|...Without Leaving Home.|
I haven't been home or not hung over (or both) for several weekends now, so I've been looking forward to a clear-eyed Saturday getting reacquainted with my kitchen. I even went so far as to remove some meat from the freezer before work Friday morning enabling me to hit the ground running without impinging on my pot of coffee and morning papers.
|It's been a Mexican-Free Zone for an alarming stretch of time now and something simply has to be done about it. So, since I'm purposefully and blissfully alone this weekend, why not another installment in the solo meals series. Today: spicy pork fajitas and a chili corn side.|
Although the braising takes several hours, the prep work is a snap and after that, it's pretty much a hands-free work environment. In fact, I'm juggling iTunes, the Buick Invitational, the New Yorker and this blog entry while the pork is slowly breaking down into its tender goodliness.
|My last pork entry was a honey & mustard-glazed roast, and I admit to being something of a student of the hot/sweet school, so this time it was a chili and brown sugar coating. Why brown sugar? Well, the molasses and trace minerals added to unrefined sugar undergo mysterious transformations in the presence of amino acids (protein) and all those wonderful pork juices. Don't ask me to elaborate, I can't. Let's just say it tastes bloody good, and leave it at that.|
|So I started with an inventory of the cupboards and, as usual, went with what I had on hand: onion, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, chili powder, brown sugar and some other spices. I played around with measurements that looked right (I hate measuring, but will provide estimates later in the post), tossed everything into the food processor and broke it all down into a chunky paste.|
|The paste got rubbed into the pork roast, and worked into the meat thoroughly. I set the roast into a Dutch oven with one cup each of chicken stock and white wine. Covered, the pot went into a 300° pre-heated oven for four hours. Every hour, I turned the meat and kept the level of the liquid from completely evaporating.|
|After three-and-a-half hours, I started checking the roast for tenderness. Once it began to fall completely apart at the slightest touch, I removed the roast from the oven and let it rest loosely covered for 15 minutes.|
|While the meat rested, I moved the Dutch oven to the stovetop and reduced the juices and residual liquid over a medium low flame. While the sauce reduced, I heated sweet corn in a Tbsp of olive oil for about ten minutes. I added some minced roasted red peppers, chili powder, cumin and some red pepper flake, since I had no cayenne in the house. After about five minutes, I tasted for salt and removed from the heat.|
|The pork shredded effortlessly and needed no dressing short of some of the reduced broth from the Dutch oven. It remained juicy throughout the meal. There was a perfect balance of sweet and spice. A Mexican futbol goal!|
|Heap shredded pork on a serving platter and decorate with lime wedges. Serve with warm flour tortillas and sour cream or pico de gallo, or tomatillo salsa. Whatever you have on hand.|
If I had had company, I would have grilled whole scallions to serve with the pork and made fried plantain strips to serve on the side.
Pile the juicy pork in a tortilla and add your favorite topping before wrapping it up and eating with your hands.
|Only because I thought the label was cool, I picked up a Longboard Vineyards 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from the Russian River Valley. It was a great food wine. The spices in the meat and corn complimented subtleties in the bouquet and taste. Here were my tasting notes without and then with food:|
Sorry for the shorthand, everyone has their own way of articulating the ephemeral. But it was a fine wine with spicy food. Longboard is a bit of an upstart with minor touchy-feely aspirations. Their website is good for a chuckle or two, especially if you've grown up around surfing. I wonder if sometimes I sound as big a tool!
|Brown sugar and chili paste: (for a 3-4 lb pork roast)|
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until the onion is broken down and a thick paste forms. Rub all over your pork roast.
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add corn and heat through for about 10 minutes. Add the spices and peppers and cook through for five minutes. Season to taste and remove from heat.
|Any guesses on Sunday's menu? Shredded pork tostadas with black beans and queso fresco!|
|Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food|