By now, I’m sure you know that I’m all about easy meals. Not all Mexican recipes are easy. Beef Tamales come to mind… and that’s why I love shortcuts.
Chicharrón en Salsa Roja, or Pork Cracklings in Mexican Red Salsa, is one of those dishes that comes together in a FLASH. Flash dance… oh what a feeling!
How to Make Chicharrón en Salsa Roja
It starts with the pork cracklings.
I’m using a long piece of fried crackling (or pork skin). It measures about 4 feet and very thin. Then, I break it up into pieces.
They sell this crackling piece at the Mexican market behind the counter at the meat department. You can also use the packaged, in a bag kind.
- Break up the cracklings into tiny pieces.
- Set it aside until ready to use.
The piece sizes are not supposed to be perfect. Some are bigger than others.
Roast for the most flavor.
- Next up, roast the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Either on a griddle or in the oven.
- Oven version: Place them under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, or until the skins on the tomatoes are blackened.
However, since we’re in Southern California, and it’s a million degrees outside, I am happy to char these beauties up on the griddle.
• Blend until smooth.
Fresh is best, but when you’re running around, get all the help where you can. Again, I LOVE shortcuts. Lol.
You can also use store-bought salsa. Please don’t tell my mom I said that.
Most of the time, I make a double batch of roasted tomato salsa. Use one and freeze the other. Salsa freezes very well.
• Heat oil in a skillet.
Manteca… oh, how I love thee … but my thighs don’t love it. LOL! So, I’m using regular olive oil. Yes, you can use manteca instead of oil.
I would not use coconut oil because the cracklings will absorb the flavor. Canola oil. Grapeseed oil. Any of those work too.
We are not frying anything and don’t need to worry about smoke point.
- Add the salsa. With a spatula, stir occasionally.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes.
For me, I like to serve Chicharron en Salsa Roja tacos with extra salsa. That way, everyone can serve themselves.
Please Note: You might hear people refer to this yummy and authentic Mexican dish as “Chicharrones” en Salsa Roja.
Chicharrón is singular.
Chicharrones is plural, as in many chicharrones.
This is also not to be confused with Chicharron en Salsa Verde. It is the same dish but made with salsa verde.
- Then add the chicharrones, or pork cracklings.
- Mix well to combine. Cook until the pork crackling is soft.
Some pieces are harder than others.
If you are using fresh pork crackling as I am, it’s ready in 5 minutes. If you are using the packaged kind, they are usually hard and can take up to 10 minutes to soften.
Test the chicharron after 7 minutes.
• If they are still not soft, add 1/2 cup water + pinch of chicken bouillon and lower the flame.
This is also the time to add other ingredients to make it a more complete dish.
You can add:
- Cooked Nopales
- Frozen green beans
- Frozen peas
- Verdolagas (or purslane)
You can also add pieces of cooked pork, chicken, beef. All of these would be yummy, but I would add more sauce.
Chicharron en Salsa Roja with nopales is a very common dish in Mexico. The nopales need to be cooked and well drained before adding to the skillet.
Chicharrón en Salsa Roja, or Pork Cracklings in Mexican Red Salsa, is known to be saucy. I’ve even had it served in a bowl. However, I think it depends on what you’re going to do with it.
It makes a great filling for gorditas. It would be hard to handle a gordita with an overly saucy filling.
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Chicharrón en Salsa Roja (Pork Cracklings in Mexican Red Salsa)
- Heat up a hot griddle.
- Add the tomatoes.
- After 1 minute, add 1 jalapeño.
- After 1 minute, add the onion.
- Keep turning until the skins are black.
- Lastly, add the garlic clove.
- Char lightly.
- Turn frequently.
- Immediately place all the ingredients from the griddle into a blender.
- Also add the salt and cumin to the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- (You can skip all the steps above if using store bought red salsa).
- In a large skillet, heat up olive oil.
- Add the salsa.
- Finely dice the other jalapeño and add to the skillet.
- (If you like it saucier, add 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon to the skillet and stir).
- Cook for 2 minutes.
- Then add the chicharrones, or pork crackling.
- Give everything a good stir.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the pork crackling is soft.
- (It could take up to 10 minutes if you are using extra dry pork cracklings).
- Top with chopped cilantro.
- Serve with corn tortillas and extra salsa.
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More Mexican Pork Recipes:
Cochinita Pibil tacos are to die for. Incredibly tender meat that has been slow cooked for hours and hours. Top your tacos with chopped cilantro and cebolla en escabeche (pickled red onions). Each bite of this Authentic Mexican recipe is heavenly.
Red Pork Tamales (or Tamales de Puerco en Chile Rojo) is traditional Mexican food at its best. So tasty. So incredibly delicious. They are worth the effort to make. Perfect for Christmas or all year long.
Grilled Pork Chops in Adobo Sauce (Chuletas Adobadas) – Delicious and flavorful recipe made for warm summer nights. Wow your guests and make this at your next backyard BBQ.