Adapted from “Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys” by David Tanis, via Chow.com…
WARNING: This is not a come-home-at-7-have-food-on-the-table-at-7:30-meal…
1t whole coriander seeds
1t whole cumin seeds
3oz dried CA or NM red chiles (original recipe calls for 6oz…I only had 3oz and it was just the perfect degree of spicy for the kids)
2T vegetable oil
1 onion, very small dice
kosher salt and black pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
3lb boneless pork shoulder roast
Place the coriander and cumin seeds in a large saute pan (so you can use the same pan for other things later, no extra dishes) — over medium heat and toast until fragrant, about 3 min. Remove from the pan and cool. Using a spice grinder, grind the seeds into a fine powder; set aside.
Rinse the chiles in water and pat dry. Place in that same pan and toast over medium heat until skightly puffed and fragrant, about 2 min. Don’t burn. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half, removing the seeds and stems.
Place the chile pieces in that same pan again, cover with water, and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until softened, about 5 min. Remove pan from heat and let chiles cool in the cooking liquid at least 30min (it doesn’t hurt to leave them there longer, if you have the time). Using a slotted spoon, transfer chiles to blender, add 1c of the cooking liquid, and puree until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat vegetable oil in that same pan over medium heat til shimmering. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, spice powder, bay leaves, reserved chile puree, season with salk, and stir. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the flavors start to meld, about 10 min. Remove from heat and let cool a bit while you prepare pork.
Rinse pork and pat dry. Season generously with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan or dutch oven. Pour the chile mixture over the pork and spread it all over to coat everything. Cover the pan tightly with the lid or with foil, and roast until pork is tender and easily pulls apart with two forks, about 2-3 hours.*
*NOTE – original recipe calls for 1 1/2-2hrs cooking time, but in a Le Creuset pot (which takes a while to heat up but then retains heat extremely well) with a 3.3lb roast, it took a full 3 hours to fully cook. Just a warning…
Serve with hominy or corn, beans, tortillas, and sour cream. Rice works well too — or place in tacos, burritos, etc. Whatever. Shred pork before serving or they’ll take huge chunks and eat it way too fast and then it’ll be gone…make them work a little for it instead…