I catered my first party a few weeks ago, though I am still awaiting payment from my client. Apparently my husband thinks he can get my services for free. Perhaps next time I will need to draft up some sort of a contract ahead of time.
Several weeks ago John enthusiastically offered to host the annual Christmas lunch they do every year at his company. I was actually quite enthusiastic about it as well, I was excited to come up with a menu and cook for a large group (30 people) - because I have never done that before. Of course if you would look at our typical Sunday night dinners, one would think I was cooking for 30 people every week.
We wanted to do something fun and relatively easy. We decided on pulled pork tacos because they are amazing, you can make them the day before, and we live in Texas and we love tacos and pulled pork. Our menu was complete with Texas Caviar and a 7-layer salad, both of which I will be posting later. Oh and lots of Christmas cookies.
For blogging purposes I will cut down the serving size to a normal number of people (6-8), but keep in mind this is a great party food when you are having a large number of guests (for 30 people I got 12lbs of pork shoulder)
- 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder
- olive oil
- 1 large jar salsa (or about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 cups beef broth
- Corn and flour tortillas
- Avocado slices
- Sour cream
- Sliced tomatoes
- Caramelized onions
- Cheese - cheddar or feta are great options
These are so easy you are not going to believe it. I still can hardly believe it as I'm writing this. Unwrap the boneless pork shoulder and pat dry. I had the butcher cut the meat into smaller pieces (about 4x4 inches I would say) - but you can easily do this yourself. Salt and Pepper the meat. Heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in a large dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the pork shoulder, browning each side.
Mix the beef broth, cumin, cocoa, and brown sugar in a separate bowl. When all the sides of the pork are browned, add the broth mixture to the meat. Add more broth or water if necessary - the pork should be nearly covered. Pour in a jar of salsa. I use Pace Medium because I truly believe it is the best salsa out there. And I have tried every single one of them.
Mix things around if you want, or don't. The beauty of this pulled pork is that it turns out delicious no matter what you do to it. Turn the heat up to high to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 3 to 4 hours. Just cover the pot and walk away. FYI, you could also place it in the oven at 325 for 2 hours. I prefer this recipe stove-top, but pork shoulder is not very temperature-sensitive and will turn out wonderful regardless. So, do whatever floats your boat.
After 3 hours (or 2 depending on your method), check the pork. It should shred very easily with a fork. If it does not, just cook for another 30 minutes or so longer.
When the meat is done, remove it to a plate to shred. Oh boy. Grab a few pieces with your fingers and eat it.
Strain the braising liquid from the pot to remove any fat that has surfaced, and return the liquid to the stovetop. Turn the heat up to med-high, and bring to a low boil until the sauce has thickened. Mix the sauce with the shredded meat.
Yes, it is in a tupperware container. I was making this the night before, and I did not feel the need to be all fancy and put it in a nice serving dish just for the purpose of this blog. Sorry guys.
Now, the great thing about this pork is its versatility. We served it on corn and flour tortillas with caramelized onions, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, and salsa as toppings. You could also add some barbecue sauce and serve it on hamburger buns, or add it to BBQ Chicken Pizza
, of course then it would be BBQ pulled pork pizza. But how delicious does that sound?
Another great thing about this pork is that it freezes nicely. We froze the minimal leftovers we had from the party, and we have big aspirations for it. Heck, we might even add it to lasagna. It will depend on how crazy we want to get. Have fun!
Labels: I'm Cheap, I'm Throwing a Dinner Party, Mexican, Pork