We’ve all been a little busy lately it seems, ehhhhh? Hopefully our long hiatus was a result of enjoying long summer evenings on your new porch, riding your new mountain bike amongst the Alps, or celebrating your recent engagement! I’ve been exploring my new Northwest home in all its green, mountainy, weird, 80s-punk glory. Tomorrow I start a really busy rotation so the last few days I’ve been in a frenzy of preparation – doing laundry, catching up with people, playing this awesome game I recently discovered (thanks Jenell and Pete!) and upping my protein intake. On Sunday I went to 1 of several local farmers markets and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to do something I have never done before. Yes girl friends, I bough a big hunk of pork. Butt. I dont know what did it – maybe it was the grandpa-y farmer with a giant belly just barely held in by flannel and suspenders. Maybe it was the glittery flash of light that emanated from the cooler with the dangling “Butt” sign over it. Probably both?! So I did it. I made my first pulled pork. Not gonna lie, it was GOOD! (I take little credit though – a slow cooker is like having your grandma over to cook you dinner. But then you have to clean up of course, because now you’re an adult and she has arthritis.)
So I cooked the pork, and it was good. But then I realized I had 2.5 lb of pork and just 1 small belly! What to do?! Luckily my good friend Eben is in town visiting from Alaska, and my friend Jenell who has fed me many a delicious meal recently is working nights and has no time to cook! Eben probably took care of a good pound or so all on his own, and Jenell and Pete (yes, the board game people) got a big hunk for their next dinner. Thanks guys! So here’s the recipe. While the Asian flavors were lovely, I don’t think they were actually really necessary. A good piece of pork and a slow-cooker are probably all you really need! FYI – for this I toasted whole spices and ground them as I had some free time, but it would probably be just as good-ish with already ground spices.
– 2.5 lb pork shoulder
– 2 cups chicken broth
– 2 tbsp tamarind paste
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– 1.5 tbsp coriander
– ½ tbsp black pepper
– ¾ tsp cayenne
– ½ tsp cumin
– 1 star anise
– 1 tbsp brown sugar
– 1 tbsp salt
– 2 cloves garlic
– ½ tbsp minced ginger
Extras for the Sandwich:
– Tortillas or a good crusty bread
– Queso fresco
– Asian slaw (I made something resembling this)
1. If you are using whole spices, toast them in the oven and then ground them coarsely.
2. While they are toasting, melt/dissolve the tamarind paste in ~1/2C hot water.
3. Put the spices, tamarind paste, and all the other ingredients for the rub in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth enough to schlop onto the meat. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t go crazy!
4. Schlop the rub all over the meat. Go ahead, rub it in. Massage it. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
5. Put the meat and the chicken broth in the slow cooker and cook it on low for 16 – 18 hours. Mmmmmmmmm.
6. When the meat is finished it should easily fall apart when pressed with a fork. Arrange on tortillas or bread with the slaw, queso fresco, avocado, etc. and invite your hungry friends who are in town visiting over for dinner!