Freshly Blogged Challenge. Week 11

Pulled pork, tortilla baskets and mexican toppings.
Vote here.
Week 11 was incredibly tricky, our list was: 2 avocadoes, 1 punnet tomatoes, Werda spicy mexican bean salad, sour cream, coriander and spring onion. We could add our choice of meat, and in order to do something extraordinary for the semi final round I knew that I had to do something utterly crazy and out there. Either the judges would think it was nutty or ingenious. I was hoping for the latter.

I have always wanted to try my hand at making a luau. Its a very authentic and rather ethnic way of cooking meat, using heated stones to slow cook pork, chicken and veggies to perfection. Its quite strange as basically you dig a hole and make your own type of "earth oven", wrap your food up and then bury it to cook for a few hours.
It does seem like quite a bit of preparation, but the hardest part really is digging the hole, the other items needed are pretty much what you have in the garage.

I do need to say that our first try at this flopped, because we didn't use enough stones. Second time round we used bricks, They worked brilliantly well, and our oven was still hot even when we dug it up 4 hours later. The next time we make this I am definitely going to try cooking a chicken and veggies too.

The beauty of this type of cooking method is that your food can never burn. The meat cooks indirectly from the stones, so it wont scorch or dry out.

My recipe is based on "cochinita pibil" - the Mexican pulled pork dish eaten throughout Mexico at celebrations and festivals, like the dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead).
For traditional spices, marinate your pork in a mixture of lime juice, annatto, oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamin, black pepper, allspice and garlic. Then cook in banana leave. For safety's sake, I wrapped the pork leg profusely in many layers of foil, shiny-side in, to keep all the lovely juices in - and anything else out!

In the end we had succulent fall-off-the-bone pulled pork with coriander and bean sauce. Serve with tortilla bowls and all the best Mexican toppings: guacamole, tomato salsa, sour cream and refried beans for an authentic Mexican meal.

Week 11
Mexican pulled pork
2kg pork leg
2 boxes Werda spicy mexican bean salad
1 cup water
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh coriander
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp apple or wine vinegar
2 Banana leaves

Flour tortillas
Makes 12
3 cups cake flour
1 cup cornflour
1/2 tsp salt 
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
flour for rolling.

Refried beans:
2 Tbsp Peanut or sunflower oil
Drained beans(from above recipe)
Cherry tomato salsa:
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions, chopped
1 tsp apple or wine vinegar
1 tsp Peanut or sunflower oil
2 avos, peeled
1 tsp apple or wine vinegar
Sour cream:
250ml Sour cream
Spring onion and coriander

Mix the bean salad with water and strain.
Blend this sauce with 4 Tbsp of beans, tomatoes, coriander, spring onion, salt and vinegar.
Pour half of this over the pork and leave to marinade while you build your fire pit.

Line the inside of a pot with 2 layers of foil. 
If using banana leaves line the foil with leaves and then place meat in,.
Pour in marinade. Cover again with leaves and a top layer of foil. 

Place on top of more foil, and wrap tightly in eight layers.
Set aside for when your coals are ready.

To make a pit oven:
You will need:
A flat cement slab or igneous rock, 11 bricks, 2kg charcoal, 1 bag wood, edible leaves (banana, rosemary, bay, lemon/lime, fennel). a braai grid, cardboard/or an old towel, sand (to cover).

Dig a hole that is 2 times deeper and 2 times wider than your wrapped meat. On the bottom, lay down the cement slab or flat rock. To build the sides, make a circle using 9 bricks placed upright (see picture). Place last 2 bricks on top.
Make a fire inside and around the bricks, using charcoal and wood. Burn for at least 3 hours. (Oven is ready when drizzled water evaporates immediately of of bricks). Move most of coals to the outside of the circle.

Cover coals with leaves. Place leaves in the centre of the bricks and place pork on top. Top with 2 hot bricks. Place braai grid on top and cover with cardboard or an old towel. Cover with an inch of sand. Cook pork for 4 hours.

To make tortillas:
Sift flour, cornflour and salt. Add water and oil to form a dough. Mix until smooth.
Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Divide into 12 balls. Roll each ball out to 2mm thick on a floured surface.
Heat a large pan and dry fry the tortillas for a few seconds on both sides until they bubble.
Keep warm for serving.

Refried beans:
Heat oil and fry beans for 2 minutes until browned.

Chop tomatoes and spring onions, toss with vinegar and oil

Mash 1 and  a half avos with the vinegar and salt.
Fan the half avo on top by making small slits in the bottom and pressing down gently.

To serve:
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Make tortilla bowls by pressing tortillas into fluted bowls. Bake for 10 minutes.
Make 5 baskets to serve.

Shred the pulled pork. Boil the juices for 5 minutes until reduced.
Add the remaining sauce from the bean salad and add the shredded pork.
Mix well and place in one basket.
Fill other baskets with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and refried beans.
Serve hot with sliced spring onion and fresh coriander to garnish.