Well it was my birthday back on the 2nd of March [last Wednesday] and while I was going to put in a recipe for my Crackle Top PB Cookies, I am going to put those on the back burner right now and post up my birthday menu from this past weekend.
For my birthday menu I had some friends over and made a really tasty pulled pork, with a Nearly Nicoise Salad, some Pork Dumplings [see Potsticker Recipe].
So here is my recipe for Pulled Pork.
First is choosing the perfect hunk of meat, I use a nice Shoulder or butt with skin intact. I also head to my favourite butcher who knows the best cuts of meat. You will want to avoid loins or lean meats as it will not allow for shredding when it is all done. And aim for about 1/2lb of meat per person to insure there is enough.
For this I used a 6lb Pork Shoulder with skin on.
1c brown sugar
cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
Now the how to...
Take that lovely piece of meat, and pat it completely dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin on a diagonal [making a diamond pattern].
In a separate bowl [or using a ziplock bag] mix together the dry spices to create a spicy and sweet BBQ rub. The base is brown sugar, taste after you mix it all together testing for the right spice mixture. I use very little salt [about 2T and 4T of fresh cracked pepper].
Using about half the spice mix, rub it into the pork, massaging the spice into the meat. Stick this into your slow cooker skin side down and turn it on high with about 1/4c of water to keep from sticking. Cover and let cook for the next 2 hours.
While this is happening I mix up my wet sauce, into a pot I drop the remaining dry rub, about 1/2c ketchup, 1/4c white vinegar, 2T hot sauce [or more depending on personal taste], 4T liquid honey, and about 2T or butter [which gives the sauce a glossy finish]. I bring this mixture to a nice boil, adding any liquid from the slowcooker to the sauce to thin it out and help develop its flavour.
At 2 hour mark I add in half of my wet sauce to the slow cooker, mixing everything together, leave it on low for the next 12-24 hours. after all the time, I will pull apart the pork shredding it with two forks. pulling out any bones and the fatty skin [while eatable, I personally pull it out]. at this point I will also add in the rest of the sauce and stir it in to combine.
Serve it on a kaiser roll or bun of choice.... its delicious!
Nearly Nicoise Salad
1 can Chick peas, drained
1 med Cucumber, diced
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
3 Avocadoes, diced
1 Red Pepper, diced
½ Green Pepper, diced
2 Carrots, shredded
2 c Corn Kernels
6 Eggs, hard boiled and diced
Juice of 3 Lemons [approximately ¼ c]
1/3 head of fresh Dill, finely chopped
½ c Olive Oil
½ hoof crushed Garlic
Toss together the vegetables in a large salad bowl [I like to use my hands to keep the avocado from becoming mushy]. In a separate bowl or measuring cup whisk together lemon juice, zest, dill, pepper and garlic. While mixing, pour oil in a steady stream using approximately ½ c of olive oil [I use extra virgin for a smoother and lighter taste]. You want to have the dressing come together to create a creamy looking emulsion. Pour dressing over salad and toss once more to ensure to incorporate dressing throughout the layers.
Some optional ideas;
To make it closer to an actual Nicoise salad, add in black olives, pitted and halved along with 1 can tuna, drained.
Can use other herbs such as Parsley, Coriander or Chives for different flavour combinations.