19 November, 2013 0 comments Leave a comment

The 'Out of Ideas' Dinner

Okay. You’re out of ideas. It’s a weekday and that extra bunch of carrots isn’t going to turn itself into a complete meal. However, you have a pork shoulder roast or a pork butt, a 14-oz can of tomatoes (chunks, puréed, whatever), The Kitchen Imp’s Chipotle Chocolate Rub, so you’re set. Just pick up an avocado, some corn tortillas, and a head of lettuce on the way home. Everybody who likes meat will love this. It’s full-flavored enough for the spice lovers and not too hot for the rest.

This started as a Sunday dinner some years ago and was an immediate hit. It satiates Midwestern hubby and bouncing littleuns. And remember, a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old came up with the name, okay?

Pork in a Bowl Rock 'N Roll

2–3 lb pork shoulder roast or pork butt
2–3 Tbsp Chipotle Chocolate Rub
14-oz can tomatoes or 2 cups fresh tomatoes


Trim any excess fat from the pork, and then rub the pork all over with the Chipotle Chocolate Rub. Place in the crock pot or a tightly sealed Dutch oven with the tomatoes and 1.5 - 2 cups water. Put your crock pot on the appropriate time for the number of hours til you’d like to eat. Mine is wonky, so I just put it on for what it tells me is 10 hours, low heat, knowing that it’ll be ready in 4.  (Maybe I don’t recommend bargain shopping for crockpots.) This recipe is very forgiving, time-wise. Cook it for 2 hours or 8 hours; it’ll be delicious either way. If you are cooking this in a Dutch oven, cook it for at least 2.5 hours, adding water as needed and turning the pork every half hour.

Serve with corn tortillas, sliced avocado (or guacamole), pico de gallo, and sour cream or shredded cheese. Have a green salad dressed with citrus vinaigrette to act as a tart counterpoint to the juicy, rich pork.

Citrus Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp good olive oil
1½ Tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
1½ Tbsp of fresh-squeezed orange juice or half and half lemon and orange
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a whisk and a bowl that holds at least 4 cups (you want to beat the mixture vigorously), put the juices and vinegar in the bowl. Add a little less than a half teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper. Drizzle the oil into the vinegar/juice mixture, beating constantly. If you beat constantly and enthusiastically, the dressing should emulsify (i.e. become a mixed dressing rather than oil and vinegar that remain separate). Add more salt and pepper to taste. 

This dressing works well on a simple green salad, but feel free to add shredded carrots and julienned jicama, as well.

Note:  The meat you choose makes a huge difference – to the taste, to the people who raise and slaughter the pigs, to the earth on which the pigs are grown, to the pigs themselves. I recommend buying your pork from a source you know and trust. I get mine from the lovely people at Skagit River Ranch. I’ve bought meat from them for years and know the regard in which they hold their land, their animals, their employees, and their customers. Great folks, fantastic meats.

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