I spend lots of time in the kitchen, lots of time. With 5 kids (2 of whom are teenage boys) and 1 husband (aka The Big Guy), a limited dining out budget and no relatives in the area to have us over to eat from time to time, I make lots of food. Thankfully, I love cooking. I'd cook all day if I didn't have anything else I was needing to do. However, I have a few other things besides cooking vying for my time each day and there's the rub.
So, when I find a recipe that is delicious, easy, cheap AND a time saver, I do a happy dance. I've found one and, lucky you, I'm going to share it. With the recipe below, you'll do an afternoon of hands off cooking and have at least 2 meals to show for it. You'll have more meals, if those for whom you cook aren't teenage boys.
(Note: This recipe involves pork which I know is a sensitive subject with some folks. We don't eat lots of pork. It isn't the best meat in terms of health, but well, it tastes good and when it is on sale for .99 per lb, it is a DEAL!)
Easy Pork Shoulder
From "Everyday Food," an amazing magazine put out by Martha Stewart
7 lb boneless pork shoulder
Yep, that's the whole list of ingredients for the basic recipe. I've used boneless and bone-in pork shoulder depending on what's on sale.
Preheat your oven to 450. Use a knife to score the fat (not the meat) in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place meat, fat side up, in roasting pan or Dutch oven with 1/2 c water. Roast until some of the fat has rendered - not the prettiest word. Basically, it means that some of the fat will have been cooked and turned into oil. Cutting the fat in a diamond pattern at the start, makes this happen faster. This should take about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn your oven temp down to 350 degrees. Cover the pan tightly with foil (preferably some that has already served another use in your kitchen). Slide it back into the oven and cook until meat is very tender, about 4 hours. When the meat is cool enough to handle, remove whatever fat is left from the top of the roast. Get two forks and shred the meat. This stuff will be so tender you'll barely have to touch it and it'll start falling apart. Seriously.
Ta Da! You've got about 10 cups of yummy roasted pork to use as you please. I did this on Thursday of our garage sale with a 10 lb. roast. The recipe was exactly the same except that I cooked the meat for about 5 hours.
What do you do with your shredded meat?
Make BBQ pork sandwiches! Add your favorite BBQ sauce to some of the shredded meat in a pot and heat it up. Whip up some quick coleslaw - shred some cabbage, add some shredded carrot, 1 T cider vinegar, 1 T olive oil, some salt and pepper - and you've got a meal.
Make Pulled Pork Tacos! Put some olive oil in a pan, saute some onion, garlic and chipotle peppers (if you're feeling crazy) until tender this should take about 20 minutes. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add pork and cook until heated. Serve in tortillas with whatever toppings float your boat - chopped avocados, fresh cilantro, salsa, cheese, sour cream. I'd suggest squeezing some lime juice onto the meat as it cooks and adding some black beans to the mix. Yum!
If you don't want to have pork twice in a week - you can use some and freeze the rest for 3 months or so. Just to give you an idea of what a 10 lb. roast can do, we had BBQ sandwiches one night and Pork Ragu (recipe to follow later) tonight. I used half of the shredded meat for each meal. We didn't have leftover BBQ pork - we were feeding an extra kid that night. We've got a little leftover ragu in the fridge from tonight's meal.
You could do this in your crock pot, but it won't get that amazing roasted flavor in your meat. Not that I have an opinion about which one is better or anything...
So, make some pork and pig out! Sorry, I couldn't resist. BONUS: If you live near a Copp's store, pork shoulder is on sale
this week THROUGH TUESDAY ONLY for .99 per lb. Stock up!