Nothing gets me more excited than the thought of slow cooking a bunch of pork. Well, ok, maybe slow cooking a bunch of pork that is marinated overnight and then wrapped in banana leaves does get me more excited, but come on! who wouldn't be? I know that I have posted this before, but that was a while ago and I had really been craving it lately. I usually only make this when I find pork butt on sale. I'm talking mega-sale here...like 98 cents a pound. That's also when I load up on sausage-making supplies. I usually find it about 4 times a year at super saver on 48th. ok, back to the meat...Does this dish take a little bit of time to prep? yes. Does it require a special trip to a mexican grocery? probably. But listen, it's worth it. It's a very different combination of spices that leads to a really complex flavor. I usually serve it with some rice and beans, tortillas, but you would be totally fine just serving it with some tortillas and eating it taco style (uhhh...i don't remember dressing up like a taco?!?). It's very versatile, I've even used the meat in mole (not the yard-ruining rodent) sauce. give this one a try on a weekend night.
Other newsicals: For the past month, wifeshow has been studying for the leed commercial interiors exam. basically, she has worked more than full time hours and has then come home and spent hours upon hours studying for this thing. it paid off, she passed with high marks (only missing 9 out of 200 questions!) and we are all breathing a little easier around here. Mom and Dad dish were in town and we went out to celebrate at a local restaurant called, Dish. Since this place shares my name, I wish I could say that I had a glorious experience and was wowed by the complex food and outstanding service. Not to say that the food was bad, it was above average, but one thing that was a huge turn-off was the bread. Usually, Dish serves bread from LeQ, but they had run out and we ended up with some crappy sysco wonder bread loaf thing. It was awful beyond awful. My Mom wasn't afraid to tell them it was crap. It was really hard to rebound from there. I left feeling underwhelmed and wished I had just made dinner myself. I definitely had a better time being there and spending time with family than I had eating the food. Not trying to be a downer, just being honest... I expect a little bit more (not portion size, quality) when my food gets above the 15 dollar range.
pickled brussels sprouts! ok, stop right there. quit making that face...I mean it. I picked these up yesterday at the store out of curiosity and I am hooked. I can't imagine a more tasty, piquant snack. They have a lot more crunch than I thought that they would and they would be a great addition to an olive plate or something of the sort. Can't wait to try and can my own.
5 lbs pork butt, cubed into 2 inch pieces
5tbs annato seeds (also called achiote seeds)*
1 tbs cumin seed
1 tbs coriander seed
1 tbs peppercorns
10 allspice berries
1/2 tsp cloves
2 habanero chiles, de-veined, de-seeded
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tbs kosher salt
8 cloves garlic
juice of 5 lemons
splash of good quality tequila (don't skimp!)
1 pkg banana leaves*
large ziploc bags
Prep your pork butt, and place into two large ziplocs. I use gallon size. Add the achiote seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, allspice berries, and cloves into a spice grinder and pulverize them into oblivion. set aside. In a blender, combine the habaneros, garlic, orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, and tequila. add your spice mixture and salt and blend for about 30 seconds or until incorporated. Pour into ziploc bags, distributing evenly as possible. Let marinate in fridge overnight. Preheat oven to 300F. In a large casserole, place your banana leaves so they hang over the edges quite a bit. you'll probably have to use two and overlap them (It'll look like your pan has wings!). Pour in the pork mixture, marinade and all, and fold the excess banana leaves over to enclose the pork. Cover the top with foil very tightly, and then put in the oven for four hours. Serve with rice and beans, or just tortillas, or just eat it with your hands, The possibilities abound!
* Items available at a mexican specialty foods store (in L-town, they are at La Mexicana)
ps. Don't try this with other cuts of pork, they don't work out. You need the fat because of the long roasting time. And don't trim much of the fat off, it melts into the meat. gurgle... gurgle...