I found this recipe in a roundup of NY Times “Minimalist” recipes. I cooked the pork a bit longer than the recommended 3 hours, and it was flavorful and tender, as expected from a cut of meat that cooks for hours over a low heat.
I served the pork over a roasted garlic and butter bean mash and raw cabbage slaw. The recipe made enough for my boyfriend and I have dinner plus a week’s worth of lunches for me.
The butter bean mash wasn’t much of a hit (hence no recipe), but the pork was a winner. Next time I’ll be trying a different side dish.
1 pork shoulder, 4 to 7 pounds (or use fresh ham)
4 or more cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil as needed
1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar
Lime wedges for serving.
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, salt and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. (Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle.) Blend in the vinegar.
2. Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours), turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary.
3. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.
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