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Chipotle-Spiced Pulled Pork

Mary Anne here. This is another specialty divined by my better half, Michael, but getting the recipe out of him was akin to dicing and chopping a week’s worth of veggies: mind-numbingly tedious. But in the end, it was well worth the torture. Michael cooks the way most home-chefs can when they don’t blog about it – they don’t have to take copious notes, write down each ingredient, and take exact measurements. He simply tosses in a bit of this and a dollop of that and presto change-o, he whips up something amazing right off the cuff. Grrr. So for this recipe, I literally made him stand by my side for every painstaking measurement. “Shake out how much BBQ sauce feels right,” I commanded, before transferring the yield to a measuring cup. “Okay, now do the same thing with the wine.” The man’s wrist seems to have an automatic shut-off at 1 cup, as you’ll notice in the recipe list. Oh – and by the way – he forgot to mention (until the very last moment) that he NEVER buys pork with the bone in. My very own lazy-boy gets the butcher to remove it! Well, it was too late for my test run but my result was so spectacular (she said humbly), that I’m sticking with bone-in pork as it adds even more flavor to the finished product. We hope this brings you a little taste of summer during the depths of this frigid winter. If you can, make a double batch since this freezes really well. To serve, I suggest topping with sour cream or crème fraiche and shredded cheddar. I served these in roasted acorn squash halves, which was simply delicious and very healthful, but certainly the pork works wonderfully in sliders and sammies. For sandwiches, top the pork with our coleslaw and bread and butter pickles and call it lunch, dinner, or midnight snacking food. Yum!

Chipotle-Spiced Pulled Pork Serves 6, generously

Notes: You can use a 5-quart slow cooker for this and set it for 6½ hours, or do what I did, which is bake it in an ovenproof soup pot, with the lid on, for 4 hours. As with many soups and stews, this only gets better with time, so plan to make it the day before. To pull the pork, simply place it on a large cutting board. Trim the excess fat from the roast. The bone will literally fall out as you pull the pork, using 2 forks, tines facing down and working as “cross swords”. To serve in acorn squash “bowls:” Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the squash and pat dry. Cut vertically, from stem to pointed end. Scoop out the seeds and strings. (Reserve the seeds and roast as one would pumpkin seeds, if desired.) Place a ½ Tablespoon butter in each squash half and sprinkle each with about 1 Teaspoon of brown sugar. Roast on a cookie sheet for 1 hour until fork tender. Scoop hot pulled pork into the squash’s cavity. Ingredients: 3 ½ to 4 lb. pork shoulder, bone in – $3.83 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided – stock 1 medium Vidalia onion, diced – $0.79 1 cup carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped – $0.89 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped – $0.99 1 Teaspoon minced garlic – stock 1 cup BBQ sauce – $1.99 1 cup red cooking wine – stock 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar – stock 2 bay leaves – stock – stock 1 Teaspoon dried oregano – stock 2 Teaspoons kosher salt – stock ¾ Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – stock 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced fine (in the International section of your market) – $1.39 1 Tablespoon or to taste (it’s very spicy) adobo sauce – listed above 1 – 28 oz. can crushed or ground tomatoes – $1.00 (on sale) 1 – 15 oz. can tomato sauce – $1.00 (on sale) shredded cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, and sour cream for garnish – optional Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $11.88 Total Per Serving: $ 1.98 Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Over a medium flame, heat 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking an additional 5 minutes. 3. In a deep Dutch oven, large enough to accommodate the pork shoulder while deep enough for the liquid ingredients to cover the meat, combine the sautéed vegetables, oregano, bay leaves, BBQ sauce chipotle, adobo, all of the canned tomatoes, red wine, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. 4. Using the same pan that you sautéed the onion and veggies in, heat the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high flame. Sear the pork shoulder on all sides, until golden brown.This takes about 10 minutes total. 5. Immerse the pork shoulder in the sauce, to cover. Place a lid on the pot and bake in the preheated oven, undisturbed, for 4 hours, until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone. 6. Transfer the meat to a large cutting board, trim the fat and shred the roast with 2 forks as directed above. Discard any remaining fat and gristle. 7. Return the shredded meat to the pot and heat through on the stove. Serve hot with the optional garnishes.