My P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby) likes to throw meat in my general direction (not literally!) when he wants a particular meal like roast beef or pulled pork. I’m not much of a meat eater when left to create meals on my own. I mean, I do eat meat, but I would rather it be disguised in a casserole or a stir fry or a soup along with lots of vegetables.
So I’m not in the habit of planning meals with a meat and potatoes and veg kind of menu. I did cook traditional meals like that back when we had kids at home, but any more I like to be more creative in cooking just for the two of us. And we’ve both reached ages where we should watch our cholesterol levels.
Cooking an actual large chunk of meat will usually mean we’ll have leftovers, so then I have to find yet another recipe to use the meat in or I make a soup to go along with the meat in sandwiches. I like pork best when I have to make one of my P.S.’s roasts as it is so versatile. After the first night of roast pork and side dishes, I can grind it up and make egg rolls for freezing), or make pulled pork using either barbecue or Mexican seasonings. I often even use diced pork when I make fried rice using either Chinese or curry spices. This week I went with preparing the roast as pulled pork with Mexican seasonings.
I start out by searing all 4 sides of the roast in a large non-stick frying pan. You could use a teaspoon or so of oil but I usually just do a dry sear after salting and peppering the meat on all sides. I learned to sear the meat first from all those cooking shows I watch. On one of them they regularly joke that “the flavor is in the brown” and it does indeed make a difference to the finished product. I sear each side of the roast well so it is very dark brown, which only takes a few minutes with a very hot pan.
After searing I put the roast into a roasting pan, add some seasonings, a cup of water, and cover it tightly with foil. I put it in an oven set on 325 degrees for about 4 hours. If I want to divide the meat after roasting and do half in barbecue sauce and half in Mexican, I only season the meat with salt and pepper before roasting. But I had decided to make it all Mexican flavored this week, so I sprinkled a liberal amount of spices on the meat, added some water and covered it tightly with foil.
After four hours I removed the meat from the oven and let it sit about 30 minutes to cool down a bit. Then I set the roast on a large platter and with two forks I pulled it apart and put it into my slow cooker pan. I remove any fatty bits that remain or any bones if present and toss them in the garbage.
My slow cooker is my favorite cooking tool in my kitchen. We received our first one as a wedding gift 35 years ago and I used it until last year when I decided the finish was just too far gone to continue. I was thrilled to find an almost exact replacement on Amazon. Same brand and size, they just use slightly thinner metal now and a different style of lid. This is a rectangular pot that sits on a base for use as a kind of crock pot.
But the ideal feature of my slow cooker is that you can remove that pot and use it on the stove. It is also oven safe. So I can start something frying on the stove, get it all mixed, and remove it to the base and let it simmer or bubble for hours. Or just toss it in the oven to finish it off! I wish there were more versions on the market of this style of system in different sizes! I showed you my slow cooker in a picture in a post on Rice Krispies Treats Pops.
After cleaning and pulling the pork roast into tender strings and putting it into the slow cooker, I added spices and a can of tomato sauce and let it simmer for about an hour on the stove. I could have put it on the base but I was too lazy that night to pull it out of the cupboard. One of those nights.
When the pulled pork was done I made a pot of lime cilantro rice, diced up some roma tomatoes and green onions and we had our burritos in a bowl for dinner. I like eating it this way when I don’t have tortillas on hand or want to cut some carbs out of my diet. The rice is plenty filling, no tortilla is needed! I just drizzle a little of my favorite salsa on it all and I enjoy! You could add some black beans, jalapeno slices, sour cream, avocado wedges, or grated cheddar to the dish. I skipped them this time, but a few nights later loaded the burrito bowls with all of those ingredients! It just depends on your mood, serve with whatever hits your fancy.
Mexican Pulled Pork
3-4 pound pork shoulder or butt roast
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
15 ounce can tomato sauce (or pureed tomatoes)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Pinches of red pepper
Salt and pepper all sides of roast liberally, then sear in a hot frying pan until nice and caramelized.
Place in roaster and add rest of spices to the top of the roast. Cover tightly with foil and put into a 325 degree oven for four hours. Check after 3 hours and add an inch of water if the bottom has dried.
Remove from pan onto a large platter and use two forks to pull it into strands. Discard any fat or bone. Put into a slow cooker and add the juices from the roasting pan, and the sauce ingredients. Stir and simmer for one hour at low.
Serve as desired. May be frozen in portions for quick thawing and use.
Lime Cilantro Rice
2 cups long grain rice (not Minute)
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
Put the rice, water and salt into a good sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to the lowest setting and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.