Mexican-Style Pork Picaditas


 Mexican-Style Pork Picaditas by Sonia Mendez Garcia on Saturday
Ingredients:

For Pork

  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless pork country-style ribs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Chile ancho powder
  • Mexican oregano
  • Olive oil
  • 4 chile ancho peppers, stems and seeds removed

For Picaditas

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten*
  • 1 3/4 cup warm water

* I like adding the egg to the picaditas because they stay moist in the center

You will also need

  • 1/3 cup pork manteca/lard melted, optional (you could use canola or olive oil as well)
  • 4 to 6 ounces of queso Oaxaca or asadero, shredded (any good melting cheese works well)
  • 2 cups pinto or black beans (whole or refried)
  • 1 1/2 cups your favorite salsa recipe

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Season the ribs lightly with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chile ancho and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil to coat evenly and transfer to a baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water to pan, cover with foil and roast for 2 hours. Check for water level after an hour.
  2. Add the chile ancho to a small pot of boiling water. Reduce heat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to the blender. Add 1/2 cup fresh water, 1/3 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic and cumin. Blend on high until smooth and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the masa harina, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the egg. Gradually mix in the warm water until dough forms. If too crumbly, add a little more water and if it’s too sticky, add a little more masa harina. The liquid will absorb more as it sets. Roll 8 equal-size masa balls and flatten them slightly. Transfer them to a plate covered with plastic wrap.
  4. Preheat a large comal or griddle pan to medium heat for 5 minutes. Using your hands or a tortilla press lined with wax paper, form a 3-1/2 to 4-inch masa cake. If doing this by hand, wet your hands a little while doing this so masa does not stick. Cook on hot comal/griddle for 3 minutes per side. While still hot, cover picadita with paper towel. Use your fingers to pinch the edges up like a sope. Also pinch the masa in the center so it’s bumpy. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely.
  5. After 2 hours, remove the ribs from oven. Pour the chile ancho sauce over the ribs and stir gently to coat evenly. Roast, uncovered, for 1 more hour. Before serving, shred slightly using two forks.
  6. To finish the picadita, Transfer back onto hot comal/griddle and drizzle with a little manteca/lard or oil. This will crisp up the bottom a bit and add its signature flavor. You could use olive oil if you like to keep it light. Add a little cheese to the picadita and cook until cheese begins to melt. Top with beans, pork and salsa.

Cooks Notes

  • If you cannot find queso Oaxaca, you could use string cheese or mozzarella.
  • I make a double batch and keep them stored in an airtight container in between sheets of wax paper. You can prepare them with a variety of toppings as pictured above. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
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