Friday, December 19, 2008

Pork Shoulder Cooked Forever and Faux Tamale Pie

Yesterday during a boring staff meeting I decided I wanted to cook pork w/ orange juice and incorporate it into enchiladas or possible fauxmale pie.

Into the crock pot went 1 bottle of beer, 1 cup of orange juice, about 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh ginger, 1 head of garlic (cloves smashed and paper removed), 1 tsp of 5 spice powder, 1 tsp smoked serrano chile, 1 tsp of dried ginger. I use both fresh and dried because I think they taste different. The dried has a more mellow warmth while the fresh is brighter.

I cut most of the skin of the pork shoulder, salted it, seared the exterior in a frying pan and put it into the crock pot. Then in the pan which had held the pork, and was filled with browned bits and pig fat, I sauteed 2 chopped onions. Once they had some color I tossed them into the crock pot.

I started this in the evening, and it cooked for about 12 hours on low. When I woke up my apartment smelled AMAZING. The pork shoulder had completely collapsed into deliciousness. I spooned the meat out into a container to chill in the fridge. I then strained the liquid into another container. I wanted the liquid to chill so I could degrease it later by just lifting the solidified fat off the top.

I went off to work gloating over the porky deliciousness in my fridge. When I got home I shredded the pork (removing any stray bits of fat or weirdness) and removed the fat from the liquid. Lifting a congealed solid layer of fat is kind of awesomely gross. The liquid had also turned into a jellied mass, which means it is filled with deliciousness (and collagen). The pork was flavorful, but also a little "dull." Probably from the long cooking. I stirred in some chile paste, cumin and ginger powder which brightened the taste.

I decided I wanted to make a sort of pork tamale pie with polenta on top (like in the fauxmale pie).

  • Cooked polenta (make it yourself or get a tube of premade stuff)
  • About 1.5 cups of shredded pork
  • 1/2 cup of cooking liquid from the pork (or chicken stock) which has been warmed.
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (I love Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes, but any kind without seasonings is fine)
  • 3-4 TB masa harina
  • 9x9 baking dish, or larger if you feel like it.
Preheat your oven to 350.

Get out your baking dish and spoon in enough porky goodness to fill the pan half way up. Add 1/2 cup of cooking liquid (or broth) and one 28 can of diced tomatoes. Then slowly stir in in 3-4 TB of masa harina. You want the liquid to thicken up, but not solidify. Then drop spoonfuls of polenta on top, or crumble the premade stuff on top.

Bake the whole thing at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and delicious. This also reheats well the next day for lunch.

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