I promised you one of my favorite recipes for a crowd, and this is it! This recipe very handily fed about a dozen people at a recent weekend get-together; there were even leftovers. It's also a very easy and delicious recipe with terrific flavor. And yet it takes less than half an hour to put it all together. Perfect menu for company!
This recipe is basically a riff on Elizabeth's slow-cooked pork shoulder. Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt, is a relatively fatty and inexpensive cut of meat that is excellent for slow cooking and braises. If we're going to eat a meal heavy in meat, this is usually the cut we choose. Even organic or well-raised pork is cheap when you buy this particular cut, and you really can't mess it up.
You can find versions of this recipe all over the internet; I was introduced to it by a friend, and I made a few slight modifications. This feeds a lot, obviously, but it's still a good recipe for a smaller dinner, too. Just cut it in half, or freeze some of the pork in individual portions for later meals. It refrigerates and freezes very well.
Slow-Cooked Hoisin Pork Wraps with Peanut Slaw
Hoisin and Ginger Shredded Pork
6 pounds pork butt, trimmed of thick fat
Salt and pepper
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large piece fresh ginger, about five inches long
1 bottle hoisin sauce (12-15 ounces)*
Rub the trimmed pork shoulder all over with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Put in the slow cooker (cut in pieces first, if necessary). Add the smashed garlic cloves, tucking them around the pork. Peel and grate the ginger and put it in too. Pour the hoisin sauce over everything. Cover and cook on low for about 10 hours or overnight.
When finished and tender, use two large forks to shred the meat and mix it with the sauce.
*Note: Hoisin sauce is a rather sweet and lightly spicy barbecue sauce used in Chinese cooking. If you don't want to use a processed product from the store, try making your own! Here is a recipe for basic hoisin sauce that calls for soy sauce, honey, hot sauce, and other common ingredients.
1 batch Crunchy Peanut Slaw
2 dozen small tortillas or wraps (lavash bread is also nice, although I prefer whole wheat tortillas)
Spicy chili-garlic sauce (if desired)
Warm the tortillas in the microwave, covered with a damp towel. Serve the pork, tortillas, and slaw together, wrapping up the slaw and pork together.
Originally published March 19, 2009.
(Images: Faith Durand)