Salsa Verde Braised Pork

Because nothing says “snow day” like a Mexican-style pork roast bubbling away all day on the stove, here is our recipe for some of the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth shredded pork you’ve ever tasted. First we braise it for fork-tenderness, than we blast it in the oven for more flavor, before returning it to its reduced cooking liquid. Try it with tortillas, or on its own, right out of the bowl.

We make our own salsa verde, which makes the flavor of this dish considerably brighter…but if you’re pressed for time, you can make due by using a 15 ounce bottle of the prepackaged stuff. It just won’t be as good.

Salsa Verde Braised Pork
Adapted from a recipe in Sunset

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder (butt)
  • 2 cups salsa verde, plus more for serving (recipe follows)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups reduced-salt chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • Salt, to taste.

Method:

Combine meat, salsa verde, onion, chicken broth, cumin, coriander, and oregano in large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for three hours. When meat is tender, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using two spatulas, transfer meat to cookie sheet, and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more. In the meantime, bring cooking liquid to a boil and reduce, about 10 minutes. With two forks, shred pork into large pieces, and return to pot. Add cilantro and salt, to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl, and serve with more chopped cilantro, and additional salsa verde.

Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

  • 5 or 6 chopped, peeled tomatillos
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water (plus more to adjust consistency)
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

Combine first five ingredients in food processor, and pulse until nearly smooth. Pour into medium bowl, and add water, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Mix well. If sauce is too “tight,” add more water until salsa is very saucy. Cover and chill for at least two hours, up to three days, before using.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

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