I do, indeed.
You see, I had a hunch my first week here in New York would be a hodgepodge of craziness. I admit its only Tuesday, but thus far I’m spot on (and loving it). So last week when I was home, in the beautiful expanse of my mother’s kitchen, I documented one of my favorite recipes but didn’t post it.
Instead, I folded it up into teensy, tiny squares and hid it in the sacred hiding place of all women (my hair, duh). I dreamed of when I’d bring it out, what grey afternoon with piles of reading would prompt its emergence…
That day is today.
Spicy shredded pork for what is now a staple family event, “burrito-bowl-night”.
I feel required to warn you…I love “spicy”. It’s a bit of a requirement, really. I don’t want “kick” or “tang” or “flavor”. I want my whole face to hurt, my nose to run, my eyes to sting, maybe even my lips to start going numb…that’s my spicy.
That’s the kind of spicy jammed into the beautiful chipotle pepper sauce you’ll find in your pan at the end of this recipe. If that’s not for you, please don’t fret. It’s not for my mother either (despite many valiant efforts) and it’s incredibly easy to just spoon the sauce into a serving dish for those with a penchant for burning their faces off.
Disclaimer accomplished, we can really begin.
At your earliest convenience, procure one of these for yourself.
A pork butt. Not one sexy thing about it…unless you think delicious is sexy…in which case, this quickly becomes a rather strapping young gentleman.
Line up your little soldiers,
without forgetting this guy (as I initially did).
He’s completely indispensable to this operation.
You want to coat every part of your pork. This is a thick piece of meat (please…no dirty-jokes) and there needs to be enough seasoning for all of it, not just the crust.
A few moments and many sticky fingers later, he’ll look something like this.
(My mouth is already watering and we’re still in the raw-meat phase…the anticipation is overwhelming)
As you’re scrubbing the many layers of chili powder off those dainty fingers, let a good amount of oil warm in your best heavy-bottomed pan. When you’re sure it’s hot, add the pork.
If you don’t hear that unparalleled hunger-inspiring “sizzle”…it wasn’t quite warm enough and you should grab your meat and wait a bit longer.
Sear each side for about two minutes, or until a brown and crispy outside has formed.
Next we join two diced chipotle peppers (those in adobo sauce are a particular favorite) and one whole can of Hot Ro-Tel Tomatoes to our pan to cook with the pork.
Add roughly 1/2 cup of water to the mix. Lower the heat so it’s just simmering. Leave a lid ever-so-slightly cracked on top, and please walk away.
In an hour you’re welcome to return… only to check if there is still enough water/liquid in the pan. If not, add more. If there is, you are once more banished from the kitchen. The spices need to fall in love and marry our pork and I promise you’ll be grateful if you let them.
4 hours later, when your entire kitchen (and probably your neighbors’) smells like every kind of wonderful you’ve ever imagined, come back.
Slowly pull back the lid, savoring every delicious wafting scent, and feast your eyes on this,
You’ll want to lift your pork immediately to a big cutting board for shredding. To shred you simply take two forks and pull the meat in opposite directions. When it’s cooked this long with this much juice, its tender enough to fall apart on its own. You’re simply in the business of providing a helping hand or two.
This is important. Taste the sauce, a pinky-finger dip will do. If it’s anything and everything you’ve ever wanted…return the meat to the sauce to stay warm.
If not, keep them separate! The meat will still have incredible flavor, it just won’t kill off half your taste buds.
Now it’s time for the fixins’.
Shred some lettuce, grab your favorite salsa, cut up an avocado or two, boil some corn, maybe add a bag of shredded mexican cheese if that’s your thing. It’s your dinner! The only rule I’ll impose here is that you don’t forget the sour cream (I use greek yogurt as a replacement) because something cool and refreshing on top goes a great distance in “making the dish”.
My favorite side is sautéed peppers and onion. So we cut up one green and one red bell pepper along with one whole vidalia onion and cooked until soft.
And then it’s just an assembly line!
Here’s what I created (and immediately destroyed),
and that of my mother (who had the incredible 6-minute long patience for the boiling corn),
Its spicy and savory and quite possibly everything my mouth has ever watered for.
The meat is so soft and juicy… and honestly, completely addicting. My younger sister and I are both guilty of polishing off the leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day…I can only hope you do the same!