We're still working our way through Birthday week in this household so I'm cooking things that are on the top of the Big Guy's yum list. Pork is up there in his book, right next to beef!
We've shared a version of this crispy pork with you before, but it is one dish that can be changed in a myriad of ways, all to do with what kind of citrus one uses. This time I braised a lovely piece of pork butt in a combination of fresh orange, lime and lemon juices along with lots of garlic. After a long slow simmer on top of the stove, the pork is shredded, doused in a good glug of brandy and fried in a hot pan until crisp. Topped with the remaining cooking juices it is just about as fabulous as you can get all stuffed inside a nice warm tortilla.
We had our pork filled soft tacos topped by some Avocado and Tomato Salad made of cubed avocado in a basic vinaigrette along with crisp bacon, little plum tomatoes and red onion. Its fresh flavors complimented the pork in a very nice way and adding a little crunch from the bacon too. After all one there's no such thing as too much pork, is there.
Crispy Pork with Citrus
2-1/2 pounds pork butt
1 cup water
Zest of each 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lime
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/3 cup brandy (or apple jack, or bourbon)
Cut pork into large 2 to 3 inch cubes, removing some but not all of the fat. Place into a large heavy pot (I used a cast iron Dutch oven), add water, citrus zest, orange, lemon and lime juice as well as garlic and sea salt. Bring to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook pork for 1-1/2 hours until very tender, adding liquid as needed to keep meat semi submerged. Remove lid, increase heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes to reduce liquid by approximately one half. Remove meat from pot, reserving liquid and using two forks, tear into strips.
Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add slivered meat and brandy. Cook until meat is crisply caramelized but not dry – about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add reserved cooking liquid. Serve warm inside flour or corn tortillas along with avocado salad, guacamole, refried beans, assorted salsa, chopped jalapeno’s and sour cream. Download Crispy Pork with Citrus
Avocado and Tomato Salad (adapted from Jackson Hole Cooks)
5 slices bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coarse ground black pepper
3 drops hot sauce
2 medium avocados, peeled and cubed
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
Salad greens (optional)
Combine oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a medium bowl. Whisk well. Add avocado and toss to coat. Add tomatoes, red onion and crisp bacon. Toss, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to blend flavors. Before serving place on salad greens. Download Avocado and Tomato Salad