, with roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh chilies.  Topped with crispy fried corn tortilla strips..

1 pound (more or less) leftover roast pork (including some fat), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 cups homemade smoked pork/chicken stock
1-1/2 cups fresh yellow pozole (hominy)
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed, toasted and cracked
1 2-inch piece canella
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
2 large fresh tomatoes, cored and wedged
3-4 large, fresh Anaheim peppers
1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon finely-minced lemon peel
1/4 cup New Mexico chile powder
2 teaspoons granulated piloncillo
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Heat stock to a low boil, then add cubed pork, cumin, canella and coriander and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, roast tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic in a 500 degree oven soft and charred. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then squeeze out the garlic, chop the vegetables and add to the simmering pork along with the cooked pozole, dry spices (except s&p) and tomato paste.

Partially cover and simmer until the pork is very tender and the pozole has just begun to break apart, about 30 minutes.

Add cilantro, stir and simmer another 5 minutes.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, then ladle into clay bowls and serve hot with fried tortilla strips.

Watermelon Curry with Pan-Seared Shrimp

The warm heat of Kashmiri chili with fresh ginger, garlic, toasted spices and cooling, fresh watermelon, served with pan-seared, wild Gulf shrimp and aged Basmati rice..

Watermelon Curry with Pan-Seared Shrimp

1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled & deveined
2-1/2 cups fresh watermelon, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, divided
1/3 cup diced onion
3 garlic cloves
1-1/2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
1-inch piece true cinnamon
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon nigella sativa (charnushka)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of sugar
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 fresh lemon

Combine garlic, coriander, cumin, nigella, turmeric, ginger and sugar in a large Molcajete (a mortar made of volcanic stone), using a pestle to grind into a pulp.  Add half of the watermelon and grind into a thin paste.  Scrape contents into a clean bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat.  Place cinnamon in hot ghee and cook until it begins to unfurl, about 5 minutes.  Don’t let the butter burn.

Remove cinnamon and discard; increase heat to medium high.  Once the ghee is shimmering, add the onions and shrimp and sear quickly until very lightly-browned, about 2 minutes.  Add watermelon and spice mixture, and let sizzle and fry until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Add remaining chunks of watermelon, stir to combine and heat another 2 minutes.  Squeeze a fresh lemon over the top and serve hot with aged basmati or naan, if you like.

Chile Molido-Grilled Lamb Chops with Toasted Cumin, Coriander and Xoconostle Gastrique

Extra thick, locally pastured lamb loin chops are marinated for half a day in a mixture of olive oil, chile molido, fresh garlic and toasted cumin & coriander before being grilled over a wood fire and served with a gastrique of xoconostle (prickly pear fruit from Hidalgo), caramelized pilloncillo and raw cider vinegar.  Accompanied by roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh peppers and garnished with fresh chopped Mexican mint marigold..

Chile Molido-Grilled Lamb Chops / Toasted Cumin, Coriander & Xoconostle Gastrique