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  • 1 hog head, or 3 lbs. pork shoulder, cut in 3/4" cubes
  • 12 New Mexico chiles
  • 12 ancho chiles
  • 6 chipotles, dried, or 1 can chipotles en escabeche
  • 6 chiles de arbol
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 whole head of garlic, peeled
  • 5 lbs. fresh or frozen nixtamal -- (5 to 6)
  • 4 TBS vegetable oil or lard
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 handful Mexican oregano and/or 1 TBS ground cumin
    1. Bring head to boil in water to cover (about 3 gallons), then simmer till meat is tender and falling off the bone (about 4-5 hours). Skim off all scum. Remove head from pot. (I use a 48-qt. stock pot with a strainer insert for deep-frying turkeys). Put head in large bowl (this may be a problem for some) and let cool. Continue to reduce stock on simmer. Overnight is about right.

    2. Cut meat off skull and chop coarsely. Refrigerate overnight. There should be about 3 lbs. of good mystery meat. I use it all; ojos, sesos, the works.

    3. Seed and de-stem chiles. Remove 2 qts. of the pork stock from the simmering pot and put in another pot over low heat. Add chiles to this and simmer till soft. Strain out chiles but save the liquid. Put chiles in food processor with onion and garlic and puree.

    4. Heat oil or lard in skillet or dutch oven till quite hot. Use your exhaust fan or do this outside. Add pureed chiles to hot oil, with some liquid if necessary, and stir like mad till mixture is reduced by about a third. Add this mixture, and the retained chile liquid, to the stock pot. Mix thoroughly, then add the meat. When the meat is heated through, add the nixtamal. Add salt, pepper, oregano and/or cumin to taste. Simmer for another 2-3 hours, then serve.