Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Shoulder - Hatch Chile Fest Continues

Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Shoulder Makes An Easy Addition to Hatch Chile Fest and Opens Low Carb Possibilities!

Green Chili made with Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Shoulder and
a slowly simmered Hatch green chile broth. I'm an
equal opportunity chili lover! Ha!
Some people in New Mexico claim the main question on everyone’s mind is, “Green or Red?”

They don’t care about anything else. They just want to know if you belong to the Green Tribe or the Red Tribe. And by tribe, I mean, are you someone who eats your food with a hearty slather of green chili or do your enchiladas glow redder than Rudolph’s nose.

Well, since we pinched green chili from New Mexico anyway, that same argument exists here in Texas, too. But it gets a little more complicated with us Texans. We also want to know if you want to ditch both green and red in favor of Tex-Mex Chili Gravy. Oh my…chili gravy…

For those of you who might be unaware, there are two kinds of chili gravy in Tex-Mex cooking. Logic will tell you, “Heck fire. Chili gravy is the broth left over after you’re done pickin’ all the car-nayyyy outta the
Low carb Cheese Enchiladas made with Chili Red -
Turkey Style. This is the "strained chili gravy" variety
like El Fenix makes in Dallas! Yeeehaw! Remind me again,
we're on a diet, right?
chili!” And while that is true, strictly speaking…it’s not the strict Tex-Mex definition of chili gravy. (Oh and let me just say, some of the most delicious cheese enchiladas I ever ate were served with a rich slather of that kind of chili gravy – from the old El Fenix restaurant in Dallas, Texas, during their $3.99 Wednesday Cheese Enchilada nights! Nothin’ fancy, just strained gravy off of chili red that gets thickened in some magical method.)

But the other kind of chili gravy, well see, that kind of chili gravy is made by grinding up a secret blend of dried chiles, then making a true roux-based gravy out of it and simmering it till it’s thick and delicious! You also serve that over cheese enchiladas and sometimes even tamales. Very awesome too!

I’ve taken you on this scenic tour of green v. red v. chili gravy for a reason. I have been known to make a point or two. Regardless of your chile persuasion, we’re celebrating Hatch green chile season right now. And the following recipe for Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Shoulder is a foundation recipe that makes Tex-Mex during ANY season, quick and easy.

Making food in batches, greatly eliminates cooking stress!
By cooking in batches Fluffy Chix Cook complex Tex-Mex recipes, quickly and with ease! There ya go!

Package the leftovers in the freezer and you have great base recipes ready to springboard into more complex dishes with as much ease as opening a can of Ortega Enchilada Sauce (red btw, if it can be called enchilada sauce). These recipes become so easy, they easily breeze in to make the Weeknight Line-up to everyone’s amazement, accolades and relief!

Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Shoulder
Yield:   3 pounds pulled pork, fat and lean combined
Serving Size:   14, 1/2 cup servings (about 3.5 ounces cooked per person)
Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
Roasting Time:  4-5 Hours
Start to Finish Time: 4 ½ - 5 ½ Hours
Difficulty:  Must be allowed to use sharp objects. Knowledge of sharp knives helpful.

Enjoy Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Shoulder on its own as the focal point of the meal. But, this roast is also a terrific addition to green chili, enchiladas, tacos, chile rellenos and delicious low carb Tex-Mex creations of all kinds.

Tex-Mex Pulled Pork with its magic elixir - the roast broth
or pan juices! Moist and delicious!
5 ½ pounds pork shoulder -- 8.5 pounds whole pork shoulder, bone-in, split
½ teaspoon thyme, dried -- or 4-6 sprigs fresh
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces  onion -- cleaned & quartered
4 cloves  garlic -- peeled
¼ cup  cilantro leaves, whole -- coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds -- toasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper -- freshly ground

Wash and dry meat. Split whole pork shoulder into 2 main portions. One portion has the large muscle and fat cap and will be the larger cut at around 5.5lbs, boneless. The second portion will be used in a second pork shoulder recipe and will be used for that, bone-in raw weight will be approximately 3 lbs. This recipe only applies to the 5.5 pound boneless portion. Reserve the smaller bone-in side of the shoulder cut for later use.

Score heavy fat-cap side of boneless pork shoulder in about 1 inch wide diamond pattern. The score should go completely through the fat and stop at the surface of the meat. Rub kosher salt onto the meat and in between the scored diamond pattern.

Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add pork roast, fat side down and allow to brown.

When browned on fat side, turn roast to brown all other sides. Remove pan from heat and transfer roast to large roasting pan or Dutch oven with a lid.

While roast is browning, peel onion and garlic. Quarter onion and place garlic, onion, fresh thyme sprigs and cilantro in bottom of heavy pan - large enough to cook the roast. There will be a substantial amount of liquid and rendered fat that will cook out of the roast so be sure to leave enough room in the pan! I use a Dutch oven with a lid for convenience, but a large roasting pan with aluminum foil to seal the top will work as well.

