You don’t need to fly to Mexico to enjoy their delicious dishes this summer. Thomasina Miers, co-founder of Wahaca, tells Keeley Bolger why she can’t get enough of the country’s sizzling grub.
If you fancy trying some of Miers’ favourite summer dishes, here’s a recipe from her book Wahaca: Mexican Food At Home.
3kg neck of pork, cut into a few large pieces
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
For the marinade:
1tsp allspice berries (if unavailable use equal parts ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper)
2tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
100g achiote paste (optional, see note below)
3tbsp cider vinegar
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Large bunch of fresh oregano or 1tsp dried oregano
3 fresh bay leaves
2tbsp sea salt
3tbsp olive oil
Juice of 6 oranges (about 450ml)
First make the marinade. Warm the spices in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, then grind to a fine powder. Place in a blender with the achiote (if using) and vinegar, onion, garlic, herbs, salt and olive oil, and pulse to start breaking up the achiote. Slowly pour in the orange juice with the motor running to form a smooth paste.
Pour about two-thirds of the marinade over the pork, ensuring that it’s thoroughly coated. Refrigerate overnight. Freeze your remaining marinade or keep it fresh for a week in the fridge (and try it with something else, like barbecued chicken).
Preheat the oven to 130C/250F/gas mark 1. Transfer the pork and its marinade to a large casserole dish and add the chopped chilli and butter. Bring to simmering point then cover with foil and a tight-fitting lid, and cook as slowly as possible for three to four hours, until the pork is soft and falling apart. Serve chunks of pork in deep bowls with rice or steamed potatoes.
THOMASINA’S TIP: You can buy achiote online or from specialist shops. If you prefer your food not too hot, simply leave the chilli out. We use neck end of pork, which is marbled with delicious fat that melts into the sauce. For the tastiest, most tender pork, marinate it the day before cooking.