Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mexican Braised Pork Shoulder Lettuce Wraps

Hola mis amigos. Hoy vamos a comer algo de comida mexicana. N burritos o Chimichanga no, o cualquier cosa disponible en Taco Bell. En su lugar vamos a llegar a disfrutar de un plato más tradicional.
Hello my friends. Today we will be eating some Mexican Food. No not burritos or chimichangas; or anything available at Taco Bell. Instead we will get to enjoy a more traditional dish.

Ok, enough of that. I didn’t take 16 years of English in school to use Google to translate what I want into Spanish.

In all honesty, Taco Bell or your local “Mexican” restaurants barely constitute anything resembling true authentic Mexican food. And that is a cussing shame. At any of the aforementioned establishments, what can you say about almost everything on the menu; it includes grated cheap cheese, tomatoes, peppers, meat or “meat”, and a flour/corn based shell (food transferring device). Now consider the Wikipedia definition of - Mexican cuisine - known for its varied flavors, colorful decoration, and variety of spices and ingredients, many of which are native to the country. These two don’t really line up.

There are many problems with attempting to make a primal Mexican dish, several of the most used ingredients are forbidden. Corn, nope. Beans, nope. And as hard as I tried, I was unable to wrangle us some iguana, rattlesnake, or spider monkey. And you have to believe spider monkeys are delicious. So instead we had to settle for pork, ho hum.

That being said, we both were pretty impressed with the end product. A braised pork shoulder in traditional Mexican spices, pulled and then wrapped in a leaf of lettuce, topped with some additional spices.

Now how we did it...

A 2lb pork shoulder is more than enough for two people for two meals (at least.)

The night before eating, heat oil in a large, broad pan. A cast-iron pan is preferred, but not required.

Season the shoulder with pepper and (a little) salt. Thoroughly brown the pork on all sides. The more browning you do now, the more flavorful the meat will be later.
I chose a bone-in shoulder, because, I don't know, that is what they had at the store. You can do this with a boneless shoulder cut too.

Put the shoulder in a crockpot and fill with water until it's juuuust covered. Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, black pepper, paprika, and cumin to taste. We also threw in a whole jalapeno. You can set the crockpot insert into the fridge overnight.

In the morning, rise and shine and plug in your pork. Go to work. When you come back home, your house will be filled with the awesome meaty aromas of Mexican pork shoulder.
Then... Shred it!
 We ate our pork as lettuce wraps in bibb lettuce, with such accouterments as avocado, tomatoes, lime, cilantro, etc.

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