Slow-Cooked Pork with Spanish Paprika and Sweet Spices
Adapted from Harvest to Heat (Tauton Press, 2010)
Peter loves the dense marbling of fat and the concentrated rich flavor of Flying Pigs’ heritage breed pork. The meat has a smooth texture and distinct taste, and the slow-cooking process allows the spice mixture to add intense flavor. Serve with sautéed garlicky greens, stewed white beans, or simple mashed potatoes.
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cardamom pods
- 2 star anise
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, minced into a paste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- One fresh 3-pound pork shoulder, preferably with the skin on
In a coffee grinder, process the bay leaves, cardamom, and star anise until finely ground (you may have to grind in batches) and place in a small bowl. Grind the coriander and cumin until finely ground and add to the bowl; add the ground fennel to the bowl of spices as well. Mix in the olive oil, pimentón, pepper, garlic, brown sugar, and salt, mixing well to create a paste.
If the pork has the skin on, score the skin with a sharp knife in 1/2-inch intervals. Rub the paste evenly on the meat. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
Heat the oven to 450ºF. Scrape off the excess spice rub then put the pork on a rack in a large roasting pan, skin side up, and roast for 30 minutes. Cover the pan with foil then turn the oven down to 300ºF, and cook for 3 hours. Add a bit of water in the bottom of the roasting pan, if there is no liquid, to keep the pork from drying out. Check after 3 hours; the pork should be fork-tender and very moist when done. If not, continue to cook until fork-tender.
If your pork has skin, slide the pan under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until the skin is crispy. If your pork doesn’t have skin, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing or pulling apart.