A blog about food
Slow It Down
Most people I meet seem to think of “slow-cooking” in a very different way than I do. Now, I’m not saying I don’t know what a crock-pot is–but even though I have 40 boxes of kitchen stuff (I move a lot), I don’t own one. It just wasn’t something my grandma or my mom used in their kitchens and since my momma taught me how to cook, I never felt like one was needed. The crazy crock-pot notions I have stuck in my head: #1. Cooking is an art and lots of love goes into my meals and that doesn’t translate to crocks and #2. Everything out of a crock-pot tastes kinda the same.
That doesn’t mean that we Southerners don’t traditionally slow-cook (I mean, come on, we “slow” everything!), it’s just in a different way. About two-ish months ago, three foodies (myself included) went and saw a man about a pig. This story ends with, living alone AND WITH AN almost unfathomable amount of pork in my freezer. Being a bit OCD on the freezer time for meat, I have been trying to get through it all, in a not so "slow" way.
I am trying anything with this preponderance of pork: the oven, grill, home brining and curing, the works. When looking for new recipes, I found a cutout from Cooking Light explaining the slow-cooking method of braising. This goes back to the fact that I do not own a crock-pot, but do have a 30-PLUS pound, over 100-year-old cast-iron Dutch oven, and I needed to cook one of the big pieces of pig labeled “roast.” So I was in. And let me tell you, it was hella good.
Southwestern Pork and Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes mitigate this braise's spicy heat, brought on by the combination of a pickled jalapeño's sour spiciness and the more complex heat of ancho chile powder. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion, peeled and quartered (about 7 ounces)
1 pickled jalapeño pepper, stemmed
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed
1 (12-ounce) dark Mexican beer (such as Dos Equis Amber-but I used the dark beer in my fridge)
1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 pound)
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Place first 6 ingredients in a food processor; process 1 minute or until a thick paste forms. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Add chile mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Stir in beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add pork and cinnamon; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until pork is tender. Remove pork from pan; shred into large pieces with 2 forks. Stir shredded pork and sweet potato into pan; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Discard cinnamon stick. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
And I know that Valentine's Day is right around the corner so if you need any great recipes or date ideas click here.