This dish is perfect for a fun and casual dinner party — just set the slow cooker and let it go. Inexpensive pork shoulder is a tougher cut that becomes succulent and fork-tender when cooked well beyond well doneness — it loves a long, low and slow cook and becomes meltingly tender (you can cut it with a fork) as it cooks ever so gently in a delicious sauce. The sauce is super simple, yet all your friends will be impressed that you made it from scratch. Got a blender? That's all you'll need for it! Don't want things too spicy? Leave out or cut down on the chiles.
You can even make the dish the day before and rewarm it for your party. Serve it in bowls with warm corn tortillas, and all the accoutrements for guests to help themselves to, including cilantro, sour cream, and chopped green onions.
Technique tips: When making the sauce, let the blender go for a bit to ensure you get a smooth silky sauce. Dredging the pork in flour will help gently thicken the sauce as it slow cooks. Browning the pork before putting it in the slow cooker lends more flavor to the finished dish.
- One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo (about 3 chiles)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 4-pound boneless pork shoulder roast, butterflied
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 pound medium red-skinned potatoes (about 4), halved lengthwise
- 1 onion, halved and cut into 1-inch- wide strips
- 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded, and cut into 1-inch-wide strips
- 1 poblano chile, seeded and cut into 1-inch- wide strips
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Corn tortillas or flour tortillas, warmed
- Accompaniments: Cilantro sprigs, chopped green onion and sour cream
For the sauce:
1. In a blender, combine the tomatoes with their juices, the chipotle chiles, garlic, oregano and cumin and puree until smooth. Blend in the broth. Set aside.
For the pork pt roast:
1. Preheat a slow cooker on the high-heat setting.
2. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the pork in flour to coat lightly all over. Heat a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then the pork and cook, turning often, for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is browned on all sides. Transfer the pork to the slow cooker. Arrange the potatoes around the pork.
3. Pour off any excess oil from the pot. Add the onion, bell peppers, and poblano chile and sauté over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the sauce and bring to a boil over high heat.
4. Carefully transfer the sauce and vegetables to the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 4 hours. Turn the pork over, cover, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Stir the cilantro into the slow cooker and cook for 2 more hours, or until the meat is very tender when pierced with a fork.
5. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Skim off the excess fat from the surface of the sauce and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Slice the pork and arrange it on six plates. Spoon the vegetables and sauce over. Serve with warm tortillas, cilantro sprigs, green onions, and sour cream.