Monday, April 27, 2009

Pork Substance Alpha

Cream on the inside, Pork on the Outside, Cream on the inside Pork on the Outside, Pork Pork Pork Pork Pork Pork Cream paint job! (yikesitude)

(pic unrelated) (except I took the pic the day i made the food that I'm blogging about) (pic mostly unrelated)

In the history of things that are tasty, nothing is as tasty as what I’m about to show you. Nothing. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Ya right, SmokeHopper, you are a LIAR!” Well I’ll have you know that my feelings are hurt that you would say that. Allright, lets get weird:

I’m talking about “Pork Substance Alpha” hereinafter referred to as PSA, which in all actuality is a Pork Stock/Broth which I originally considered a byproduct of cooking a spiced pork shoulder in a crockpot. Over time however, I realized that the PSA was the true champion of the process and I now really set out to make the PSA and the delicious shredded pork has become the
byproduct. What a world we live in (?).

The process starts with buying a pork shoulder, or "Boston Butt" as they say. Here is the one that I bought at the grocery store.

Next put hefty amounts of Cumin, Coriander, and Black Peppercorns on a sheet of tin foil and put them under the broiler until they just begin to smoke and a fragrance of mystery surrounds you and makes you want to forget that its Tuesday and the meeting set for Thursday hasnt been rescheduled yet becasue the server is down and... well until fragrant. Grind them up after that, and set aside.

Next, I usually dice 6 or 7 cloves of Garlic. My Uncle, who is a handsome and classy man, gave me this nifty garlic dicer. Very clever tool. Almost as clever as my Uncle. Anyway dice up the garlics and set aside.

Next, just get crazy and rub all of the ground spices and garlic deep into the meat. Really man-handle that pork butt. (laughs to self hard, best blog ever) But really, rub it all on there and place in a large crockpot or in a pot in the oven and turn to low. I usually add a 1/2 cup of water just so the bottom doesnt burn. The shoulder itslef will provide enough juice by itself. Here is what it looks like after an hour or so.

Here is what it looks like after 14 hours:

As you can see, there is an incredible amount of fluid in the pot. This is mostly the PSA, but there is also a large amount of pork fat as well. Calm down health nuts, we're going to get rid of it with the refrigerator.

Before fridge:

After fridge:

After the fat is removed:

If you did not gather from the above pictures, the fat solidifies nicely in the refridgerator and you can easily remove it with a spoon. I once asked my mother what the fat was good for, and she told me it was good for the trash. So that where I put it. Now, what to do with the shredded pork? This is what you do with it:

Put it in a pan and add your favorite BBQ sauce, heat it up and shred it.
Now do this:

So pretty much this was my lunch for many many days. You can also make shredded pork tacos, which are always good with a little slice of avacado. I have found succcess in the past using the adobo sauce out of a can of chipotles for flavoring. Its important to remember that although the pork has a pretty good flavor right out of the crock pot, it is merely a base on which to build other more powerful flavors. So BBQ sauce works well, and prettty much any strong flavoring you can think of suits it well. Pow Pow.
(this is a good BBQ Sauce. Really)
Lets get down to business: The PSA. Although it doesnt look like much, this stock/broth is the most delicious substance I know how to make. Its just unbelieveably complex. There is simply no way to describe it. If writing about music is like dancing about sculpture, then writing about food is like...sculpting about dance...its difficult. But seriously, I think I heard Alton Brown call it mouth-feel at one point. Its flavor is heavy, and multilayered, and flush with toasted coriander and cumnin, and its just great.
The depth of the flavor comes from the broken down collagen in the pork bone and the connective tissue which somehow magically becomes gelatin. I'm not exactly sure how all this works. This sounds like a chemical reaction for Kimistry Kitchen to explore. By the way, if you haven't read Kimistry Kitchen yet, you should. Its listed on the left side over there and is a science oriented cooking blog. Its rad. Check it out!
Needless to say, PSA is perfect for reducing sauces, and excellent for flavoring soups. The best soup I have ever made was a posole made with only PSA, chilis, morels, and hominy. Fantastic.
This time around, however, I decided to make a vegetable stew with the PSA and some chicken broth as a base. Here's what I did. First, I chopped up these vegetables:

Red Onion:



Altogether Now: Mirepoix

Put these items in a pan with olive oil salt and pepper, and sweat on low heat until the onion are translucent and the carrots become soft and sweet and delicious. While this is happening, I chopped and added the following:

Shitake Mushrooms:

Yellow Squash:

Once added to the pot, it all looked like this:

(To be honest, a lot of this recipe was a "clean out the fridge of all of the vegetables before they go bad" recipe)

I then added a splash of this:

And a cup or two of this:

And all of this:

Final Product, finished with some fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro:


Top 7 soups/stews of my carrer. Whoever comes up with the best name for my creation in the comments section shall win a prize. The prize is that I will call the soup that name forever. As always, thanks for reading everyone! Turkey Legs will happen soon. I Promise.


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Kim said...

Love the post! Thanks for the nod - name dropping is always acceptable. I will have to get back to you with the name. I've got nothing clever at the moment.

Anonymous said...

PSA reminds me of work. I don't like this title.

gringotastic said...

soup name? it looks like dump. call it dump soup.

Anonymous said...

Swine Flu Stew or Thunderball Stew

IAMMRT said...

This little piggy got drunk soup

Kim said...

If you ever make the turkey legs I will def make them for Mr. T! Just saying...

Dorothy said...

I am flabbergasted. Your mother told you to THROW AWAY THE FAT??? And you still speak to this woman, nay, you actually followed her advice.

I'm retiring to my swooning couch with a schmaltz sammich!