As much as I adore my job, I tend to get the Sunday evening blues and have found as of late that labor-intensive cooking projects prove to be wonderfully soothing. It might be a bread knead, a painstakingly crimped lard crust pie, or, as it's manifested for the second week in a row, a unexpectedly soul-stirring risotto. Emphasis is on the "stirring" part, I assure you, as two times now, I've darned near sprained a forearm muscle with the non-stop drag of the wooden spoon through the ever-thickening starch. It's worth it, though -- the constant, meditative motion -- when it suddenly, palpably, audibly even, transforms the individual rice grains into a sumptuous, silken mass. It's the sort of culinary alchemy that transforms me from a solitary kitchen wretch into someone who suddenly wants to feed everyone she's ever met.
Last week's Acorn Squash Risotto from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano cookbook was a rousing success with my husband, as evidenced by this habitual leftover-snubber's willingness to dig back in on subsequent weeknights. This week's pulled pork variation, made on a whim, was a hearty treat tonight, and I've got a sneaking suspicion the flavors will meld well over the next few days.
Try for yourself. My Pulled Pork Risotto recipe is after the jump, and if you've got any soothing cooking rituals you'd like to share, I'd be more than grateful to hear about 'em.
Sunday Night Pulled Pork Risotto
1/2 pork shoulder
Red or white wine
2 bottles of beer
2 medium onions, one halved, one diced
Several dashes Worcestershire sauce
Bottled or homemade barbecue sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
Red wine vinegar to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Place pork shoulder fat side up in slow cooker with one peeled, halved onion. Pour in 1/3-1/2 bottle red or white wine (reserving 1/2 cup), two bottles of beer, several dashes on Worcestershire sauce, and enough water to nearly, but not completely cover the fat cap. Turn the slow cooker on high for 6 hours, remove the shoulder from the braising liquid and set aside to cool.
Strain the braising liquid, skim off the fat, and measure out 8 cups. If there is less than 8 cups, then add beef stock until there's 8 cups of liquid. Pour it into a covered pan and keep at a low simmer on the stovetop.
When the pork has cooled, remove and discard the onion, fat cap and bones. Shred the pork with your hands or two forks and coat with your favorite barbecue sauce. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, and cook the diced onion into it's translucent. Add the rice and stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes, or until the grains are lightly toasted. Stir in 1/2 cup wine, and once that's absorbed, stir in the liquid 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and waiting until the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next portion.
When 4 cups of liquid have been added, stir in the sauced pork, then continue to add liquid and stir until the mixture is very creamy, but individual grains still have a small bit of give when bitten.
Season to taste with red wine vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.
Filed Under: Recipes
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