Adapted from David Lebovitz’s blog Living The Sweet Life In Paris, where it was adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
- 4-5-pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
- Juice of one orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly-sliced
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Aggressively season chunks of pork with salt.
3. Heat the oil in a roasting pan set on the stovetop (I used a Dutch Oven, but use anything that can go from the stove to the oven). Cook the pieces of pork in a single layer until very browned on each side. To avoid overcrowding, I cooked my pork in two batches. I’m a touch compulsive when browning meat and to ensure everything was perfectly browned it took me over half an hour. You don’t have to be as picky as me, but don’t rush this process. You want your meat browned on all sides.
4. Once all the pork is browned, remove them from the pot, and blot away any excess grease and fat with a paper towel, then pour in the juice of one orange and a little less than a cup of water, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged utensil to release all the caramelized brown bits.
4. Stir in cinnamon, chile powders, bay leaves, cumin, and garlic.
5. Add the pork back to the pan and add enough water so the pork pieces are 2/3rd’s submerged in liquid.
7. Braise in the oven uncovered for 2½ to 3½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter. You should plan on letting your pork cook for up to 3½ hours, but it might take less. My pork was beginning to fall apart at 2 hours and change and by 3 hours it was so tender and fell apart by simply lifting a piece out of the pan, and almost all of the liquid had evaporated.
8. Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces, discarding any obvious big chunks of fat if you wish. You can shred the pork by using two forks, or your hands.
9. The original recipe instructed me to return the pork to the oven and continue cooking the shreds until they developed a deeper, darker color and became even crispier. I found the pork to be perfect. It was tender and moist, yet had plenty of caramelized, crunchy bits so I decided to not cook it further. Use your judgment and cook longer if you like crispier, or serve as is. Whatever floats your boat.
This was the only disappointing part of the meal. I won’t bother posting the recipe. It wasn’t that bad, but it just wasn’t very good. I’ve had box mixes with more flavor. Can anyone recommend a good Spanish rice recipe?
I LOVE kitchen gadgets. I can’t say a tortilla press was incredibly high up on my list of must-have items, but when I used one and made amazing corn tortillas I couldn’t imagine my life without one. Making tortillas is so simple and cheap. All you need is maza flour, water, a little salt, tortilla press, and a way of cooking them. You can find a cast iron press and skillet on Amazon for less than $40 and a bag of the flour will set you back less than $5 and can be found at almost any supermarket. You can either buy a few packages of the lame, packaged tortillas at a store or you can invest the same amount of money in equipment and make your own at home.