You ain’t from around here, are ya, boy?

In Texas, people have been shot for serving nachos incorrectly.  Okay, that’s not true.  Sorry.  Closer to the truth, is the fact that those in the know will not pile a plate high with tortilla chips and a mountain of melted cheese and call themselves a Texan.  A cursory glance around the world of online nacho appreciation will reveal that discerning nacho lovers prefer their chips to be dressed and served individually.

This came as something of a revelation to me.  Granted, I’m a Greek-born, British citizen, raised on a combination of shepherds pie and olives (though not together), so there’s no reason that I would have any expertise in the nacho department.  That sounded odd, but stick with me.  I have always been ignorant in my cheese-melting bliss and have spent hours chomping through plates full of cheese-coated tortilla chips.  To my credit, I always spread the chips in a thin layer so as to coat each one with cheese, but still, there wasn’t a great deal of care involved.

With enough pulled pork in my fridge to feed my extended family, I knew it was time to try something fun with it.  I’ve seen other bloggers dress their nachos with cheese and a jalapeno and I’ve seen some pulled pork with cheese and barbecue sauce too.  As usual, I stacked the nachos my way.

I chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and sprinkled it onto each chip.  Next came the pulled pork followed by gorgeous Cheddar cheese and topped with a slice of jalapeno.  Straight into the oven until the cheese had melted and then straight into my belly!  They were very satisfying.  The sweet smokiness of the pork, the freshness of the coriander, the comfort of the cheese, and the crunch and spice of the jalapeno and the tortilla chip.  I have been converted.  It took a little bit of love and care, but it was so worth it.  Is it authentic?  I don’t know.  If you’re reading this and you’re from Texas, please don’t shoot me…

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Barbecue brunch bliss.

I don’t eat breakfast.  It’s not the choice of breakfast options that puts me off.  I like cereal and I like toast and I like most breakfast choices (though I did once turn my nose up at tuna salad in Kyoto- that’s not breakfast food!)  When I wake up, I just don’t feel like eating.  An hour is about the length of time needed for my body to realise that I’m no longer sleeping.  If I wake up close to lunch time, however, then you can pretty much forget everything I just said.  If lunch were a place, it would be my permanent residence.

Which brings us to brunch.  Brunch means different things to different people.  To me?  It’s an excuse to have lunch early (and if I’m clever, I get to have lunch too!)  Having made a stack of pulled pork, I chose to start the day off well by making full use of it in all its tasty glory.

I’ll just have to accept that what I made is not going to be everyone’s idea of tasty, but believe me, I enjoyed it a lot.  I toasted some wholemeal bread, slapped mayo on the bottom slice, piled up lambs lettuce, went crazy with the amount of pulled pork on top of that and finished it all off with a fried egg and a squirt of barbecue sauce.  Now tell me if that ain’t a way to get the day going!

Like I said, I don’t eat breakfast; but if the pulled pork lasts, you may see me at the breakfast table every darn morning!

Cherry chipotle pulled pork rolls.

“You’re gonna cook pork in Cherry Coke?”, my brother exclaimed.  “Why would you do that?”  Well, my little well-meaning bro, because it’s gonna taste great!  As you may have gathered, I’m a big brisket fan and I get quite excited at the prospect of cooking large pieces of meat over long periods of time.  I usually build up to these moments.  I’ll spend a few weeks just cooking regular meals and pottering around with sauces, cakes, bread and other recipes.  Then, I begin to get an idea in my head about the next slow-cooked meat dish and I think through all of the details and ingredients.  When it’s all clear in my head, I set a date, and that, my friends, is when I know that I won’t rest until that dish is cooked.  Today is that day.

When my dear brother comes round to visit (and therefore, to eat), I cook meat.  G is a big food fan, but has a special place in his stomach for meat.  He keeps his emotions well hidden for the most part, but meat can move him.  I’ve been planning to make some pulled pork and when I had a look online, I saw what could be the most comforting pulled pork recipe ever.  It won’t surprise you to learn that it came from The Pioneer Woman.  Being a southern girl, her recipe calls for Dr. Pepper, but I’ve always been a Cherry Coke kinda fella.  I figured that a good glug of Cherry Cola would be just the ticket for a big shoulder of pork.

So then, got my three-month old boy in his car seat, windows down and we drove over the hill towards the butcher’s with The Goonies chase theme playing just loud enough that he could sleep and daddy could feel giddy.  I got 1.5kg of pork, a bottle of Cherry Coke and hopped back in the car with a huge grin on my face.  Back home, it was less than five minutes before a lot of pork and plenty of flavour was in the oven for the long haul.

Once it was done, I decided to use it in a rather unexpected way.  I made little filo rolls!  I reckon these could be made in miniature and served as a starter.

So with a nod to The Pioneer Woman, I present one of the tastiest ways to enjoy pork shoulder.  I have a feeling that I’ll be posting another recipe or two this week using the pulled pork, unless I eat it all in one night, that is!

Cherry chipotle pulled pork rolls (pulled pork adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

1.5kg pork shoulder

500ml Cherry Coke

2 onions (quartered)

200g chipotles in adobo sauce

filo pastry

melted butter

salt

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The meat needs to cook for six hours, so start early!  Spread the onions on the bottom of a casserole and place the meat on top.  Rub plenty of salt onto the pork and then pour the chipotles over it.  Rub the sauce over the pork with the back of a spoon and then tip all of the Cherry Coke over it.  That bad boy is ready for the oven; 150 degrees Celsius for six hours.  It’s a good idea to turn the meat every hour or so to let all of that flavourful loveliness get into it.

When the pork is done, remove it from the gravy and use two forks to shred the soft meat.  Put all of the meat back in gravy and mix well.  I found that there was enough meat to soak up the gravy and my butcher had trimmed most of the fat of the pork.  This meant that I didn’t have to skim off excess fat from the gravy.  You may have to, depending on how fatty the cut of meat is.

Obviously, it’s gonna be hard to resist eating some of the pork, but once you’ve done that, move onto preparing the rolls.  Place a sheet of filo on a dry work top and gently score down the middle using a plastic spatula.  This will create two lengths that you can roll up.  Brush melted butter over the entire piece of filo and then spoon a generous amount of the pork at one end of the pastry.  Begin to roll the pastry up and gently tuck in the sides as you go.  Place the rolls gently onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with more melted butter.  Cook them for thirty minutes at 190 degrees Celsius on the middle shelf until golden.

It’s up to you how many you make.  With 1.5kg of boneless pork shoulder, you could make one heck of a lot!  I made six good-sized rolls with a generous amount of pork inside.  That’s because I’ve got plans for the remaining pulled pork and filo pastry.  I served the rolls with a little salad and a cool dollop of mayo.  My word, I was a happy lad.  Don’t worry, I saved a few for my little brother.  He ain’t heavy…but a he will be after a few of these beauties!