Chanchito (Peruvian Pulled Pork) with Onion Tomato Salad

Pulled Pork

I’ve had the pleasure of spending extensive time in Per°, without a doubt one of the culinary gems of South America. Per°’s food reflects numerous influences, from Spanish to Caribbean to Asian. On the last night of my most recent visit, a close friend took me to T’anta, a Peruvian tapas restaurant owned by Gast³n Acurio, a chef known worldwide for his ingenuity. The meal was fantastic-perhaps the best I’ve ever had! This recipe for Peruvian Pulled Pork was inspired by my favorite dish of the evening.

For the pork

1 can chipotle peppers in adobo

2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast

1 sweet onion, roughly chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, diced

2 dried bay leaves

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the onion tomato salad

1 large red onion, halved, thinly sliced

2-3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

1-2 red jalape±os finely diced (optional)

Juice from 3 limes

1½ tsp. salt

Finely chop two to five chipotle peppers-the more you add, the spicier your roast. Place the whole roast, onion, garlic, and all the spices in a slow cooker. Pour in just enough water to cover the roast. Set the slow cooker to low and let it cook for eight hours. (Alternately, cut the pork into two-inch cubes and combine with the other ingredients and enough water to cover them in an oven-safe dish. Roast the pork in a 350-degree oven for about two-and-a-half hours, or until it starts to shred apart.) Meanwhile, get all of the ingredients for the salad ready; wait to combine them until about five minutes before eating, so that the onions and tomatoes remain somewhat crisp. Remove the pork from the cooking liquid, and shred lightly. The crispness of the red onion contrasts with the tenderness of the pork. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes and black beans.

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