As I pulled my crock pot out to make Citrus Pulled Pork Tacos and noticed that the lid was covered with a thick layer of dust, I felt a tiny wave of shame. Here I am, ever on the hunt for a weeknight meal, and yet I have totally abandoned the working parent’s central tool toward fast and easy meals, one that does your cooking for you while you toil for the man.
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This recipe is about as good as it gets, because the bang you get from the prep, while minimal, is enormous, and really honestly your active time (a term I dislike because active is in the eye of the beholder; I consider wiping up all my spills, rooting around madly for my cumin and yelling, “WHO TOOK MY DANG CUMIN?” at no one in particular pretty active) is about ten minutes.
I put together this rub a few minutes before leaving the house. Yes, I finally bought onion powder, but I did not have “granulated garlic” so I just chopped a few cloves finely. I rubbed that roast all up, and put it in my pan of hot oil (olive, as my heat was not super high) and went to brush my teeth.
I’m back! I turned it, and then spent the next few minutes making sure everyone else had brushed their teeth, then came downstairs to sear the ends while simultaneously supervising a backpack pack up. Are you seeing the multitasking possibilities here?
I covered the meat as instructed with water; I somehow failed to put the cooker on high, and instead made this on the low setting for about 10 hours, arriving home to a slightly smoky, delicious smell. My husband felt this led to slightly dry meat; I found it tasty, well-seasoned, falling-apart carnita meat that made me pine for my Los Angeles taco truck.
Delicious. But I haven’t gotten to the really good part yet! The slaw you put together for these tacos is so divine, you may find yourself spooning up the left over bits without any meat at all.
To make it, I did buy already pre-cut slaw, keeping in the weeknight spirit of things, and used a little less ginger than the recipe called for, all mixed up in under five minutes. The lime served as a perfect acid dominatrix to the surrendering pork, and the bit of crunch gave a texture compliment as well.
I tried corn and flour tortillas with this; corn is much better.
Friends, let’s recap: minimal prep, almost no clean up, limes exciting the hell out of you in the middle of the winter, tacos!
After you’re done, I suggest some ice cream straight from the pint.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
Photo by James Ransom
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).