Friday, January 14, 2011

Dinner for a lazy snow day

As I mentioned earlier, we had a huge snowstorm this week (and I heard a rumor that 49 of the 50 states have some snow- I assume Hawaii would be the 50th? Or do they get snow on the mountain tops? No idea. Interesting tidbit, regardless.)

Here's how our house looked on Wednesday night, just before we ate the following meal
Isn't that awesome? I think I'm the only adult in the whole world who loves snow this much, but I'm just awestruck by how gorgeous my neighborhood looks right now. I drive slowly every morning not because I'm worried I'll fishtail, but because I'm loving looking at everything.

Anyway. So, snow. I could have cooked all day long, being home in a blizzard, but technically I was working from home, and I already set aside time to make that waffle pudding I posted about yesterday, so I couldn't really dedicate a lot of time for dinner. At the same time, I was home, I planned to skip my knit night, so I was looking forward to a nice, hot, non-leftover dinner. And in rearranging the upstairs freezer to fit 2 loaves of bread, I discovered a 3lb pork loin.

3lb pork loin.... not a lot of hands-on time.... I'd say that means pulled pork!

Have you done pulled pork before? You should. It's so easy, I couldn't believe how easy and delicious it was the first time I did it.

"Vietnamese" pulled pork
adapted from Closet Cooking

Vietnamese "BBQ" sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
2-3T lime juice
2 chipotles in adobo, left whole (because why not? chipotles are awesome)*

Place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, and cook until it melts and turns caramel-colored (I just left it alone until it melted, no stirring). Carefully add in the water (the water will boil once it hits the hot sugar, so add slowly) and stir until the sugar/caramel dissolves. Add in the remaining ingredients and cook until reduced, about 8 minutes.

3lb pork loin, trimmed of fat

Place the pork in your crock pot. Pour the bbq sauce over the pork. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (I turned the pork over every 30-45 minutes, so that it was all covered in the sauce). Shred the pork with 2 forks, a fork and some tongs, or spatulas, whatever. Stir it around in the sauce in the crockpot, and then serve.

*Chipotles: the original recipe called for a birds-eye chili. I don't know what that is, and I had chipotles in adobo in the fridge. I wanted to leave the chipotle whole so the spice could infuse into the sauce evenly (and I was too lazy to chop it). I transferred the whole chipotles to the crockpot at that step, figuring I would always chop it up later. But it ended up being a nice amount of spice- just a little, just enough so you know it's there. You can certainly increase the chilis (or use different ones) if you want it spicier, or chop the chili up in the beginning for the sauce.

The description of this recipe can only make it seem harder, that's how ridiculously simple it was. Cook sauce, dump on pork, turn crock pot on. That's it! Walk away! Go watch tv, or work, or play in the snow.

The original recipe made this pork to put on banh mi sandwiches, but since it was a blizzard and we're hard-core northern New Englanders, we refuse to run to the store in a panic before a storm. Which meant that we didn't have much in the way of veggies or bread. But whatever, Clint made a naan pulled pork sandwich (2 pieces of naan leftover from Monday, with pulled pork in the middle). I had leftover cornbread and refried beans and some pickles with mine. And you know what? It was delicious.

Pulled pork is now my go-to recipe when we need some meat for dinner. It's so easy (you could also just use a bottle of bbq sauce, making the hardest part of the whole recipe getting the pork out of its package) but so tasty.

Last night I used some of the leftovers in a burrito... and I plan to do the same tonight. That recipe will come soon!

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