Australia really is a lucky country. The sun is always shining, the people are always smiling and the food is a delicious melting pot of different cultures. Not a week goes by without sampling staples like pad see ew, chicken korma and of course sushi. Food trends seem to come, and never quite leave us. The Australian love affair with food is everlasting, and at the same time our passion for trying something new never seems to fade.
The newest trend seems to be Mexican food… and I mean real Mexican food. The type that doesn’t come from a DIY supermarket kit (check out the ingredients lists on some of these next time you’re at the shops and i doubt you’ll event buy them again…). The type that fills your home with an intoxicating scent that is so irresistibly good that your neighbours will come knocking. Actually, they’ll be banging on your door!
Surprisingly, that quintessential Mexican flavour is very easy to achieve at home. Although some authentic Mexican ingredients can be difficult to find in Australia, there are a few simple flavours which are crucial and available at every supermarket across the country, so you have no excuse not to make this delicious pulled pork recipe. In fact… most of these you’ll already have in your pantry!
The secret ingredients are:
- tin of chopped tomatoes
- dry oregano
- cumin seeds (ground or whole)
- smoked paprika powder
- fresh coriander
- white vinegar
Today we’re making pulled pork shoulder, but you could just as easily make this slow braised dish with beef brisket (4hrs) or chicken thigh (1 hr). Alternatively, you could use any mince meat you like for a quick weeknight meal.
The meat is delicious in sliders or tex-mex style nachos, or try it in soft shell corn tacos for an authentic Mexican treat.
Easy Peasy Mexican pulled pork
- 1.5kg pork shoulder, on the bone
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
- (optional: 1 tsp Mexican chili powder)
- 3 tsp dry oregano
- 400g can chopped peeled tomatoes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ½ bunch coriander
Rub pork all over with ½ the oil, then season well. Heat a large heavy based oven proof pot (or slow cooker) to medium-high and sear the meat on all sides until caramelised, then set meat aside.
In the same pot, reduce heat to medium low and add remaining oil. Finely chop onion and garlic, add to the pot with cumin and oregano and cook until translucent and lightly coloured. Next, add the tomatoes and vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any caramelised bits.
Thoroughly wash coriander , remove leaves and reserve. Chop the roots and stems, add to the pot along with smoked paprika and the reserved pork (and any juices which have run out). Top with water until 1/2 of the pork is covered. Cover the pork with some baking paper (a “cartouche” to keep it moist) then place the lid on and bake slowly in a 150C oven for 4 hours, turning the pork over every hour.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove pork from the pot, discard bone and shred flesh using 2 forks or clean hands if you’ve got heat resistant hands! In the meantime, place pot, uncovered, on the stove top on a high heat. Bring the sauce to the boil and reduce until it’s thick and rich. Stir shredded pork through the sauce and voila!
To serve, sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and serve in your favourite tacos, burritos, nachos or simply with some tomato infused rice. As a side, try some light sour cream , fresh tomato salsa (pico de gallo), black beans (frijoles negros) and of course guacamole.
DID YOU KNOW? the addition of vinegar to this braise helps to soften and break down the meat, while the acidity helps cut through the rich flavour.