This is, by far, the most involved recipe that we’ve posted.
The steps are simple, but it takes time. A lot of time. In fact, the main ingredient is time.
Being the end of the year and all, that got me asking questions about life.
What is the main ingredient that we add to our lives? Where and how do we spend the most time? The answer to that is what gives the most flavor to our day-to-day life.
For us, this year at least, our main ingredient has been health. Whether it’s mental health, physical health, family health - it’s all been close to our hearts. It's the main reason we started this blog - as a way to explore health through cooking and nutrition.
So thanks to everyone for exploring with us, and trying our recipes. You’ve all encouraged us, and it’s an amazing feeling to have the support of friends and family.
Happy New Years!
- 3-4 lbs boneless pork shoulder
- 1/8 cup sea salt
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 green apple or pear, cut into chunks
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 piece of kombu seaweed, rinsed (optional)
- 6-8 cups of any type of stock, or water
- 1 head radicchio or other sturdy green. We've used little gems lettuce as the taco shell, too. (Of course, corn tortillas work as well).
- 4 watermelon radishes, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- Juice from 2 limes
- 2 tsp sea salt
*This is best to make over two days - buy the ingredients and salt the pork on day one, then cook the shoulder on day two. It takes a while, but braising is a simple process. Here's how I remember it:
- Salt the meat (12-48 hours ahead of time)
- Brown the meat
- Cook veggies on stovetop over low heat
- Add in the meat
- Partially cover with liquid
- Cook in the oven at around 250ºF for 4-8 hours.
Here's the actual process, written in detail:
- Place pork shoulder on cookie rack set in a baking sheet.
- Put salt in a little bowl. Sprinkle salt all over the shoulder. Be generous, and remember the salt will be diluted with all the liquid later on.
- Place salted shoulder uncovered in the fridge, and let sit overnight.
- Remove the shoulder, and let come to room temperature - about 1 hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 250ºF. Place a rack on a lower shelf, making room for the dutch oven later.
- Meanwhile, set a dutch over over low heat.
- Add the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 20-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the shoulder is room temperature, heat a pan over medium high heat. Add the 1 tsp of olive oil.
- Brown the shoulder on all sides.
- Place the shoulder in the dutch oven on top of the onion/carrot/celery mixture.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients. The liquid should come up three-quarters of the way on the shoulder, leaving it partially exposed.
- Place lid on the dutch oven, leaving it slightly ajar.
- Move dutch oven to the oven, and cook for 4-6 hours. Check every hour or so. Rotate the shoulder after 2 or 3 hours.
- Meat is done when it falls apart when prodded with a fork. (Even fully cooked meat may still be pink due to a chemical reaction at lower oven temps).
- Remove the meat, and set aside. (This will keep in the fridge about 3-5 days).
- Strain the liquid and separate using a fat separator. (Alternatively, let the dutch over cool, then place in the fridge or a cool place. After a few hours, the fat will congeal at the surface. Remove fat, then reserve the remaining liquid. We use this to heat up the pork in a pot.)
- In a large bowl, add the radish, cabbage, cilanto, lime juice, and salt. Mix thoroughly for 1-2 minutes. Set aside. (Can be made a day in advance.)
- Remove the leaves from the head of radicchio (or whatever greens you use). Wash, and pat dry.
- To make tacos, lay out a leaf of radicchio, then add pork, cabbage slaw, and an avocado slice. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
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