So…I don’t have photos of these recipes but I hopefully will soon. Actually, I do have photos…I just can’t get to them. I switched phones recently and all my pictures are in this sort of limbo state. They aren’t great pictures, so don’t get your hopes up, (if you know me well I suppose you already knew this…), but I know pictures on a food blog are kinda essential so I’ll get them up as soon as I can.
I actually have an issue with food blog pictures, to tell you the truth. There are food blogs out there that have incredible photography on them, absolutely beautiful, so maybe this stems from a bit of jealousy that those people actually have the time to stage so many photos. But, I mean, do you really need a picture for Everything? Here’s a picture of me chopping garlic…Here’s a picture of the garlic skins…Here’s a picture of the garlic in the pan… Give me a break. Are you a food writer or food photographer? Hopefully you can take from my blog that the pictures may not be awesome but that only means I was too focused on getting the flavors right to take multiple photos of every possible step. But, I suppose if I want to keep at this food blogging thing I should do it the ‘right’ way. Which I Never was any good at.
These recipes are simple and delicious. We cook pork shoulder a lot in my house, and usually do it this kinda Tex-Mex/Southern Way that we call Pickin’ Pork. I’ve also done a Deconstructed BBQ Pork Shoulder in the summertime and a Milk Braised Pork Shoulder in the cooler months that are both delicious as well. But this would be the first time I did one with an Asian flair. It was wonderful! I actually set out to make a sticky-sweet, glazed pork shoulder and never got there, but this did not disappoint. I know I could have thickened the liquid with some cornstarch and added more sugar in the end to get it sticky and sweeter but I was so content with what I ended up with, I didn’t want to mess with it. And the sesame noodles aren’t anything you haven’t seen before, but they are a ton healthier than the average recipe you’d find with white pasta and a ton of canola oil. These noodles certainly hit the spot with my family and we will definitely be making this meal again!!
*Five Spice Braised Pork Shoulder
-Rub a 5 lb. bone-in pork shoulder with the following rub:
–1/3 cup kosher salt
–1/3 cup light brown sugar
–1/2 rounded tsp cloves, ground (or roughly 3/4 tsp pre-ground)
–1/2 tsp ground ginger
–1 tsp ground cinnamon
–1 tsp ground allspice
–1/2 tsp white pepper
-Massage this well into your pork shoulder on all sides.
-Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 days for optimal results
-When you’re ready to cook, let your seasoned pork come up to room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to cooking.
-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
-Preheat a dutch oven or large, high sided pot/skillet on high.
-Sear your pork on all sides until well browned and crispy. Remove and set aside.
-Pour a 15 ounce can of cola (NO DIET PLEASE!!!) into the pan and scrape the bits from the bottom. Fill the can with apple cider vinegar and add that as well. Toss in a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root. Stir this well and once there are no more bits stuck on the bottom of the pan, place your pork back in and bring everything up to a boil.
-Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 300 degrees for another 2 hours.
-While your pork is cooking, prepare your noodles (recipe below)
-After 2 hours, the meat should be falling apart and the bone should be noticeably loose. Carefully remove the meat and set aside on a platter.
-Bring the liquid in the pan to a rolling boil, season with 2 more TB of light brown sugar and reduce the liquid by at least half. Taste to check seasoning. Remove ginger and add the meat back in. Break it apart (don’t finely shred!) to allow the juice to get into as much of the meat as possible.
*Whole Wheat Sesame Noodles
-Boil 8 ounces of whole wheat spaghetti in salted water til al dente, drain and toss warm with the following sauce in a large bowl:
–1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
–1/4 cup soy sauce
–2 TB toasted sesame oil
–2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane right into the bowl (this ends up making a sort-of paste out of the garlic with very little effort. Simply mince if you don’t have a microplane)
–1 TB light brown sugar
–1 TB sesame seeds (I used white but black would be fine)
–good squirt Asian hot sauce or sprinkling of red pepper flakes (optional)
-Whisk this well
-After tossing with the warm pasta, add the following:
–3 scallions, diced (both white and green parts)
–12 ounces steamed broccoli, cut up into bite-size pieces (I used frozen that I thawed a bit in the microwave)
–10 ounces shredded raw carrots (I used a bag of pre-shredded that I happened to have on hand)
-Toss to combine. Can be eaten hot, at room temperature or cold.
-Before serving, toss with 1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (the cilantro gets bitter if you toss it too far in advance before serving, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on having leftovers as well.)