Braised pork with chiles by guest blogger--Lynsey Burgess (with recipe!)
My family bought a half hog from Our perfect Farm this December, and we’ve been working our way through the different cuts with a variety of new pork recipes every week. One of the first recipes I had to make was Samin Nosrat’s braised pork with chiles (from Michael Pollan’s Netflix series, Cooked).
Any large braising cut would work well here – pork shoulder/butt, I’ve even done it with pork sirloin. This recipe is always a favorite of the tiny humans living in my house, but making it with heritage pork, which is fattier than what I buy at the grocery store, came with the added bonus of pork fat for beans to accompany the braised pork.
Since I’m usually trying to entertain those tiny humans while also making dinner, I love that this is a “put it in the oven and (mostly) forget about it” recipe, and I don’t have to deal with soaking the chiles or anything else particularly fussy. I’ve even made this the day before and then reheated it in a low oven and it’s just as delicious. The dried chiles don’t add much heat to this, so it’s good for the spice averse.
Nosrat suggests that this recipe can be sliced and served as an entrée or shredded for tacos – we always use it for tacos or taco bowls. Nosrat’s recipe calls for a four-pound roast to serve to serve 8, but we find that halving the recipe is plenty for taco night for my family of four with several days of taco bowls for lunch with the leftovers.
I soak dry beans overnight (about a cup), the same time as I salt the pork. The next day, when it’s time to start the pork, I drain the beans and then pour off the grease from searing the pork into the pot with the beans (a couple tablespoons is plenty – if you have more than that, dispose of it another way). To cook the beans, along with the pork fat I add a couple extra chiles (you’ll likely have some leftover from the braised pork recipe), the ends of the onions that go into the braise, some smashed garlic and bay leaves, then either add a smoked ham hock and cover the beans with two inches of water, or use stock made from a smoked chicken or turkey. The beans can go into the oven at the same temperature and for the same duration as the pork.
We like to contrast the fatty, rich braise with pickled carrots and/or onions, avocado, the baked beans, and brown rice tossed with a cilantro-jalapeno vinaigrette. To make the vinaigrette, blend a whole bunch of cilantro (with the stems!), a jalapeno (seeded or not), a quarter of a red onion, about a quarter cup of red wine vinegar (or lime juice), a couple tablespoons oil, and enough water to thin it out. Season with more salt than you think you need. You’ll probably have more vinaigrette than you need, but it freezes well, or drizzle leftovers over chicken or fish, or use as salad dressing.