I did indeed throw a dinner party on Sunday night. It is, in fact, August ... and ... good grief, its hot as hell. We're finally being treated to a week of weather I had sincerely hoped to avoid. And try as I might to avoid cooking, some good friends were in town and a party was had. I fired up both my air conditioner and the crock pot, and got down to business.
Now, there's a popular school of thought which insists one should not try a new recipe when preparing for guests. Will anyone be surprised when I say that this is rule I've broken in spades? No? Right! In the kitchen at least, I'm fearless, a risk-taker, convinced of my own invincibility. Thus I threw caution to the wind, secured an enormous shoulder of pork and made something I've never cooked before ...
Chile Verde Soft Tacos:
For the Pork:
- one 5 to 6 pound, boneless, pork shoulder
- some Emeril's Original Essence seasoning blend
- 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 cup of chicken stock (I used Emeril's All Natural)
- 1 cup of water
- 3/4 cup of bottle green chile sauce, any brand will do
Remove the cooked meat from the slow cooker to a cutting board and, using two forks, shred the pork. Place the shredded meat into a large, covered, dish - reserve and keep warm. Meanwhile, pour the accumulated liquid from the pot through a strainer, then run it through a de-fatting cup. Discard the fat and pour some of the strained liquid over the shredded pork to moisten. Reserve the remaining liquid, keeping it warm for use at table.
For the Tacos:
- cooked shredded pork shoulder
- some thinly sliced radishes
- some thinly sliced red onions
- plenty of chopped fresh cilantro
- some shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or cheese of your choice
- some wedges of fresh lime
- a variety of hot sauces, Tabasco, Sriracha, Habanero, whatever you like
- some fresh white corn or whole wheat tortillas, warmed
Honestly, I can't say enough good things about this meal! It was one of the easiest and most delicious creations I have ever served. A bit of prep work, and your slow cooker will do the rest. I served family style, letting each guest dive into the offerings to create their own unique mix. I high recommend the radish/onion combo - and, personally, I don't think you need the cheese ... but my guests disagree. Serving the strained juices to pour over the meat at table is a nice touch. The liquid is so beautifully flavored you could almost drink it on its own. And for heaven's sake, please don't skip the hot sauce. We like the Sriracha, but anything you enjoy will do.
This was a fun and festive meal, made all the more so by the inclusion of the Emeril's goodies I received through the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program. They sent a bunch of us lucky bloggers some of Emeril's products to enjoy and I must say the Original Essence was a perfect addition to this dish. This was my first time working with Emeril's line. I used the Essence in place of a salt and pepper rub on the pork and it was fantastic.
Naturally we had some appetizers, dessert, plenty of wine and spirits as well. To round out the meal I served a large garden salad and an outrageously good fresh corn pudding. I'll be posting the corn pudding recipe on Friday ... stay tuned.
In this case, the risk yielded some delicious rewards. The food was magnificent and the party was a huge success. So, where do you stand on issue of trying a new recipe for guests? Do you stick with the tried and true, or are you a risk-taker like me? Curious Diva wants to know!