Monthly Archives: September 2014

Chinese Pulled Pork and Goodbye to summer

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What are you happy about today? I am happy for my family’s health, the existence of music (good and bad included I guess), and this barbeque I had on Saturday. My roommate put it perfectly: this is one of those times where Katie wants to make something, so she asks people to come over and try it. It’s less that I’m good at entertaining and more that when people smell food, they flock like sheep. Is that a phrase?

I was so excited to eat real food after a week of recovering from wisdom teeth surgery. While I didn’t let it stop me from nomming hard, it did stink not being able to chew. Poor me, I got to try Zesto milkshakes for the first time and had a banana pudding milkshake that rocked my world.

I recently visited the Dekalb Farmers Market in Atlanta and had a love affair I think. It was one of those lazy Sundays when I wanted to get lost somewhere and found myself purchasing a 4 pound pork BUTT for no reason in particular. I tried to ask the butcher what people usually get for BBQ and he was all “girl ¬†you’re on your OWN.” After being shuffled through the baking aisle by some intense bakers and drooling over bags of the coolest whole spices you’ve ever seen, I went on my way with my big ole pork butt.

One week later, I found myself declaring “I’m making this pork butt TODAY”. And no, I don’t think I even thought about who’d eat it other than myself, but it was eaten! I started my pulled pork experience with an Asian recipe and found success!

It wasn’t too bad! The reviews from this recipe made it seem very versatile and easy to play around with. The recipe only calls for 2.5 lbs of meat, and I used 4 without changing the proportions too much. The recipe says to cook this pork on the stove, but I ended up doing a combo of stove and crock-pot

With this pork, we served Cookie and Kate’s peanut sesame noodle slaw and had TOO MUCH FUN using our new food processor. Then we sort of strayed away from Asian and served a good-bye summer panzanella salad. We tried to come up with some unique names for the dishes so that they could be dubbed as Katie and Christine’s special recipes, but the only thing suggested was Jamarcus and Chastity’s pulled pork. No good.

I’m smiling now, thinking of my friends hunched around our teeny porch nomming on pulled pork. Love it! My weekend ended with the most beautiful singing from the church choir at this new church I’ve been going to. One of those moments when you get all goosebumpy, don’t you love that?! Put me in a great mood.

Chinese Pulled Pork, adapted slightly from this food52 recipe

4 lb Boston butt, pork butt

2 tbs olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and sliced thin

3 slices of .5 inch thick ginger, peeled

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly

1 piece star anise

1/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms (I couldnt find presliced so just broke them up in my hands)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup white wine

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

2 tbs rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1. Take a paper towel and make sure your pork is dry before you start cooking it. This’ll help it get a good sear in the pan. Get out a big dutch oven. Cut the pork into large chunks, doesnt have to be fancy bc it’s going to fall apart

2. Heat the oil on medium high heat and start to brown the meat in batches. You don’t want to put too much in all at once bc you really want a good crisp on the outside of the pork. Just brown the pieces on 2 sides, doesn’t have to be the whole cube

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3. After each batch is done, set the pork aside on a separate plate. After you finish all the pork, add the onion, garlic, and ginger (pork should be out of the pan) and saute on medium heat until the onions are sweating and the flavors are fragrant, scraping up the brown parts on the bottom of the pan. (says 5-8 minutes mine was closer to 5)

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4. Add the star anise and mushrooms for just a minute to get them sweating. Then add your pork back to the pan and mix with the sauteed onions/garlic/etc. Add in the soy sauce, white wine, stock, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to very low heat. If you’re on a high burner, put the pot on the smallest burner. Keep it at a gentle, moderate simmer (I found this hard to keep steady so had to come back and check periodically) for 2 hours.

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5. After two hours, skim the excess fat and shred the pork. Discard the star anise pod and cook the sauce down. At this point I put some of the sauce and the shredded pork in the crockpot and cooked it on low for another 2 hours.

Serve on potato buns with slaw or the reduced sauce! bon appetit!