Slow cookers are a handy invention – ideal for slowly cooking casseroles and stews so that you can come home to a hot meal after a long day at work, or if you’ve been out and about. But despite their convenience, I’ve never been a fan of recipes I’ve made in the slow cooker in comparison to cooking them on the hob or in a conventional oven. However, I make an exception when it comes to Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos from Justine Pattison. Yes, you’ve got to marinade the meat for several hours (or preferably overnight) but the end result is absolute worth it.
Slowly cooking a shoulder of pork over an extensive period of time (up to 10 hours if using the LOW setting on a slow cooker) makes the meat a doddle to shed and then you can enjoy it literally melting in your mouth. The image above doesn’t do this meal justice, but try taking a photo of a taco filling when you’re starving, it’s never going to turn out well! :).
Pork shoulder is dirt cheap and the calorie count for this recipe is surprisingly low, BUT that’s dependent on you cutting off the rind and fat before you cook it ;-). Home-made slaw is so much better than the pre-prepped supermarket equivalents, or serve with some gem lettuce and sour cream if you can’t be arsed / are pushed for time.
Recipe: Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos
Calories: 337 per serving
Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – Slow Cooker
Prep time: Approx 25 mins, plus marinating time overnight
Cooking time: Approx 5-6 hours on a HIGH slow cooker setting, approx. 8-10 hours on a LOW slow cooking setting
- 1kg boneless pork shoulder (with rind)
- 12 corn tacos
- 2 little gem lettuces, or coleslaw (see below)
- Soured cream or half-fat crème fraiche
- Lime wedges, to serve
For the marinade:
- 1 medium red onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 orange
- 2 limes
- 1-2 tsp hot pepper sauce (from a bottle), or to taste
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt
- 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £1.69 with crunchy coleslaw.
To make the marinade, peel and roughly chop the onion, peel and crush the garlic cloves, and cut the orange and limes in half and squeeze out the juice. Put the onion, garlic and citrus juice into a large, sturdy freezer bag. Holding the bag upright, add the remaining marinade ingredients and squish them around until well combined.
Snip off any string holding the pork together, then carefully cut off the rind and fat. Add the pork to the marinade and move it around in the bag until it is well coated. Seal the bag and put it in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
The next day, transfer the pork and its marinade to the slow cooker, cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours or LOW for 8-10 hours, or until the pork is very soft and falls apart when prodded with a fork.
Remove the slow cooker lid and shred the meat into the cooking juices with two forks. Serve the pulled pork from the slow cooker pot, on the table, with warmed corn tacos, finely shredded lettuce or coleslaw (see below), soured cream or half-fat crème fraiche and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Crunchy coleslaw: Finely shred a quarter of a small red or white cabbage (about 250g), peel and coarsely grate 1 large carrot and thinly slice 4 spring onions. Put in a large bowl and add 100g sour cream and 4 tbsp mayonnaise. Season with pepper and mix well. Sprinkle with a few snipped fresh chives if you like. Serves 6. Calories per serving: 119.