Pour coriander seeds into a small, dry sauté pan. Toast seeds over medium high heat until you begin to smell their fragrance. Shake the pan as they toast to prevent burning. Pour seeds into a coffee grinder and grind the seeds to a powder. Fluffy Chix make extra to have on hand. You need about 1 teaspoon of ground coriander.

Season all sides of the roast with cumin, ground coriander, granulated garlic and black pepper. (Yes, there are two kinds of garlic in this recipe!) Cover roasting pan or Dutch oven with lid, or seal top of pan lightly using aluminum foil. Place in oven at 350°. Cook for 3-4 hours (about 45 minutes per pound at 350°) or until the fork test shows it's done. (Fork Test: Stick a two-prong fork into the largest muscle of the roast and twist. If the fork twists easily and allows you to break into the pork, it's done. If the fork doesn't twist with easy, cover the pork and return to cooking.)

You may even flip the pork in the pan, top side down to allow the juices to add moisture to the top of the roast. Cook till fork tender.
When pork is tender, remove from oven and allow to rest in the juice until it can easily be handled. Keep the cover on so it doesn't dry out! (About 30 minutes.) Remove meat to a cutting board or platter and "pull" the pork into long strips. Discard any internal, fat that appears to feel like rubber bands. Mix the exterior browned fat into the roast for extra moisture. You'll never know it's there!

Reserve pan juices for other recipes that include green chili, soups, stews and casseroles. The pan juices can be defatted and frozen for later use. Since Fluffy Chix generally make the pork and green chili on the same day, we simply pour the pan juices right into the pan of simmering green chili broth and skip the de-fatting step altogether!

To defat pan juice, chill pan juices until fat skin forms over the top of the liquid. Carefully lift that fat piece off in one piece and the resulting liquid is considered defatted. Save the fat for other uses. Use the reserved fat in sauces, barbeque sauces, roux, and with vegetables or anything that needs added fat.

Pork fat is largely comprised of monounsaturated fatty acids! It freezes great and add deep flavor to any dish.

Nutritional Information:
Per Serving: 339 Calories; 26g Fat; 23g Protein; 1.36g Carbohydrate; .22g Dietary Fiber; 95mg Cholesterol; 222mg Sodium, 1.14g Net Carbs per 3 ½ ounce serving.

Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 3 Fat.

Fluffy Chix Cook green chili on the same day they cook Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Roast! It's so easy to make these two dishes side by side! I usually put most of the pork roast along with the pan juices right into the chili stock after it's done! While the pork is roasting, the chile broth is cooking!

Simmering Hatch green chili broth, waiting for the addition
of the Tex-Mex Pulled Pork Shoulder and pan juices!
We'll keep out a serving or two of pulled pork per person to use in other dishes and add the rest of the shredded roast to the green chili stock. We'll talk about the Green Chili in another recipe!

Also, unless you plan on eating pork for a long time or are feeding a crowd, I really like to break a whole pork butt into two sections and season each section a little differently. This basic Tex-Mex sofrito-style shoulder works great for any dish that you add it to.

It's a good all-around basic recipe.

Marinate the second half of the pork butt in this easy
Criolla Marinade!
I like to highly season or marinate the other half for more exciting flavor combinations that are more "stand-alone" style dishes like the Criolla Marinated Pulled Pork.

Criolla Marinated Pulled Pork make street tacos that are just the bomb. (I'll give you the Criolla recipe next!)

Fluffy Chix Low Carb Soy Free Tortillas make street tacos low carb street legal. All of the fun, none on the buns! Seriously, the tortillas are less than 1 gram of net carbs per tortilla. Who needs cardboard storebought Tortillas when these come together so quickly?!

Criolla Marinade comes together quickly and tastes so
fresh and addictive!
Here's the Criolla Marinade. Take my word for it! It tastes great as a marinade, but also tastes outstanding as a salsa with pork rinds or low carb tortilla chips!

In addition to becoming a basic answer to Tex-Mex vittles, don't overule Tex-Mex Pork Shoulder for use in Fluffy Chix Un-barbequed Pulled Pork! You choose whether you want to cook it "semi-fast" or slow!

Watch for sales on pork shoulder or pork butt (same cut with a different name). Use the same method to cook whole fresh picnic cuts which are the lower portion of the same cut!

Full Recipe – 14 servings: $7.76
Single Serving - 3.5oz per Serving, cooked: $0.56 ea.

Serving Ideas:Serve Tex-Mex Pulled Pork as the meat filling for tacos, enchiladas, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), tostadas, casseroles, soups and stews.

Combine meat with green chile base for delicious Green Chili Pulled Pork.

Combine meat with Tomatillo Sauce and Monterrey Jack Cheese for an easy Tex-Mex casserole that tastes awesome over cabbage noodles, roasted or smashed cauliflower, scrambled eggs, omelets and more!

Green Enchiladas and Chile Rellenos war for supremacy with Pork Pasole!


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