Archive | November, 2013

kalua pork

5 Nov

It’s official. Slow cookers are sexy! How sexy? This¬†motherf–kin’ sexy:

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I’ve been wanting a slow cooker for ages and have been doing the proper research. Ultimately, I wanted one that was light. I also wanted the insert to be used over the stove or in the oven in case I was ever in a situation that required that. I’m lazy. Any time I can do something in a single pot, I am one happy camper. Alas, my prayers have been answered with this baby. The All-Clad 7 qt. Deluxe Slow Cooker met all of my basic requirements. Recently, it was on sale at Williams-Sonoma (a.k.a. any cooking lover’s version of Toys-R-Us meets porn video store) and I was given an additional discount. (It’s true. Charm, patience, and a smile will get you far these days.) Yes. I HAD to have this. When it finally arrived, I proudly displayed it on my counter and fantasized about what I would make first. After searching, I decided to break this baby in with some delicious kalua pig! I used Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe and made a few adjustments of my own.

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I chose pork butt with skin on that was just under 4 lbs. Since this was my first time making kalua pork, I didn’t want to over do it. Also, it’s just me and I get tired of food easily. Cooking in big batches isn’t always ideal. This slab seemed to be just fine. The original recipe called for a 16 hour cooking on low. I ended up doing about 10 hours on low and it was perfect. The photo above is what I woke up to. Unlike the Nom Nom version, I lined the slow cooker with banana leaves and I added some liquid smoke to the salt rub (WIN!). When I stuck a fork into the meat, it was super tender, but I was disappointed at how bland it was. With that, I learned that all the salty smokiness is actually in the liquid. This is why you need to get the meat out and shred. The bottom of the pot has lots of liquid.

The leftover liquid looks a little something like this:

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Sticking garlic into the meat is brilliant! I decided that the next time I do this, I’m going to put a bunch of garlic pieces in the pot and let it roast outside the pork. Using the juices, I added a little bit to the newly shredded pork for some flavor. That’s when the first part of the magic happened! The photo below is the pork without any juices. The pork mixture has bits of roasted garlic and bacon. Mmmm!

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Another thing that the juices are good for is cooking the cabbage! Given the ease of the pot, I simply removed most of the liquid and sauteed the cabbage in the juices. Here’s what it looked like over the stove:

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Once the cabbage was cooked (I hate wilted veggies), I just added the pork back and mixed it. The final kalua pig and cabbage dish looks like this:

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You can serve this by itself, or over rice with some mac-potato salad (like they do it in the islands!) I was very happy with how this turned out. I don’t think I’ve ever had pork this tender. If I were to do this again, I’d keep the cabbage separate because the pork can be used for other dishes like tacos, soups, etc. But we’re not done yet…

Remember that slab of skin that was on top? Technically, it does NOTHING for the dish itself, other than keep it moist and fatty (but you can do that without the skin). When I removed the meat from the pot, the skin literally fell off because it was so damn soft. I let sit out for a while to “dry” so I could make chicharon.

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I tried frying it, but I was reminded of why I don’t like making chicharon. It leaves my kitchen in a terrible, oily mess. (Now I have all this oil to clean!) When the popping became way too intense (it didn’t take long), I turned off the stove and was ready to just throw the skin away. However, I could hear the Manpanion’s voice crying in my head. I don’t think I could handle the look of disappointment on his face if I told him I threw out the pork skin! Luckily, the turbo broiler is right next to the stove and I decided to go that route (I did this before when trying to make oven roasted lechon kawali. Unfortunately, it failed miserably.)

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If you’re a Filipino, you have a turbo broiler. Period. The one I have in SSF, is often used by the Manpanion because he (who never cooks) likes how it makes his Costco food nice and crunchy. I’ve had that thing since college (15+ years, if you’re doing the math right). When I moved to Phoenix, some dear friends gave me a VISA gift card as a going away present. I used it to buy this turbo broiler, made by the Sharper Image. Sometimes Costco has them too. I highly recommend! 15 minutes at 350 degrees made this:

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Crispy and delicious. The only thing I hate is that the Manpanion isn’t here to enjoy this. Unfortunately, I’m trying to cut down, so someone around here is gonna have to take this away from me. Besides, I’m fresh out of lechon sauce. Right now, this pig skin is simply useless to me:(

If you have any suggestions on what I should make in my slow cooker, please post to comments… with recipe attached:)

Live deliciously,

-joanne