Codillo, sometimes called chamorro, is the lower part of the pork leg, here cut crosswise into rounds, including the central bone. Nopales (paddle cactus) and verdolagas (purslane) are two of the most common plants found in Central Mexico. Because of their versatility and high nutritional value, they are used in a variety of dishes. Purslane, like nearly all greens, is a perfect complement to the flavor of pork. If you live in an area where purslane is not available, watercress is a perfectly acceptable substitute. If you cannot get fresh nopales (which are now widely available in U.S. supermarkets) you can use canned- just be sure to rinse and drain them well before using.
- 2 lbs. pork leg, bone in, cut crosswise into 1″ rounds
- 1 1/2 lbs. tomate verde (tomatillo) husked and blanched
- 1 large fresh cuaresmeño or jalapeño chile, seeded and deveined
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped epazote
- 1 hoja santa or avocado leaf
- 3/4 lb. purslane or watercress, cleaned and steamed
- 2 nopal paddles, cut into 1/2″ squares, boiled till tender and rised well
- Salt to taste
Place the meat in a large pot or dutch oven and cover with 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste. Pressure cook 25 minutes or bring the meat to a boil, lower flame and simmer until tender.
In a blender or food processor, place the tomatillo, chile, garlic, onion, epazote, hoja santa or avocado leaf, and enough of the meat broth to blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan in which a little oil has been heated, add meat and remaining meat broth and simmer 15-20 minutes (see NOTE.) Add purslane and watercress and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with sliced avocado and white rice.
NOTE: Tomatillos vary in acidity. If you find that, after cooking, they are a bit too acid for your taste, take Señora Reyes’ advice and add a pinch of sugar or bicarbonate of soda to reduce acidity.