Mango, Ginger, and Habanero Pulled Pork

Despite the use of “habanero” in its title, this deliciously sweet pulled pork isn’t overwhelmingly spicy. The habanero that simmers slowly along with the pork gives a spicy hint to this addictive dish.

I have to admit, I purposely waited until the husband was away at work to make this dish. Usually, he’ll eat almost anything, but this slow-cooked pork is not one of those things. John is a firm believer that two things should not be sweet — vegetables and meat. I, on the other hand, absolutely love this pulled pork. Even better are the leftovers, which make great sandwiches. Yum.

I usually cook this dish in my Crockpot, but it can very easily be made in a Dutch oven or large pot. I used a boneless pork shoulder for this dish. The sauce is extremely versatile and can be used on chicken or even fish.

Sweet and Spicy Deliciousness

Mango, Ginger, and Habanero Pulled Pork

Adapted from Aarti Sequeira

What You’ll Need:
1 boneless pork shoulder, about 3 pounds, excess fat removed
 
Rub:
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 habanero pepper, sliced down the center, top half together, stem intact
Kosher salt
2 ripe mangoes, pureed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
 

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and massage it into the pork, then set aside. This can be done and refrigerated up to a day in advance.

In a large saucepan (or Dutch oven if you plan on cooking the pork on your stovetop), warm the oil over low heat until hot. Add the cumin and fennel seeds. Keep a lid or shield handy – they’ll splutter upon contact and try to pop out! Once they settle down, add the onions, ginger and habanero pepper. Sauté until softened. Add a bit of salt, to taste. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, then simmer for about 5 minutes.

If using a Crockpot, transfer the ingredients into the pot and add the pork shoulder, making sure to coat it with the sauce. If you’re cooking your pulled pork on the stovetop, add the pork shoulder to your Dutch oven or pot, cover with a lid and gently simmer for about three hours, until the pork starts to fall apart.

Once its done cooking, remove the pork from the pot and shred it. You can use forks or your fingers, it’s up to you! Put the shredded pork on a bun and spoon some of the sweet sauce on top, or eat this deliciousness alongside one of my favorites, Indian Spiced Potatoes. Enjoy!

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Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri

What a gorgeous day. After a winter of record-breaking snowfall, and a recent torrent of rain, we were finally blessed with a weekend filled with sun and 50 degree weather. The huge block of ice on our back porch thawed to reveal a neglected Kenmore grill. When I realized the propane tank was nearly full, I could almost taste grilled steak in the near future.

I can still remember the first time I ate skirt steak. I was in my mid-teens, and Papi the Butcher had brought home the strange-looking cut of beef for dinner. If you’ve never seen skirt steak before, it’s a long, flat cut of beef. When I asked what it was, he replied, “Skirt steak.” At first, I thought he was joking. I mean, why would someone name a cut of beef after an item of clothing? He explained that skirt steak is the diaphragm muscle of the cow, which is attached to the ribs. It tends to be tough, but is extremely flavorful when cooked properly. Skirt steak is the cut of beef traditionally used for fajitas and is commonly called arrachera or churrasco. Many people commonly confuse skirt steak with flank steak, but they are actually two different cuts.

Years ago, skirt steak was one of the cheaper cuts of beef. Nowadays, it averages about $4 a pound, which is on the pricey side. Many people discovered that despite it’s toughness, when grilled or pan-seared, skirt steak can be tender and delicious. It’s also a great steak to braise or marinade.

For weeks, I’ve been anxious for the opportunity to make my own chimichurri. Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce used as a marinade or condiment for meat. It’s most commonly made with parsley, garlic, oil, and other seasonings. From what I’ve heard, Argentinian’s use chimichurri like Americans use ketchup.

When I heard the weather forecast for a gorgeous weekend ahead, I brought home some skirt steak and went to work on making my sauce. When you make this chimichurri, you’ll want to lick the spoon.

When you buy skirt steak, be sure to have your butcher remove the membrane and trim a good portion of the fat, unless you’re feeling adventurous and want to attempt that at home. Before grilling, I seasoned my skirt steak simply with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. No fancy pants here. The star of the show is the chimichurri.

Chimichurri

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
8 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf

Toss the parsley in a small food processor with the vinegar, water, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and olive oil, then give it a whirl. Add the bay leaf, then let the sauce stand, at room temperature, for at least an hour. This will allow the flavors to come together.

If you don’t have a food processor, be sure to finely chop your parsley and garlic by hand. Stir together the vinegar, water, garlic, bay leaf, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until combined, then whisk in the finely chopped parsley. Be sure to discard the bay leaf before serving. Serve this sauce alongside grilled beef, chicken, shrimp, chorizo, or whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!