Slow-Cooked Chipotle Pork
8 servings
I have one of those slow cookers and tried cooking a pork shoulder in it a while back. After seventeen hours, it was finally falling off the bone, but the meat rather dry at that point and Romain refused to eat it. (Okay, he ate it, but complained about it the whole time.) So I returned again to using my tried-and-true Dutch oven. If you want to use a machine, I’m sure this can be adapted to a slow cooker or Instant pot, although I think the last step (#6) where the sauce gets reduced and the pork gets caramelized, is a nice touch. As I’ve been trying to use up things I have odds and ends of, I used oyster sauce, which you can find in markets that sell ingredients for Asian cooking. But ketchup can also be used along with a splash of vinegar. You can read more about chipotles in adobo here. I took a few tips for this recipe from the Pull-apart pork with honey chipotle on the BBC Food website. This recipe could easily be cut in half. You may need to reduce the cooking time to compensate for a smaller amount of pork.
1/2 cup (125ml) chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (using the sauce and the chiles)
1/4 cup (60ml) oyster sauce (or ketchup with a splash of vinegar)
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mustard, such as Dijon
2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
freshly ground black pepper
1 whole pork shoulder, 4 pounds (2kg), cut in half by your butcher, if possible, trimmed of excess fat
1 bottle beer (or 1 1/2 cups/375ml water)
1. Mix the chipotles in adobo, oyster sauce, honey, mustard, fish sauce (if using), garlic and several generous turns from a peppermill of freshly ground pepper in a large bowl or zip-top marinating bag. Add the pork shoulder and massage the marinade into the meat. Cover (or close the bag) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
2. To bake the pork shoulder, remove it from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
3. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (165ºC.)
4. Place the pork shoulder in a Dutch oven or similar pot with a lid and pour any marinade over them. Add the beer, cover, and bake in the oven for about 3 hours, turning the pieces of pork over every 45 minutes.
5. When the meat is tender (depending on your pork shoulder, it may take a little more time than 3 hours), remove the pot from the oven. Increase the heat of the oven to 400ºF (200ºC.)
6. Use tongs to pull the meat off the bones, and discard the bones. Put the pot back in the oven, uncovered, and roast until the sauce is thickened reduced to your liking, turning the pork pieces a few times while roasting. When the pork pieces are gently caramelized, about 30-40 minutes, remove from the oven and serve.

Notes

-I’ve covered where to get tortillas in France in the Note at the end of the Pozole recipe.

-I didn’t use a recipe to make the beans, but made them by rinsing and soaking some good-quality dried beans for a few hours. I then cooked them in a pot of water with a bay leaf and about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (due to hard water issues, that dried beans don’t like), until the beans were almost tender. At that point, I added some finely diced red onion and smoked salt to the pot. When the beans were tender, I turned off the heat and added finely chopped cilantro, tasting the beans to see if they needed any additional salt.

-Because of non-optimal lighting conditions at 9pm in the middle of winter, the pictures of the bowls containing the finished slow-cooked pork were taken the following day, when we had them for lunch. I probably should or could have rewarmed them with a splash of water or beer to make them more saucy, as they’d absorbed a lot of sauce overnight. If you’re rewarming the pork, feel free to reheat it with some additional liquid.