I know I’ve mentioned it once or twice before, but I seemingly fall in love with a new dish every time I go on vacation or take a business trip somewhere new.  It’s only natural, then, that I want to come home and relive a little bit of the memories.

Sometimes, this leads me to an ambitious desire to create perfectly-crafted plates of spaghetti carbonara or a top-notch French press café au lait, knowing that it’s worth the effort if I can just recreate a bit of that greatness.  And then, sometimes, I’m just willing to raid my pantry for a cheap imitation.

The gears started turning for me a few weeks back when gansie shared her experience pairing a fried egg and some potato chips (hat tip Monica Bhide).  That took me back to my honeymoon in Mexico and my first exposure to chilaquiles.  In case you’re not familiar with the dish, it’s the ultimate hangover breakfast food:  leftover fried tortillas simmered in salsa and topped with whatever else you may have laying around.  And if one of those things happens to be an egg, all the better.

It’s a wonderful dish because it’s filling, it’s fried and it’s scalable, meaning you can include as much or as little above and beyond the basic ingredients of tortillas and salsa.  If you happen to have some pulled chicken or carnitas around, it’s a perfect way to take a snack or breakfast dish and turn it into a dinner entrée.

The preparation below is certainly geared to a non-Mexican kitchen, so please don’t trash me in the comments for being inauthentic.  I’m sure your abuela’s version is vastly superior.  I’m looking for something easy that I can assemble while nursing a pounding headache.

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pork carnitas

Editors’ Note: Please welcome new blogger Borracho, who is joining the ES team to share stories of Hispanic cooking, foodie football fests, and more.

The wifey and I recently ventured out to a new local Mexican restaurant, and due to my almost maniacal obsession with all South of the Border cooking, I was delighted to see a simple carnitas plate on the menu. However, what came out, while very good, was not exactly what I was looking for. It is tough to find carnitas that are the same at any two places. The word carnitas just means “little meats,” so they can be made of beef or pork and can be fried, braised, put in a slow cooker, thrown on a Foreman grill…you get the picture.

By the time we left the restaurant, my mouth was already watering at the idea of coming up with my own version. For me, ideal carnitas are the crispy on the outside, moist on the inside nuggets of pork gold I had from a street vendor in Mexico. That version had been simmered for hours in a large amount of lard. While I believe lard does not get nearly enough respect, leaving a couple pounds of it simmering on the stove for 10 hours would just be cruel to our dog, Guinness, so in stead I decided to go with a mojo as the base liquid to cook my carnitas in.

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