August 01, 2010

A Granted Birthday Wish!

Abodo Grilled Pork with Esquite Stuffed Onions

People often ask me where I like to eat, as if I have some magical ability to find the best restaurants. Ok...maybe I do! You could call it my secret super-hero power. (Wink, wink!) Along with the galactic ability to pull a party together in moments, I have "flavor-sonar" for sniffing out the best food around.

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago. My husband wanted to know where we should have dinner, as if he had to ask. I simply replied, "You know where." For as many incredible independent restaurants Asheville has, there is ONE that I place on a pedestal, Curras Nuevo Cuisine.

Before I tell you why, let me expound on the food scene here. Asheville in recent years, has marketed itself as a "foodtopia society." A place where ALL culinary, dietary, and planet-friendly endeavors are celebrated. We have more locally-owned restaurants than most cities 10 times our size. AND THEY'RE GOOD! No, no...they are awesome! With so many choices of varied culinary styles and world flavors--not to mention a focus on local meats and produce--there is NEVER a reason to eat at a chain restaurant. Not only is Asheville rated a top 10 food destination by several renowned sources, it has also surpassed Portland, OR as "Beer City USA" (my husband likes that little fact!) We have a surplus of local edibles that are shipped world-wide, and host many food-related festivals each year. Asheville is a hoppin' little place for we foodies gourmands epicureans (I hate those terms.) GASTRONATORS! Someone please send me a better word!

All this being said, Curras Nuevo Cuisine reigns supreme, in my mind, as the Asheville restaurant that has it all! Let me be clear, this is NOT a hoity-toity, make-a-reservation-months-in-advance, spend-your-whole-retirement-fund type of place. The ambiance is quaint and comfortable, not fussy. The presentation is artful, not overdone. Chef Tyler De Bruyne's menu is seasonal and well thought out; a delightful blend of bold Latin flavors and fresh local ingredients. Some of my favorite dishes include the stuffed poblanos, the airy tres leches cake, and the ultra creamy flan. And let's not forget the sauces, dear me, the sauces! ........Sorry, I just lapsed into a zen-like state. Moles, Chile-infusions, out-of-the-box salsas and relishes...... Whoops, almost happened again! Let's just say I would happily to go to Curras and just drink sauce!

For my birthday, we started with Fried Green Tomatillos and Goat Cheese with Candied Anaheim Chile Relish. I ordered the nightly special of Seared Tripletail over Heirloom Tomatoes with Pineapple Salsa topped with a Stuffed Squash Blossom. The hubs had Adobo Grilled Pork with Esquite Stuffed Sweet Roasted Onions. It's hard to say whose was better. Sadly, my restaurant photos didn't turn out well after the sun went down! I hadn't prepared to make a post of the night. So I don't have good photos of the restaurant's dishes!

The owner Marco Garcia, a veteran restaurateur in Austin, Texas and Florida, was gracious enough to share the recipe for the Adobo Grilled Pork. As I prepared this recipe at home, I made a few slight changes. 1. I altered the quantity, as I'm sure you don't need 3 lbs. of Adobo Sauce in your fridge! 2. I made little method adjustments to accommodate home cooks who don't have industrial equipment. That's it! It turned out just as lovely as we remembered it.

Thank you Marco and Chef Tyler. You made my birthday very special indeed!


Abodo Grilled Pork with Esquite Stuffed Onions

3 ancho chiles
1 pasilla chile
1 2/3 cups orange juice
3 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
¼ cup white vinegar
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
2-1 lb. pork loins

2 large sweet onions, peeled and halved
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
4 Tb. butter
5 oz. chevre
¾ tsp. paprika
½ of a lime
Salt and Pepper

Toast the peppers in a skillet or on a griddle until aromatic, but do not burn. Remove the stems and shake out the seeds.

Heat 1 cup of orange juice in a sauce pot. Add the garlic, cinnamon stick and bay leaves to soften. Once the orange juice is very hot, add the chiles and remove from heat. Allow the chiles to soak in the juice until they are soft—10 minutes.

Pour the contents of the pot into a food processor. Add the remaining juice, vinegar, and following 5 spices. Puree until smooth.

Heat the grill to medium. Brush the adobo sauce onto the pork loins, salt well, and set aside. Cut two onions in half, then slice off the stump on either end.

Grill the pork for 15 minutes, turning every five minutes. Remove from heat and tent with foil for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Grill the onions for 10-12 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, Cut the corn off the cobs and place it in a skillet over medium heat.

Saute the corn until it is popping and almost dehydrated—about 10 minutes. Then lower the heat and add the butter and goat cheese. Stir the cheese until melted. Stir in the paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a little lime juice at the very end.

To plate: Slice the pork in ¼- ½ slices on the bias. Push the center sections out of each onion half (reserving for another dish) leaving only 2-3 rings. Fill the onion “cups” with the exsquite corn. Fan out the pork slices on a plate and set an onion cup next to it.

For a cool plating effect, brush a little of the extra adobo sauce around the edge of each plate. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F then turn it off. Place the plates in the oven for 5-10 minutes to allow the sauce to dry! Allow the plates to cool before serving!

Curras serves this dish with roasted asparagus, if you want a veggie!

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Curras Nuevo Cuisine on Urbanspoon
Abodo Grilled Pork With Esquite Stuffed Onions on Foodista


  1. This looks delicious. I love the adobo paired with pork. Happy Birthday, by the way :) (Although belated.)

  2. happy belated! Adobo sauce is so tasty.

