To make the dough: in a small skillet, heat the lard over low heat. Saute the ancho for 1 to 2 minutes, to until slightly softened. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chile to a blender and add the peppercorns, salt, and water. Blend to a smooth puree. In a large mixing bowl, combine the masa with the chile puree. Knead the dough together well. To test the consistency, flatten a small ball of dough between your palms. If the edges crack, add water to the dough, a tablespoon at a time, until a test piece does not crack. Set the masa aside, covered, at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavor to develop.
Pull off a ball of dough about 2 inches in diameter. Push a piece of the cheese into the dough and form the dough around it into a football shaped croquette, encasing the cheese completely. Finish making the croquettes and heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Fry the croquettes in the hot oil, burning them over when golden, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain briefly on a double thickness of paper towels and transfer to a warmed platter. Scatter the shredded cabbage in a thin layer over the top and squeeze a little lime juice over. Serve with the remaining limes, drizzled with a little chipotle salsa and crema.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved