Pork Shoulder Braised with Chiles and Cinnamon
Morita chiles are red, fully mature Chipotles. This gives them a unique, medium – hot smokey flavor which is popular in many Southwestern dishes. These can be added to sauces (including Mole) to add smokey flavor and maintain the red color of the sauces. These peppers are about 2-4 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and have a deep brick reddish brown color. The word Chipotle translated to smoked chile. Consider the Chipotle a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hottest). Scoville heat units 7,000-25,000.
Use Morita in enchilada sauces, chili, stews, barbecue ribs, and corn bread. Their smoky quality combines well with poultry, meats and fall squash.
4 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 Tbs. bacon fat or vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tsp. each cumin and coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 dried chiles, stems pull off, roughly chopped (dried ancho, New Mexico, chiles de arbol, and guajillo chiles are all easy to find. Dried chipotles are smoked which adds a nice flavor as well. Read the package to determine heat level)
2 c. chicken stock or water
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Sprinkle pork pieces evenly with Kosher salt.
Heat a Dutch oven (or use a deep casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When it’s hot, add two of the pork pieces. Brown thoroughly on all sides—don’t rush this step. Take the time to let each side achieve a nice brown crust. When the pieces are browned, transfer them to a plate and brown the other two pieces. Add them to the plate as well and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, cumin and coriander, cinnamon stick, and chiles. Stir around for a few minutes, then pour in the chicken stock. Arrange the pork pieces on top of the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven.
Bake the pork for 2-3 hours, or until it’s very tender and pulls apart easily. Remove from the oven and transfer pork to a cutting board. Let cool while you finish the sauce. Remove the cinnamon stick from the pan and discard. With an immersion blender, puree the pan juices in the pan until mostly smooth. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and keep warm.
Pull the pork apart into bite-sized pieces and add them back to the pan. Serve the pork warm with pan juices. Store the pork and juices together in the refrigerator, tightly covered, in a narrow enough container to ensure the pork is covered with pan juices. Reheat slowly together in a saucepan, or fry pieces of the pork in a hot skillet until crispy.