Happy 2021 everyone. Things are looking up and there is an end to all this craziness in sight. We just have to hang on for a few more months.
Our Christmas was lovely, quiet with only the three of us. I missed our annual holiday dinner with friends, an often raucous crowd of lovely people who are my adopted family. But, they will be back on Christmas eve of 2021. I am grateful that we are all healthy. We will appreciate family and friends that much more, having been without them for the last 10 months (or more).
Kitchen inspiration has been lacking in the last month or longer, but this dish of slow roasted pork shoulder had me headed to the store for a pork shoulder roast…it’s perfect cold weather eating and will provide you with several days of delicious leftovers.
I recommend using any leftovers for holiday tacos. They were delicious cooked in the manner of carnitas with cranberry sauce, a bit of shredded cabbage added for texture. Simply reheat the pulled pork in a skillet until it begins to brown. There were delicious crispy bits formed.
Spiced Pulled Pork
I plan to use the rest to top roasted sweet potatoes…garnishes will include some spiced pecans and a bit of sour cream with a squeeze of lime. Yum!
Here’s the backstory, in the lull between Christmas and New Year’s I came across an idea for chicken thighs cooked with spices usually reserved for ham. I tried it and must say I was not particularly impressed. However, adopting some of those same spices rubbed onto a pork shoulder before roasting was an entirely different experience. The 6 hour low and slow cooking allowed the spice mixture to penetrate the pork and the aroma!!! Well, let’s just say my mouth was watering all afternoon. This is the perfect meal for cold, wet, grey days. It cooks slowly without any attention to you. Put it in the oven and leave, go take a long hike or sled ride. When you come home the house will smell like heaven.
It’s the best kind of cooking in my book, leftovers are already in mind. There was enough for at least two more meals.
- Pork shoulder roast, bone in or out
- 2 whole oranges, zested
- 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 1 T of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 2 star anise
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- Juice of one of the oranges
- Second orange sliced thinly
- Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F
- In a small bowl combine the orange zest, sugar, mustard, olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir until it forms a paste.
- Rub the paste over the pork shoulder and place in a large casserole with a lid.
- Down the side of the casserole add the cider vinegar, the juice of one of the zested oranges and the star anise.
- Slice the second orange and place the slices over the pork roast.
- Cover and place in the oven, roast slowly (without peeking) for 6 hours.
- Remove from the oven, uncover and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving. I pulled the meat into large chunks.
Holiday Pulled Pork – before
Spiced Pulled Pork – after
I understand this is similar to a Haitian dish called griot. It’s a classic dish of pork shoulder marinated in chile, citrus and vinegar. I didn’t use any hot chiles in this recipe but I will definitely include it next time.
I wish you all a happy new year. Be well, be safe and wear your mask. We have to hang in there for a few more months and this may be the most dangerous time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.