20 August 2013

Recipe: Slow-Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa

I've got a lot going on this week so I decided to break out the crock pot. As it worked out, I tried a great new recipe for dinner tonight. The house normally smells like apples (because every available outlet features an apple-scented plug-in!) but today it smelled like SLOW-COOKED JERK PORK!

I've tried lots of different ethnic foods but am not very familiar with "jerk" seasoning. Surprise, surprise...I found a bottle of it in my spice cupboard recently, an obviously forgotten part of a set from Penzeys Spices. Shortly after discovering it, I ran across this recipe for Jerk Pork so I figured...why not give it a try?

If you're not familiar with jerk seasoning, it is actually a blend of several spices. This one includes ginger, ancho chili pepper, brown sugar, garlic, paprika, allspice, lemon grass, thyme, nutmeg, Tellicherry (no idea what that is) black pepper, cumin, cayenne red pepper, and jalapeno. This list suggests that jerk seasoning might be spicy. I think that depends on how much you add to your recipe. We like spicy food, so I went a little on the heavier side, but even then it was not spicy.

If you want to look at my pictures (in a feeble attempt to be like Pioneer Woman...ha!), you'll find a few here. Otherwise skip to the recipe at the end of this post!

The first part of the recipe calls for making slits in a pork roast and filling them with garlic. Yeah, I should be peeling my own garlic, but I used what Daughter calls "Cheater Garlic" -- the pre-chopped kind. Tastes fine and saves me a whole lot of frustration.

Next, the recipe calls for making a dry rub with the jerk seasoning and the remaining garlic. I dutifully complied, although this part was pretty messy.

Finally, I mixed up the marinade (orange and lime juice) and poured it over the roast, turning it occasionally. I let it sit in the marinade overnight. In the fridge, of course. :)

Meanwhile, I mixed up the salsa. The recipe calls for mangos, but I used tomatoes instead because I'm not a fan of either mangos or mixing "sweet" and "savory" flavors. (I know...I know...I need to get over it, but not today!) I popped it in the fridge overnight. Disclaimer: The salsa would have had more avocados if I hadn't eaten so many pieces!

After 9 hours in the crock pot, I took out the pork and shredded it with a fork, then plopped it back into the liquid for another 15 minutes.

And this is the completed dish! I cannot tell you how scrumptious this is. Jerk is a very interesting blend of spices...with just the right amount of flavor but truly, not spicy at all! The lime and orange juice provide just a hint of citrus, giving the dish a very fresh, bright taste. I'll be making this one again!


Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa
Adapted from Skinnytaste.com

3 lb boneless pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 - 3 tbsp Jerk seasoning
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 lime, squeezed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

For the Caribbean salsa:
1 haas avocado, diced
2 large ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (I used tomatoes!)
1 1/2 tbsp chopped red onion
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice 
salt and pepper, to taste

Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the pork and stuff holes with half of the crushed garlic. Combine the remaining garlic, jerk seasoning, and salt, rub all over pork (you may want to wear gloves). Place in a large container, pour the lime and orange juice over the pork; cover and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight, turning pork occasionally so the marinade covers all of pork.
The next morning, put everything in the crock pot and cook on LOW for 9 hours.

After 9 hours, remove pork and shred using two forks.

Remove liquid from crock pot and reserve. Add shredded pork back to the slow cooker. Add about 1 cup of the liquid back into the crock pot and taste for salt and pepper. Let it cook an additional 15 minutes.

Serve over rice with salsa on top!

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