I had been fascinated with this recipe for years. The first time I saw it was in the works of the great Marcella Hazan’s work. I began making versions only recently. Something else must have re-ignited my curiosity. Cooking is like that. You can circle and come back when you are ready to take on a recipe. I find books are the same way. Some books are not ready to meet us, (or really us meet them) until the age in life is at the ‘just so’ intersection. And it was patience that helped me the most on this as I was quite distrustful of the look of that milk as it cooked. But the net results were amazing. I took her Italian idea into my Key West Kitchen and a new dish was born.
PORK ‘COOKED IN MILK’ TACOS WITH RED ONION JAM
Norman & Justin Van Aken, Copyright, 2012 © “My Key West Kitchen”
Yield: 10-12 Servings
1) 5 pound fresh pork butt (shoulder), bone out
1/2 Cup Escabeche Spice Rub
1/4 Cup blended oil
1 sweet onion, peeled and diced large
2 quarts whole milk
Place the pork in a large bowl and rub all over with the Escabeche Spice Rub. Allow to stand at room temperature about 30 minutes. Meanwhile Preheat and oven to 285 degrees. Put a large heavy pan on a burner on medium heat. Add the blended oil. Now steadily sear the pork on all sides turning often. When it is nicely browned add the onion and allow to cook a few minutes, stirring. Now add the milk. Cut a slash in an ‘x’ pattern in parchment paper or foil (to allow the heat to remain steady throughout the cooking process) and cover the meat loosely. You might need to weight it down if you use the parchment. Place it in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours. Do not let the milk get past a simmer. Bring the pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Take the meat out. Now the meat should be almost falling off the bone. Remove it from the milk and set aside to rest. Pour the milk liquid into a clean heavy saucepan. Now bring the milk mixture to a simmer, skimming off the water as it rises. When all of the water (and fat etc.) has been discarded pout the milk liquid into a blender and puree. It will turn creamy. Set it aside. This will yield about 4 cups but you might not even need that much. Slice, shred and/or chop the meat. The various sections and fat content of the butts vary so the method of making it small varies. Set aside in a bowl. Add enough of the creamy milk mixture to moisten the meat nicely. Season with salt and pepper.
1 Chayote, peeled if desired (or rinsed & dried), seed removed, shredded on a box grater
1 Poblano, stemmed, seeded and diced
Add the raw chayote and poblano into the meat mixture. Stir. Season again to taste. Now, working in batches warm tortillas and fill them with; first with a bit of the Red Onion Jam and then meat mixture as fits the size of the tortilla you have. Fold over. Serve.
Note: Add Mexican crème fraîche, thinly sliced jalapeños, cilantro leaves and radish
slices if you like to the top of each folded tortilla.