Sweet Sriracha Pulled Pork

 

What. The. Heck?DSC00345Gahhhhhh!  I just took this out of the oven!  The afternoon was kind of like Thanksgiving day where you smell the turkey roasting all day long and you’re drowning in saliva. I know you know.   The roasted pork and its sauce was smelled so wonderful that I had to leave the house until it was done.  I  couldn’t concentrate on anything but running to the oven every 5 minutes! and then I took a bite — I get to do that before anyone else because I’m the cook, and I have to make the world safe for everyone else.  And I saw stars . . .and little pigs dancing in heaven . . . and I heard harps.

More photos to come.   Working on the nachos now.  Hurry — run out and buy that pork butt!

Ingredients:

  • about 3.5 pound  pork butt or pork shoulder
  • cooking oil to coat pork
  • fresh cracked black pepper to coat pork

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup  Sriracha hot sauce (seriously, 1/4 cup is not hot at all — gives it a nice warm flavor) or to taste.  You’re the boss of your own heat.
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or whatever you like)
  • 1/2 cup hoisin
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat, add oil, onion and garlic. Cook onions and garlic until they are translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add tomato sauce, fish sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, hoisin, brown sugar and black pepper. Stir the sauce and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. After the sauce has cooled, taste and adjust heat and seasoning.  It’s pretty darn yummy.
  4. Heat large cast iron pan (I swear by mine) or deep oven proof skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly coat the pork shoulder with oil and season all sides with salt and pepper.
  5. Sear each side of the pork shoulder on the hot pan until the pork is a rich brown — about 3 or  minutes per side.
  6. Remove the pan or skillet from the heat and lay the pork in the pan. I cooked my pork roast in my cast iron skillet, but you can use any baking dish that it will fit in.
  7. Pour the sriracha-tomato sauce over the pork into the oven proof pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
  8. Now — some unfamiliar patience is called for.  Bake the pork for about 3-4 hours at 350 degrees or until the pork is tender and easily shreds with a fork.  For the 3 1/2 lb roast I cooked, it took just about four hours for it to be fall off the bone tender.  The sauce is unbelievably delicious — lots of umami flavor.
  9. Allow the pork to rest for about 15 minutes before shredding the whole shoulder. Cover the shredded pork with foil to keep it warm before serving.

And what am I going to do with this pork?

Saturday Dinner #1

Pulled pork with coconut rice and cucumber salad

Super Bowl Dinner #2

Asian Style Pork Nachos

Dinner #3

Asian Pork Tacos with red cabbage slaw, avocado and cilantro

All right everyone.  Start your forks!

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Vietnamese Caramelized Pork and Noodle Salad

It’s almost worth making this recipe JUST to cook the pork which is so fabulous.  But, the rest of the recipe is so easy that you may as well make the whole thing.  I could eat this EVERY DAY!

For the noodles:

8 oz. dried rice vermicelli

For the pork:

1/4 cup sugar

2 large shallots, sliced, or 5 scallions (white parts only), chopped

2 tsp. fish sauce

2 tsp. soy sauce

Pinch salt

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1-1/2 lb. pork loin or sirloin, sliced into large pieces about 1/4-inch thick

For the garnishes:

2 cups washed and shredded romaine, red, or green leaf lettuce

2 cups fresh, crisp bean sprouts

1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and julienned cucumber

1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small whole mint leaves

1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small basil or Thai basil leaves

2 Tbs. chopped roasted peanuts

12 sprigs fresh cilantro

Cook the noodles:

Bring a medium potful of water to a rolling boil. Add the rice vermicelli and, stirring often, cook them until the strands are soft and white, but still resilient, 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to undercook them, as they must be fully cooked to absorb the flavors of the dish. Rinse them in a colander under cold water just until they’re cool and the water runs clear. Let the noodles drain in the colander for 30 minutes, and then set them aside for up to 2 hours, unrefrigerated.

Marinate and cook the pork:

Combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir a few times and allow to simmer until the sauce turns deep brown, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, have some extra hot water ready on a back burner. Once the sauce reaches the desired color, carefully add 4 to 5 Tbs. hot water to slow the cooking and thin the sauce. (Be sure to hold the pan away from you so that none of the hot caramel splatters on you when you add the water.) If necessary, add more hot water. The sauce should only be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.

Pound the shallots in a mortar and pestle or mince by hand. Transfer the shallots to a mixing bowl and combine with the fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, vegetable oil, and cooled caramel marinade. Stir well to blend. Add the pork slices and let marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a broiler or light a charcoal or gas grill. When the broiler or fire is very hot, cook the pork until just done, about 2 minutes on each side. Let the pork rest for 10 to 15 minutes, and cut into thin strips.

Assemble the salads:

Divide the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, mint, and basil among four large soup or pasta bowls. Fluff the noodles with your fingers and divide them among the prepared salad bowls. Put the grilled pork on the noodles and garnish each bowl with the peanuts and cilantro. Pass the nuoc cham at the table; each diner should drizzle about 3 Tbs. over the salad and then toss the salad in the bowl a few times with two forks or chopsticks before eating.

Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)

1 clove garlic

2 to 3 Thai bird chiles (or 1 small jalapeño or serrano chile), cored, seeded, and minced; more or less to taste

1/2 tsp. ground chile paste; more or less to taste

2/3 cup hot water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

2 Tbs. fresh lime juice

2 Tbs. shredded carrots (optional)

Pork and Lemongrass Meatballs in Lettuce Cups

Meatballs:

  1. 1 pound ground pork
  2. 1 lemongrass stalk, bottom 5 inches only, smashed with rolling pin, then minced
  3. 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  5. 2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  6. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  7. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  8. 1 teaspoon sugar
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

Dipping sauce and assembly:

  1. 1 lemongrass stalk
  2. 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  3. 1/4 cup fish sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  5. 2 tablespoons coarsely grated carrot
  6. 4 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  7. 2 teaspoons minced green Thai chile or serrano chile with seeds
  8. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  9. 1 head of butter lettuce, leaves separated
  10. 1 small persian cucumber, thinly sliced

For meatballs:
Chill pork in freezer while making lemongrass paste. Combine lemongrass, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining ingredients in processor; pulse until paste forms. Add chilled pork; pulse to blend. Shape into 24 balls (each about 1 tablespoonful). Place on rimmed baking sheet. Cover; chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

For dipping sauce and assembly:
Cut bottom 3 inches from lemongrass. Smash with rolling pin, then mince. Measure 1 tablespoon and place in small bowl (reserve the rest for another use). Add lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, carrot, sugar, and chile to bowl; whisk until sugar dissolves.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs; brown until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer to 1 side of large platter.

Arrange lettuce leaves and cucumber on platter with meatballs. Allow guests to place meatballs in leaves, garnish with cucumber, and drizzle dipping sauce over.

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