Chicharrón… more or less

In Mexico, chicharrón can cause strong reactions and it is often the subject of considerable discussion, even debate. 

Stateside we are familiar with the addictive crunchy snack made from deep fried pork skins. Of course, bags of them are everywhere in Mexico, some are sprinkled with chile blends, and others can even include a personal sample of hot sauce.
However, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their possibilities in Querétaro.  For the more adventurous, the skins are not fried.  They can be purchased raw at local markets and made into an array of dishes by home cooks.  Tostadas and tacos often feature this style: skins simmered for various lengths of time in a favorite sauce can result in an end product that ranges from barely cooked and squeaky pink, to well done and meltingly soft.
Part of the traditional gastronomy of Querétaro aregorditas, corn patties filled with a variety of fillings ranging from nopales, chorizo, potatoes, cheese, or of course, chicharrón.  My Sunday breakfast today featured the ever popular migajas gorditas, tortilla dough stuffed with a filling of chicharrón simmered in a savory chile sauce. 
 There are other forms to consider:  there are guacamayas, or small sandwiches called bolillo tortas that are stuffed with chicharrón and avocado, seasoned with lime and red mashed salsa of tomatoes, onions, chili peppers.  Or consider crema conchis, a soup flavored with chicharrón and chile; and of course where we would be without chicharrón sorbet?  
In Mexico City I had my first experience with tostadas de chicharrón. The crisp corn tortilla was spread with refried beans,  sheets of fried chicharrón, and finished with assorted toppings:  cabbage, onion, radish, avocado, crema, cheese, and a boat-load of salsa options. The chicharrón tends to soaks up the toppings and softens it instead of breaking into unwieldy pieces. 
Chicharrones in Salsa Verde is very popular in this area and it really requires no recipe.  The format is similar to the above tostadas.  Begin by heating about 2 cups of your favorite salsa verde; add ½ pound of chicharrón and simmer to soften, but not mushy. 

Serve with warm tortillas or tostadas spread with refried beans if desired; top with shredded cabbage or lettuce, onion, radishes, crumbled cheese, avocado, and favorite sauces. 

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