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Paleta de Cerdo

By Chef John Ash

Slow, long cooking is the key to making this dish meltingly tender. To make it even more flavorful, shred or chop the meat with its juices and then roll up in warm tortillas along with shredded cabbage, chopped avocadoes, tomatoes, sweet white onion, some cilantro leaves and lime wedges to squeeze juice over.  If you own a crock pot, this is a great recipe for this useful appliance. Serve with rice andblack beans and a glass of the Vine Hill Pinot Noir

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    Serves 8

    Total Time

    Prep Time

    Difficulty Level Medium


    3 tbs olive oil

    5 lbs bone in pork shoulder

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups)

    8 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

    2 tbs chopped chipotle chile in adobo, or to taste

    2 C diced canned or fresh tomatoes

    1 tbs crushed cumin seeds

    2 tsp whole fennel seed

    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

    1 tbs dried oregano, preferably Mexican

    3 C hearty red wine

    1 1/2 C orange juice

    2 tbs brown sugar


    1. In a deep pot or Dutch oven with a cover, add the olive oil and heat over moderately high heat. Season the pork liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper and sear on all sides until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Remove pork and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat.

    2. Add the onions and garlic to pot and sauté over moderate heat until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Add pork back to pot, cover a place in a preheated 325 degree oven for 3 hours or until meat is very tender and falls easily off the bone.

    3. Remove meat, discarding bone, to a serving bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Allow braising liquid to sit at room temperature to facilitate removal of fat and remove and discard as much as you can from the surface.

    4. Strain defatted juices if desired, pushing down on solids and discarding them. You can also skip this step if you like yours a little more “rustic”. Return juices to pan and bring to a simmer and then pour over meat. Serve immediately.

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