We are not wealthy enough to have a private butcher, but the best we can do is purchase our meat from our local, smaller grocer who knows exactly where these wonderful pigs have been grown and what they have eaten, and under what conditions. On special holidays, we opt for the big, black and fabulous Berkshire breed, even though it can cost twice as much. But you can taste, and more importantly, feel that you have eaten something decently bred, fed and cared for. This recipe calls for a somewhat fatty pork shoulder, so although most people wouldn’t do this, I trim some of the fat as I am cubing it to pre-sear before it goes into the slow Cooker for 6 hours. I also toss the onions in the pan for a minute after the pork has seared. May as well bring along a little more of that fat and olive oil into the cooker with the onions!
Oh…as Meier will agree, you have to make a big mess sometimes when you cook, just so you can tell you are doing something important. Or clean up as you go… Either way!
We eat this deliciously green-mild (or fire it up with more jalapeno, it depends on you) as a stew with honey-corn muffins from Little Lago, with hot fresh rice (which always makes your home smell amazing), and with a little cotija cheese, scrambled eggs in warm rolled tortillas in the morning.
The most difficult part of making this dish is keeping your paws out of the pot when it finishes, grabbing little chunks to “sample” – you may need to make a double recipe, at least in my case.
For the Bigger idea of what we are trying to do here, all of the smells and flavors are strong, warm and pretty recognizable; we want Maribeth to begin building the lost vocabulary of smells and tastes as she recovers. Some of these are coming, but also some of the varieties of textures and ingredients.