Curried Pork Lettuce Wraps – From 2012 Austin Parade of Homes Chef Night

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I was honored to be selected as one of the featured chefs for Austin’s 2012 Parade of Homes Chef Night at the PGM Design + Build home. PGM owner, Edgar Prats, and I later reunited on the He Said, She Said radio program. He’s been begging me ever since for he pork recipe I prepared that night. This curried pork is a test of patience, but well worth the wait to prepare. I originally served this as a one bite amuse-bouche at the event, but it’s especially delicious served wrapped in a crisp lettuce cup. The cool crunch is an awesome compliment to the sweet spice of the pork. I usually will buy an entire pork shoulder at a time (about 12-18 lbs). If entertaining, you can cook the entire shoulder or split the butt (upper part) from the picnic (lower part) and freeze one for a later use.

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Ingredients:
1 pork butt, bone in
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 – 12 oz can coconut milk
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 stalk lemongrass, bruise with heel of knife
equal parts Penzey’s Sweet and Hot Curry Powder, about 4 Tbsp each mixed
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 head Boston lettuce

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Season butt completely with curry powder, then sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.
3. In large Dutch oven, heat coconut oil over med-high heat.
4. Sear butt in oil on all sides until browned. Remove and set aside.
5. Add lime juice and coconut milk to Dutch oven to deglaze the pan.
6. Return butt to pan, add remaining ingredients except lettuce, cover and place in oven.
7. Once in oven, immediately reduce heat to 200 degrees F.
8. Cook for 4 hours, basting every 20-30 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before shredding pork butt with fork.
10. Strain pan sauce and save it for remoistening pork if needed.
11. Serve in lettuce wraps by themselves or topped with fresh chiles, your favorite salsa, shredded cabbage or cilantro.

Note: This can also be made in a crockpot. Turn crockpot to high and allow to heat completely. Once this is done, sear the butt in a sauté pan. Transfer pork to crockpot and deglaze saute pan with lime juice and coconut milk as above then transfer sauce to crockpot and add remaining ingredients. Cook high for 4-6 hours or reduce heat to low once all ingredients are added and cook 8-10 hours.

Vindaloo Pork Ribs… Guaranteed to Offend

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I love experimenting/playing with my food. I was craving some ribs, but don’t have time in my day for firing up a grill between work and school then volunteering at the hospital before studying. I secretly have a love affair with my crock pot.

So back to the ribs… These ribs are politically incorrect on so many levels and will probably offend a few of y’all. So bring on the angry mob!!!  Where do I begin? Ummm I guess let’s start with the seasoning. Vindaloo is a seasoning from Goa, a coastal city in India. Being that the primary population is Hindu and Muslim, pork is obviously taboo. Vindaloo Pork is however a very popular Catholic dish as a result of Spanish and Portuguese rule and trade in the area, but the words and sounds that came out of my mouth when I opened the lid were absolutely sinful. Did I say open the lid? Yep, these are crock pot ribs.  Ya see, down here in Texas, they seem to think that you don’t boil your ribs, you don’t bake your ribs, you don’t boil your ribs, you smoke em. That’s it… Oh well, more for me.

Note: Keep in mind that the method for these ribs can be followed for any number of flavor, spice and sauce combinations so feel free to get creative…

Ingredients:
4-5 lbs Pork Back Ribs
4 tbsp Coconut Oil or Rendered Bacon Fat
6 tbsp Vindaloo Seasoning, or more to completly cover
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Bulb Garlic, cloves smashed
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Organic Local Honey
1 tbsp Chili Flakes
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Method:
1. Trim any excess fat from ribs. Flip over and score the connective tissue on the back of ribs with a knife. Cut each slab in half between two of the ribs. Season ribs completely with vindaloo seasoning, salt and pepper.
2. Put onion, garlic and vinegar in crock pot. Do not turn on yet.
3. Heat oil in large saute pan at med-hi heat. Sear the ribs meat side down then carefully with tongs sear the sides and ends.
4. Place ribs in crock pot, cover with lid and turn heat to low and cook for 8 hours.
5. When finished cooking, remove ribs and place on sheet pan to rest. Preheat broiler to 500º F
6. Pour or ladle drippings in bottom of crock pot into blender and puree completely.
7. Pour into sauce pan. Add honey and chili flakes, simmer and allow to reduce to sauce consistancy.
8. Brush sauce generously over meat side of ribs. Broil until sauce begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Be very careful as they will go from caramelizing to burning very quickly.
9. Make a mess and enjoy!!!

Crispy Pork Carnitas

Who doesn’t like traditional pork carnitas? This is a great way to recreate restaurant quality juicy and crispy carnitas without the restaurant.

2 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 (4-5 lb.) Boneless Pork Shoulder, excess fat trimmed
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Large Yellow Onion, sliced thin
8 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Chipotle Powder
4 tsp Cumin
3 tsp Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper

Method

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and sear on each side until browned (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer pork to the crockpot.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork.
3. Once the pork is cooked, preheat broiler to high heat and cover two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Use a fork to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, and then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the prepared baking sheets, spreading it out evenly in a single layer. Reserve the remaining broth from the slow cooker.
4. Place one sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin crisping up. Remove the sheet, and use a spatula or tongs to carefully toss the pork. Then ladle about 1/4 cup of the remaining slow cooker broth over the pork. Broil for an additional 5 minutes to get the meat more crispy. Then remove and ladle an additional 1/4 cup of broth over the crispy pork.
5. Repeat with the other baking sheet of pork.
6. Serve immediately in a salad, with eggs, over vegetables, in a soup or whatever sounds good to you! Or cover and refrigerate or freeze.

If tacos are your thing and you nees your tortilla fix, check local organic grocers like Whole Foods and Trader Joes if available. This is a really good recipe to try at home. Keep in mind that you can’t expect them to be like corn or flour tortillas. They will differ from them as much as corn and flour tortillas differ from each others. If convenience and availability is a factor and you MUST have tortillas, remember corn are always a better option. Be sure to check labels and avoid any hydrogenated oils (lard and other animal fats are ok) and wheat flour that may have been added. http://snapguide.com/guides/make-paleo-tortillas/

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