Meat cuts like pork butt always call my name at the butcher counter because they are so darn cheap and so easy to prepare. Last week I had apples and pork on the brain, and it was also getting really chilly all of a sudden, so I hauled out (and scrubbed off) the slow cooker and got to work.
(A bum bottle, sadly. Worked fine as cooking liquid but wasn’t drinkable. Boo!)
I took the elastic waistband off the pork and trimmed off the bigger chunks of fat–this is a really fatty cut, so I also had to skim off fat from the cooking liquid at the end.
I patted the pork dry and seasoned it with salt and pepper, then seared it well on all sides and put it in the pot.
Along for the ride were a couple red and yellow onions.
I used a couple glugs of chicken broth and some of the cider for my liquid, and set the slow cooker on low for 7 hours. After six or so I came back and added in my apples, cut in quarters and cored.
At dinner time I pulled out the meat and apples and onions and drained the liquid into a gravy strainer to separate out some of the fat. I sort of messed up, mangling the cooked apples in with the onions, so instead of just mushing up the apples as sauce (which would have been great) I mixed the two together. That was fine but definitely diluted the apple flavor. I added a little cider vinegar to sharpen it up, and more salt and pepper.
I tried to get the extra fat off the meat, then I put it back in the pot with the liquid and pulled it apart with a couple forks.
We had the apple/onion sauce and chard on the side.
Three pounds of pork yielded a mountain of meat, and I have to admit it was sort of bland. I need to dissect how Chipotle makes their carnitas so flavorful. Ben took leftovers for two lunches, and we made flatbread pizzas with some more. I froze the rest for future use. For the flatbreads I drained the liquid off the meat and crisped it up in a pan, then topped garlic naan with the meat and some shredded cheese.
Once they were baked I put a little arugula salad on top.
I’m going to try cooking chicken legs–another extra-economical cut–tonight. Wish me luck! As long-time readers know, I loathe cooking chicken.