Slow Cooker Chiapas-Style Mexican Pork
If I was stranded on a desert island and could only bring one cooking tool with me, it would be my slow cooker. (Don’t read too much into that sentence since if I was on a desert island, I could fashion a grill from native trees and rocks and probably an oven, too, if I was smart. What I am saying is how much I like my slower cooker. And yes, I know I’d have to have some sort of battery for it, but if the Professor can figure it out, so can I.)
Anyway, I my slow cooker rocks because it transforms tough (read: cheap and flavorful) cuts of meat into something tender and sublime. Even better, whatever you cook in slow cooker absorbs all of the flavors around it, meaning you can create some true masterpieces in 4-6 hours.
Slow Cooker Mexican Pork Recipe
I promise this recipe is easy. You’ll need about 15 minutes to prep, then dump everything into the slow cooker and come back later. It’s also really messy if you want it to be (or if you kids want it to be!)
You will need:
- 4-5 dried chilies (anchos and habaneros are my favorite)
- 1 2 pound pork shoulder (aka Boston butt or pork butt)
- Healthy amounts of garlic powder*, salt, pepper, basil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
* If using garlic powder offends you, make a garlic paste out of 8 or more cloves of garlic instead.
Fill a saucepan 3/4 of the way full and bring it to a boil. Add the dried chilies, turn off the heat, and cover. In 10 minutes, they will be soft.
While the chilies are rehydrating, score the pork with a knife by making 1/4 inch incisions across all sides of the pork. Rub salt, pepper, and garlic into the incisions. Don’t skip this step (Mrs. WellDone, I am looking at you on this one.)
When the chilies are done rehydrating, pour out all but a few tablespoons of the water the chilies were boiled in and remove the tops and (optionally) the seeds of the chilies.
Now you have a choice. How are you going to process the chilies. You can either put the chilies and their water into a food processor or you can leave them in them in the sauce pan and use an immersion (stick) blender to mix them up. (The stick blender is by far the messier, noisier, and more fun option.)
With that decided, put the onions, orange juice, wine, and oregano in with the chilies and use your food processor/stick blender to make a nice paste. You are looking for something with the thickness of ketchup. If it’s too thick, add a little more wine. If it is very runny, drain off some of the water. (Note: it’s better to be too runny than too thick.)
Finally, put the pork in the slow cooker, pour the chili paste on it and rub it into the incisions. Cover slow cooker and cook for 6 hours.
Serve with tortillas and green salsa. Enjoy!