Sunday, February 23, 2014

Honey-Glazed Roast Duck and Bourbon-Pickled Jalapenos

This weekend seems to be the weekend for posting about hunks of roasted meats.  On Saturday I posted a roasted pork shoulder.  I finally got around today to posting about the honey-glazed roast duck that we made from Ed Lee's cookbook back on New Years Day.  Pathetic, huh?  I have no real excuse for being so delinquent in my posting, except that work is busy and we have been traveling a bit.  It is particularly sad given how incredibly excited I was by this meal (both before and while eating).  My laziness has nothing to do with how much I liked this duck.  I LOVE duck in general and I thought this roast duck had really good flavor.  It's no replacement for Peking duck, but it was a nice take on roast duck.  My biggest compliant about the duck was that the skin needed to render more.  It was still fatty and not at all crispy.  It was more... sticky (and a little rubbery).  I dunno if our duck was just fattier than the duck that Ed Lee uses - he might use some sort of free range duck with more flavor and less fat.  But it was still really good.  I loved the bourbon-pickled jalapenos that we served with it - they were the perfect boozy, sweet and spicy accompaniment for the richness of the duck and the sweet flavor of the glaze.  Definitely serve the duck with some herbs and thinly sliced cucumbers because that freshness also works to cut through the fattiness of the duck.

Recipe after the jump!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ultra-Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder (with Mojo Sauce)

I made a pork shoulder back in January (that I finally posted here on February 2nd because work was busy and I got lazy) and as soon as I took it out of the oven I started thinking about this recipe.  That recipe called for cooking a pork shoulder at 425 for 2 1/2 hours.  I was a little skeptical about the cooking method but thought it was worth a shot if it meant that I didn't have to spend ALL DAY slow roasting a pork shoulder.  Unfortunately, it just didn't work quite as well.  For the Super Bowl we decided to suck it up and revert to our usual low and slow cooking method.  I always find that low and slow works best for us on weekends when we don't have any other real plans so we can just hang out around the apartment all day and enjoy the smells of slow roasting meat.

We ended up using the pork shoulder in a number of different ways - tacos (with pickled red onions, cotija cheese, cilantro), fried rice, topping for arepas (with black beans (we actually used a can of black bean soup that we heated up and added the jalapenos to it), avocado, and pineapple salsa).  It is such a basic recipe that you can mix it up and use different sauces with the meat (or no sauce at all if you are a purist) and then use the meat for a million different meals.  We served our pork with a mojo sauce (also from Serious Eats) because I was feeling citrus-y and Latin American rather than BBQ/Southern. I loved the crispy skin and the overall tenderness and succulence of the pork.  We crushed up some of the skin and mixed it in with both the tacos and the arepas and it made for such a really nice textural contrast).  I know there are a million different ways to make pork shoulder, but this might be our new go-to.  It is just so versatile.    

P.S.  Alex and I thought that we had taken pictures of the tacos but it looks like the only pictures we took were of the giant hunk of meat itself.  Oops.  But at least you can see in the picture how crispy and blistered the skin got.  It was wonderfully "ultra crispy".

Recipes  after the jump!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pulled Pork Shoulder in Black BBQ Sauce

I bought Ed Lee's cookbook back in December and was instantly enamored.  There were so many dishes that I wanted to make.  And then I read the recipes themselves.  The recipes all look delicious but the ingredient lists tend towards and long and complicated.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it requires a lot more time and effort, not to mention preparation.  This recipe was one that I had looked at a few times but Alex decided one night when we were having friends over for dinner that we should go ahead and make it.  If we had left it up to me I would have sat on the recipe a little longer because the black BBQ sauce alone had like 25+ ingredients.  But we went with it.  We also made a simple coleslaw recipe with just a touch of mayonnaise that I really enjoyed (and can't manage to find).  I'll keep looking on the theory that I will find it eventually and because I really liked it.  It seemed to me like the perfect coleslaw to pair with BBQ - fresh and crunchy, with just enough mayonnaise to make it a little bit creamy and bind it together.

There was one problem with this recipe.  The flavor was good.  The black BBQ sauce was different.  But the pork was kind of tough.  We cooked it for over 30 minutes beyond what the recipe required, but the meat was nowhere near as tender as we had hoped.  Part of that is our fault since Alex got impatient (and hungry) and took the pork out of the oven when it was fairly tender on one side and not at all tender on the other.  By the time I realized it, it was too late to throw the pork back in the oven.  Generally speaking, we have had more luck with the low and slow cooking approach for pork shoulder, but we wanted to try this recipe as written, which involved blasting the pork shoulder at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time.  In the future, I would revert to the low and slow method.  We actually have a pork shoulder in the oven right now that we cooked at 250 degrees F for 7+ hours thus far.  I will keep you posted on how this one turns out because it's another recipe that we haven't tried before.  But you learn something new everyday.  This time I learned a really nice new rub for pork shoulder.  And if I could find the cole slaw recipe we tried, I would have learned more than one new thing.

Recipe after the jump!