Spicy Mango Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork Sandwich

It was my brother’s birthday last weekend and I was lucky enough to spend it at my family’s cottage.  Every year we celebrate my bro’s birthday by consuming a few pigs and whole lotta beer.  We call it Pig Fest (my family is ever so refined).  Sausages, ribs, pulled pork, bacon, pork chops; you name it and we’ve probably served it to mark the occasion.   Clearly the movie Babe never really got to my brother; then again no animal related movie ever does.  The first time I ever ate venison my brother told me it was Bambi’s mother… I was four and yes, I’m still scared from the experience, although it was infinitely less painful than the time he convinced me that Keens Hot Mustard was butterscotch pudding.

Gotta love siblings, they’re so friendly.

Garlic

This was the first time we served pulled pork at our annual family pig out and I was left in charge of the preparation.  The pressure was on!  I knew I had a lot to live up to.  We’ve been throwing these shindigs since my brother’s fifteenth birthday and that was… well; I feel like I shouldn’t say or I may find myself being force fed spicy mustard all over again.  Anyway, it was a touch risky to add a new item to the menu of such a legendary event, but I persevered and wound up with the deliciousness you see before you now.

Mango

I knew going in that the ribs (the pièce de résistance of every pig fest to date) would win out, but I think I gave it my best effort and although I may be slightly biased, I favored the pulled pork over the ribs, but don’t tell my mom.  Since the ribs were slathered in Phil’s (an a amazing BBQ joint in San Diego) BBQ sauce, I wanted the pulled pork to be completely different, so I wouldn’t invite anyone to compare the two.   I chose to contrast the smoky sweetness of the Phil’s sauce with a vaguely Asian concoction that was sweet, tangy and spicy but in a very different way.

Pureed mango with jalapenos and green onion

Since pork and fruit of any kind get along like a house on fire, I grabbed a sad little mango languishing in the crisper and went from there.  For a touch of spice I threw in some jalapenos and fresh ginger.  I added a healthy dose of soy sauce to balance the sweet and enhanced the overall taste with a burst of citrus, courtesy of some lemongrass, a touch of marmalade and a splash of lime juice.  Then I simply doused the pork shoulder in this lovely blend and cooked the hell out of it.

Pork shoulder and marinade

Many of my family members ate it all on it’s own, but that was not enough for me.  Oh no, I had to take it to the next level.  I served this delectable treat in a bun (sadly, this was the only half-way decent bun I could find out in the boonies) and topped it with this coleslaw, which you’ve already met.  The creaminess of the coleslaw melted into the saucy pork and the crunch of the pepitas definitely added something special.  If at all possible consume both these recipes together… unless you’re not a fan of citrus in which case I wouldn’t make either.

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

But if you happen to have won a lemon-eating contest at the tender age of fourteen (you may want to forget that tidbit of information) then welcome home!  This sandwich was made for you!

Enjoy!

Spicy Mango Pulled Pork: Serves 8

6-8 pound bone-in boston butt

1 mango, cubed

5 cloves of garlic

1/8 cup lime juice

2 tbsp pureed lemongrass

3 tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped

3 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I used President’s Choice)

2 tbsp marmalade

2 jalapenos, divided

2 stalks of green onions, sliced

1/8 cup soy sauce (or to taste)

2 tsp sesame oil

2 cups of water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°

In a food processor place mango, garlic, lime juice, lemongrass, ginger, chili sauce, marmalade and one intact jalapeno.

Blend until smooth.

Deseed and dice the second jalapeno.

Pour puree into a medium sized bowl and stir in soy sauce, green onions, diced jalapeno and sesame oil.

Pat pork shoulder dry with paper towel and place it in a large dutch oven.

Pour mango mixture over the meat making sure to get it in every nook and cranny.  Add water.

Cover the pot and place it in the center of the oven.

Cook for one hour then turn the pork and spoon the juices over the top.

Repeat for six hours or until the meat comes easily off the bone.

Remove the fat and bone and shred the pork using two forks.

You can serve it right away, but I let mine cool and popped it in the fridge over night and reheated it the next day.

Serve it on it’s own or in a sandwich.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad

I am back! Hope you guys had wonderful holidays!

Meanwhile after getting a good rest, I left my zone of comfort….

…and look at me! I fried something!

Mango

I never fry anything! I have a deep-frying phobia.

Cucumber

I, like the rest of humanity, happen to love fried food! Anything deep-fried is positively out of this world. I bet if you deep-fried a boot it would taste delicious, but as much as I love these crispy edibles I’m still wary of deep-frying at home. I’m sure it would be a different story if I had a proper deep fryer, but if I had said deep fryer I would also be 300 pounds. So, I figure it’s in my best interest to make deep fat frying as cumbersome as possible. I didn’t even do a legit deep fry for this week’s recipe. It was more of a shallow fry; I couldn’t quite bring myself to add the full amount of oil, guilt was holding me back. This time, I simply borrowed a deep fryer from my friend, it was Waring deep fryer.