  3. The pork looks amazing, but I really like the idea of those onions too! A great presentation, and sounds like you had an awesome birthday. :D

  4. The way that adodo sauce looks in the bowl made my mouth start watering. What a great photo. And your pork loin looks so perfectly moist. Mmmm.

  5. gorgeous dish!it's for the first when i saw adobo,very interesting,thank you for sharing this!

  6. damn i'm drooling over here. that looks fabulous. i REALLY like the onion idea--i wouldn't have to chop them and make my eyes water!

  7. Happy Belated Birthday !! The dish looks great !!! I must admit I have "a black hole" concerning all the varieties of chiles you mention...Not available, neither in Argentina nor in France....Something to be learnt and appreciated !!!

  8. Happy birthday! That recipe - those peppers - look fantastic. Thanks for the recommendation when next I head to Asheville!

  9. We used to live in Atlanta, would get up to Asheville every now and again. Never had a bad meal there! But wasn't aware of the Beer City claim. As I recall, Portland had the most craft brewers per capita. Has Asheville taken that title? Congrats! Not sure where Denver ranks in that list, but I read the other day that we have 75 craft brewers within a two hour's drive.

    Great looking recipe!

  10. I'm so jealous of your restaurant scene! Charlotte's leaves something to be desired. And good Tex Mex/Mexican to top it off! Coming from Texas, I've been highly disappointed in what our offerings here. I will definitely be trying this the next time I'm up in Asheville.

    Nice work on your reproduction as well. That looks as good as any restaurant fare I've eaten!

    Oh, and Happy Birthday!!!! Hope you had a great one!

  11. Happy belated birthday. Fantastic looking dish. Your pictures really make the food pop!

  12. What a fabulous birthday dinner. Belated Happy Birthday, Sommer!

  13. Oh, I'm drooling. That looks fantastic. I LOVE adobo sauce. Thank you SO much for sharing the recipe.

  14. Happy Belated Birthday! The Esquite filled roasted onion looks delicious!

  15. I love the way you Smeared that sauce on the abstract! We tried going to Curras on my birthday but they aren't open on Sundays :(
    I look forward to a night there soon!

  16. Oh! Happy Belated Birthday...the adobo sauce smear on the plate with the roast sure looks delicious...SO tasty :-)

  17. First Happy Birthday, then for a better word... I like "Food Lover" because at times I can totally make out with a plate of food. LOL, Now for the Adobo grilled It looks amazing, with that onion and corn. Yummmm.

  18. Happy birthday! And it looks like a great birthday dinner. I love corn stuffed onion most. It sounds so tasty with grilled onion. I must try that one.

  19. What a great birthday dinner. And the pork looks amazing.

  20. These both sound like incredible recipes, Sommer! I can just taste the flavors of the hot peppers, cinnamon, clove, garlic, orange juice and spices all working together. You are the best to get such recipes from your most beloved restaurants - I need to be more bold and just ask!

  21. Happy Belated Birthday, everything looks delicious, love the roasted onion idea:-)

  22. Very unique dish that looks so good! Happy Bithday :)

  23. I haven't been to Asheville for 30 years. I loved it then and I know I would just adore it now. The restaurant has me convinced. The adobo welcomes me...want it all.

  24. A great birthday meal!
    The corn salad looks super delicious!

  25. that dish looks like it was heaven on a plate.....everything about it just screams flavor!
    I love that corn, I mean could it look any better, what a fantastic

  26. Sommer...I never knew that about Asheville being such a food haven...and quite frankly never thought of stuffing roasted onions either...something that just triggered an idea...hmmm.

    Happy belated B-day...and I'm glad you could be pleased in such a yummy way.

    Ciao for now and have a lovely week,

  27. This looks so tasty and I can't wait to try out that restaurant the next time we're passing through Asheville.

  28. I'm impressed at your super hero abilities at finding amazing eateries! Happy Belated b'day! And I may take you up on that cake offer. . .

  29. That sauce screams to be tried. It sounds wonderful. If ever in your town we'll know where to eat. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  30. HAPPY BITHDAY SOMMER - Belated as it may be, it is totally heartfelt :) Girl, you know just how to pla with your food and the adobo with the pork and corn is just just lovely! I wish I could pierce my fork into all that goodness.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  31. Hi Sommer,

    Happy belated birthday! Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday celebration. :)

    I never had adobo sauce before but it looks something that is worth making at home. Just look at the dark, maroon and glossy sauce. Yum.

  32. Happy Belated Birthday to you. Looks like you had a great time. Everything looks amazing, especially the corn salad.

  33. How nice that they shared the recipe with you! It sure looks fantastic! I really love the stuffed onions. And how lucky you are to have so many great restaurants to eat in!

  34. Happy belated Birthday:) That stuffed onion looks great - everything looks great:)

  35. Oooh! How late am I?? Happy (very) Belated Birthday Sommer!

    That pork is cooked to perfection. Thanks for another great recipe - I LOVE the brushstroke of sauce around the edge of the plate. Would you believe I have never seen that done? :P

  36. Happy Bday...adobo and pork with onions always a great combo, what a fab place, oh chains gross me out, we also have plenty family run eateries reason to go to the arches, ya know..


  37. Yeah Asheville ! On my next US bound trip I need to find a way to work a visit in. This looks delicious. Don't you love restaurants like this ? Ours is an Italian that is just perfect each and every time.

  38. Happy belated Birthday! What a droolworthy dish! Those flavors are fantastic!




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