Bubbling Caldron of Enchanted Elixir

Lest you all begin to fear that this kitchen kleric is a kloset vegan, I offer you this tasty preparation.

Get a pork shoulder. If you can find it, get boar (darker meat, more flavor).

You will also need lemon grass, hot peppers and kaffir lime leaves. Chop the lemon grass coarsely.

Put the shoulder into a Dutch oven fat side down with the chopped lemon grass and leaves on top and the hot peppers down at the bottom (when the vessel begins to fill with fat and water, the capsaicin in the hot peppers will bond with the fat so that the heat can infuse the whole dish). Cover with the lid and place in a 250 degree (or lower if you have lots and lots of time) oven for at least six hours. If you can stand it, 200 degrees and 12 hours is better.

Open the vessel. You should have several inches of water, fat and gelatin. Use a pair whatever relevant tools you have handy to pull the pork into the liquid. If you’re having difficulty with this, you may want to actually cook it longer, not all the fat and connective tissue have melted yet. Once everything is shredded, add a generous amount of Thai basil leaves and return the vessel, uncovered, to a very, very hot (at least 450) oven.

Just get a vigorous bubble going, and then you’re done.

Serve the shredded meat in a small pool of the broth you have produced, but not as if this is a soup. Let people salt to their own taste. I happen to like it with almost none, myself.

It is also possible to use the broth to make a Thai style curry and then you can pair this with steamed Jasmine rice or rice noodles.

Sorry, I’m drooling, I need to stop writing.

3 thoughts on “Bubbling Caldron of Enchanted Elixir

  1. How do you think this would do in a crock-pot? Though the oven might be welcome mid-winter… 😉

  2. Well, the key here is precise management of temperature. You basically want to be as close to 210-215 as you can stand to deal with, and you don’t want it to fluctuate much. If you can get that kind of control in a crock pot (I don’t know), then go for it.

    I mean, we’re well into triple digit weather down here and I had the oven on at 250 most of the day and didn’t really notice. By contrast, if I make a pizza, which only takes 10 minutes to cook (but a long time to preheat and cool down the oven) that’ll push up the overall house temp for hours.

    Not sure I could fit a six pound pork shoulder in my crock pot, but your butcher may sell smaller ones.

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