Now, don’t be getting your hopes up.
(Though I think if you follow my advice and do-nots, you probably would get an amazing dish.)
Anyways, we’re backtracking a little, and talking about Hubs’ birthday dinner. Now, as I mentioned in the last post, I put together this dish the morning of Hubs’ day in the crock pot. We were looking forward to sharing it with some very good friends for dinner.
Well, that was before.
Before I started not feeling well.
Before we made the
mistake decision to have take-out Chinese for lunch.
Before our friends cancelled on us.
So, as dinner time rolled around, we were pretty much ambivalent about dinner. Frankly, we were still fairly full from lunch – and were very overwhelmed by the complex aroma coming from the crock pot. So, Hubs made an executive birthday decision: we’d save the tacos for the next night and have a light dinner instead.
Here was our exciting meal:
(No, you are not mistaken – peanut butter and jelly with Doritos. What can I say, we were reliving our teenage youth. And darn, it tasted good!)
Anyways, I’m telling you this because I’m thinking letting the meat stew in the juices overnight may not have been the best idea…
Cuban Street Tacos, adapted slightly from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
4-lb boneless pork butt or boneless pork top loin roast, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 T kosher salt
1 T canola or vegetable oil
2 c chicken broth or stock
1/2 t pepper
1 t ground cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t dried oregano
2 bay leaves
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 onion, peeled and halved
juice of 1 lime
1 medium orange, halved and juice, rinds reserved
Rub the pieces of pork all over with salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, until the oil is shimmering and hot. Add the pork and sear each piece on all sides, working in batches, if needed. Once browned, remove the pork to the slow cooker. Into the same pot used to sear the pork, pour in the water and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged spatula or wooden spoon to get up all the delicious brown bits from the bottom. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture over the pork in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the pork is very tender.
Remove the bay leaves, onion and orange rinds from the pot and discard. Remove the pork and place in a bowl and set aside. Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a pot on the stove and over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Let the mixture boil until it reduces to about 1 cup and is thickened slightly, about 10 -15 minutes.
Shred the pork and place on a large patter. Spoon the sauce over the pork. Serve in tortillas garnished with onions, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and additional lime wedges, if desired.
So, after this cooked for about seven hours, I turned it off, let it cool, and placed it in the refrigerator.
The next day, about an hour before we were going to eat, I placed it back in the slow cooker and turned it on high – and then followed the rest of the directions given.
I shredded the fork-tender pork, tasting a bit to make sure it was warm. And let me tell you – it was amazing! The mix of orange, jalapeno, and all the spices made for a treat for the tongue.
(Oh, and 10 points if you can name that quote.)
See, what I forgot to do is the most important thing you can do when cooking: taste your food.
Thinking things were still all wonderful, I plated up some amazing looking tacos.
Apparently, as the sauce had simmered, and the liquid evaporated, it got salty. And I mean salty; as in spit-out-your-bite, salty. As in the whole batch was ruined, salty… all that mouth-watering pork I’d tasted, ruined.
Let’s just say I was not happy.
I also want to say that I have made several of Mel’s recipes and they have all turned out perfectly. So, I’m betting I did something wrong: whether it was leaving it sit overnight, using too much salt, or I don’t know. So, I’m thinking if this sounds good to you, you should definitely still try it.
Just be sure to taste everything before you add, mix, or serve it.
(And yes, we did have pb&j again.)
Be sure to enter my giveaway for a $20 gift card to Williams-Sonoma… check out this post for more information.