No. No way I am buying one myself.

Red pepper

Yes, it was messy and yes, I did fear my kitchen afterwards, but these almond crusted fried shrimp were well worth the grease burns.  I served them atop a mound of spicy mango salad and garnished the whole lot with fresh cilantro and dry-roasted peanuts. The combination of the piping hot shrimp and chilled salad was out of this world. The shrimp was beautifully juicy and it’s breading brought a subtle crunch to the dish.

Red Onion

My beau was adequately impressed with my efforts. He could hardly believe I fried anything. I’m usually a stickler when it comes to nutrition, but I justified the whole exercise by saying it was for the blog. Do you hear that? If your at all interested in the state of your waistline don’t start a food blog, it messes with your logic.

Almond Crusted Shrimp

As deep-frying adventures go this one was fairly uneventful. Shrimp cooks quickly and the breading process with simple and efficient. Salads are always low maintenance, but I will warn you there is a fair amount of chopping involved.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad (II)

Decadently rich and restaurant caliber, Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad is one recipe you’ll be happy to have sitting in your back pocket when all you can think about is expensive takeout. This recipe will subdue those pesky cravings and save you a bundle at the same time.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad: Serves 4

FOR THE SHRIMP

16 shrimp, deveined and shelled with tails on

¼ cup almond meal

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp milk

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups peanut oil

FOR THE SALAD

1 mango, julienned

¼ cucumber, julienned

½ red bell pepper, julienned

¼ red onion, sliced

¼ dry roasted peanuts

½ cup fresh cilantro, torn

DRESSING

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp granulated sugar

¼ cup lime juice

1 tsp sambal oelek

1 tbsp fish sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Place veggies, mango and cilantro in a large bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.

In another small bowl combine ground almonds and salt and pepper.

Combine egg and milk.

One by one douse each shrimp in the egg and milk mixture then roll them in the almond mixture and set aside on a plate.

When each shrimp has been coated heat oil in a large wok until it reaches about 350°

Drop shrimp into the oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown.

Remove from oil and leave to drain on paper towels.

Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Divide salad amongst four plates and top with peanuts.

Arrange four shrimp on top of each salad and serve immediately.

Curried Cauliflower and Ginger Soup

This week Toronto felt the brisk wind of fall and, although I’m a huge fan of summer, I have to admit I felt somewhat relied.  I’m ready for the humidity to leave and stop wreaking havoc with my hair, I’m ready to not sweat my makeup off while I’m waiting or the bus in the morning and, first and foremost, I’m ready to leave heat stroke behind.

Chickpeas

This summer was like enduring the torments of hell.  I am having trouble recollecting a hotter summer.

Seasoned Chickpeas

Looking back at the recipes I posted over the past four months, I realized how little I actually used the stove.  Fresh produce is glorious and I certainly made the most of nature’s bounty this summer, but I’m ready to get reacquainted with my stove and my always-hilarious bipolar oven (it really keeps me on my toes).

Cauliflower

I’m ready to walk into my apartment with cheeks stinging from the cold and plunk myself down in front of a steaming bowl of soup.  Oh, and I can’t wait to make casseroles again, I adore comfort food and we’re finally approaching its peak season.

Cauliflower Florets

But as with most things I lack patience and yesterday is was a balmy 27° and I still made soup.

Roasted Chickpeas

This Curried Cauliflower and Ginger soup was made for runny noses and numb toes, but, of course, yesterday I suffered from neither affliction.  I may have jumped the gun, but its good to know I have an excellent recipe in my back pocket once ski season hits.  This soup is spicy, aromatic and über comforting.  I have never encountered a soup so capable of warming you from the inside out.  So, as you start to bundle up for the coming bleak months, remember this soup.  Nothing will warm your bones quite like a bowl of this fantastically simple and inexpensive Curried Cauliflower and Ginger soup.

Curried Cauliflower and Ginger Soup

Curried Cauliflower and Ginger Soup: Serves 6

1 head of Cauliflower, cut into florets

1 medium-sized onion, diced

4 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp garam marsala

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp dried chili flakes

1 pinch of cloves

2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

Salt and pepper to taste

Batch of Curried Roasted Chickpeas

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium-sized dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add onions and ginger and sauté until the onion is translucent.

Pour in the spices and sauté until fragrant.

Next, place the cauliflower in the pot and add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minuets or until the cauliflower is tender.

Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender.

Return to heat and add milk and simmer until heated through.

Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

Serve with crushed roasted chickpeas.

 

Curried Roasted Chickpeas: Serves 4

540 ml can of chickpeas

2 tbsp peanut oil

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp garam marsala

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°

Drain and rinse chickpeas and leave to dry for 10-15 minutes.

While chickpeas are draining place all the spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Roll chickpeas in paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Place dried chickpeas in a large bowl.

Drizzle the chickpeas with peanut oil and toss with salt, pepper and spices.

Place on a dry cookie sheet and bake for thirty minutes, shaking the pan every ten.

Remove from oven and leave to cool.