- 4 ancho chiles, lightly toasted, stemmed, and seeded
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
- I tablespoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup mild white vinegar
- 6 thick shoulder pork chops
- I small piece porkfat or up to I tablespoon lard
- Apple Tamarind Sauce (recipe follows)
- I cup sour cream
- Jicama Pancakes (recipe follows)
Place the toasted anchos in a bowl and cover them with warm water. Soak for about 20 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a blender. Add the cumin seeds, oregano, thyme, salt, garlic, and vinegar. Blend to a fairly smooth paste, but do not overblend.
Pound the pork chops with a wooden mallet until flat. Spread a layer of the chili paste on both sides of the chops, place them in a large shallow baking dish and refrigerate overnight or for 24 hours, covered.
In a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, heat the pork fat until it renders, or heat a teaspoon of the lard over medium-low heat. Cook the chops very slowly, for about 20 minutes, turning over once. Add more fat during the cooking time if the pan gets very dry and the chile paste is in danger of scorching. When the chops are done through (press them to see if the flesh springs back), raise the heat to medium-high and quickly brown them on both sides.
- APPLE-TAMARIND SAUCE
- 2 ounces tamarind pulp (available in Asian and Indian markets)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- I tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch dice
Break up the tamarind, pulling it apart into marble-sized pieces. In a bowl, cover with I cup boiling water and leave to soak for at least 2 hours or overnight. Strain the liquid through a medium-mesh sieve into a large saucepan, pressing down hard on the solids. Discard the solids. Stir in the honey, ginger, and salt. Add the apples and place the pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened into applesauce