The turkey was the only animal domesticated by the natives of Central America, with cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs all being introduced by the Spanish. The original inhabitants did, however, hunt a type of wild boar, and pork remains the favorite meat of modern Mexicans. This dish originated in the city of Puebla in central Mexico, not far from Mexico City.
Mexican Puebla-Style Pork Loin (Lomo de Puerco Poblano)
3 dried ancho chiles*
3 dried mulato chiles*
1 cup (250 ml) hot water
2 cups (500 ml) dry red wine or beef stock
4-6 mint leaves
4-6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 bay (laurel) leaf, crushed
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cumin
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2-3 lbs (900-1300 g) boneless pork loin, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) cubes
* Available in finer supermarkets and Hispanic specialty shops.
Remove and discard the seeds and stems of the dried chiles. Tear the chiles into pieces and soak in the hot water for 1 hour. Combine the chiles, along with the liquid they were soaking in, and the remaining ingredients except the pork in an electric blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Combine the marinade and the pork in a covered container and refrigerate 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Place the pork and marinade in a heavy casserole and simmer tightly covered over low heat for 2 hours, until the pork is tender. Serves 4 to 6.