What’s better than getting your slow-cooker going during a blizzard? Not much! But I’d actually used mine a week before when I brought home a bone-in pork shoulder from McCaffrey’s where it was on sale. I’m still using it up, and will likely freeze the rest – it made much more than I expected!
I love cooking a pork or lamb shoulder in the slow-cooker because there’s not that expectation that you’re going to brown it first that there is with cut up meats. Having to brown my protein is often a deal breaker for me when it comes to slow-cooker braises, it’s just that extra step that seems to obviate the advantage of using the slow-cooker in the first place, since it means dirtying another pan on the stove (my slow-cooker insert is not stovetop safe).
With pork shoulder, sometimes I just pour a bottle of barbecue sauce on top of it, add sliced onion and let ‘er go. The result is always fantastic.
But this time, I was thinking of green chili, and when I rummaged through my fridge and cupboard I found plenty of stuff for an impromptu sauce. A half jar of Trader Joe’s Hatch Green Chili Salsa needing to be used. A jar of Trader Joe’s Cuban Mojito marinade/sauce that had sat in my cupboard for too long. It had citrus in it, which sounded lovely. And I always make sure to have some little cans of roasted chopped green chili on hand. So I decided to marry Mexican and Cuban and am so glad I did!
I also had half an onion in the crisper to use up. Into the pot it all went. About 3 hours on high, and another 4 or so on low and I had a wonderful soupy pork braise. I added 2 cans of hominy from the cupboard for good measure and heated a couple of Trader Joe’s corn/wheat tortillas which I love. I also had some leftover sautéed kale on hand, and that turned out to be really good with this, the sweetness of the pork cuts the bitterness of the kale. I started with the kale on the side, but eventually just dumped it right in the bowl with the pork.
I added some freshly ground black pepper but no salt, since the salsa and mojito had salt already (not too much, I always check sodium content before buying prepared sauces). I’ve read online that TJ’s has discontinued the Cuban sauce for now, so if you don’t see it there, you will have to create your own* or improvise with something else. The possibilities are endless…
*The ingredients on the jar are: onions, orange juice, water, extra-virgin olive oil, cilantro, cider vinegar, lime juice, garlic, sea salt, cumin, arrowroot (thickens), black pepper, oregano, xanthan gum (thickens & keeps from separating). You could fashion this on your own, and just omit arrowroot and xanthan gum.