Tuesday evening was spent preparing for Wednesday night's dinner. An over night soak in a very flavorful marinade was needed.
Ginger Braised Pork w/ Habanero Pesto
(Previously posted here, this version has been updated a touch)
2-3lb pork butt roast or pork tenderloin, prepped according to instructions
9 cloves garlic
5 inch piece, ginger, cut in large chunks
2 bunches of cilantro, roots removed
1 bunch green onions, roots and tough green bits removed (leaving about 3 inch pieces)
½ onion, peeled.
12 oz pineapple juice
6 oz soy sauce
2 habenero peppers (seeded-optional depending on your heat preference)
2 jalapeno peppers (ditto)
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Create the Marinade:
1: Throw together in your food processor: garlic, ginger, 1 bunch cilantro, green onions and onion. Whiz quickly until it comes together. Add the pineapple juice and the soy sauce, quickly whir together. Pour into a large zip top bag placed in a bowl.
Prep the Pork:
2: Remove excess fat and as much of the connective tissue as you can. The more you can remove, the more tender and ‘melt in your mouth’ the final dish will be. Cut the pork into large (3inch) pieces.
The first time I made this, I couldn’t find Pork Tenderloin, so I went with Pork Butt. The Pork Butt was a great substitute, but really is full of a lot of extra fat and other unsavory parts. When all was said and done, the prep took about an hour, but was worth it. This time when I prepared it, I had a Pork Tenderloin and it took take less time to prepare. My preference is actually for the Pork Butt; more flavor I think!
3: Once the meat has been prepped, add it to the bag of marinade, seal up and set in the fridge for up 18-24 hours.
4: After marinating over night, preheat your oven to 300. Get out a large, oven-proof pan and place over high heat on the stove top. Add a thin layer of oil. Remove the meat the marinade (do not discard marinade) and pat dry. Add to the pan cautiously and sear on each side. Work if batches if necessary, don’t crowd the pan.
5: When the final batch of meat has finished searing, carefully add the marinade. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Check after an hour. Turn the meat.
Make the Habanero Pesto:
6: In your food processor, add the Habenero and Jalapeno peppers, the 2nd bunch of cilantro, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt & pepper. Whiz together to form a coarse paste. Turn back on and stream in the olive oil until smooth and silken, about ½ a cup.
8: When the meat is tender…fork tender, serve over shapely pasta with a dollop of pesto and sour cream. Swirl together to blend all the flavors. Enjoy!
When I made this the first time, the texture was the same, soft, tender morsels of meat, but the sauce was a deeper mahogany color and thicker, richer sauce. This time I had a paler version, less color and the sauce was looser. Once it was all stirred together (sauce, sour cream, pesto) it didn't really matter, but instead of a 10, it was an 8?!?! Something I'll work on for the next round!