Sunday, February 6, 2022

Pork shoulder with anchos and orange

[First posted 5/21/2010; hence awful pictures. But really good pig!] 

Eric had five helpings. He may have had six. It's a bit like War and Peace. I can't remember whether I've read it six times. It may be five or it may be seven. If I read it first in 1994, and it's fourteen years later, once every couple of could be seven. Or six, since I could almost read it again. The point is, after the fourth time, does it matter? 

I kept telling him he'd be sick, but was very happy to keep spooning out meaty pieces from the large clay bowl where the pig, long fallen from its bones, was lying in the dark sauce of ancho, tomato, caramelized onion, Turkish dark pepper, lime, orange, thyme, oregano, brown sugar, pepper. With full-fat, organic sour cream to grace its rich, sweet, peppery corners, it was a bowl of very delicious pork.

The idea (pig/orange/tomato combo) came originally from Diana Kennedy's The Art of Mexican Cooking. Then I winged it.

Pork Shoulder with Anchos amd Orange
Feeds 6 - 8

Start prep at 10am in the morning. This is an all-day pig.

1 pork shoulder, skinned and slashed deeply (2")
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black 
2 Tbsp brown sugar
5 tomatoes, broiled till black (it sweetens them), keep skins on
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
Half a head of garlic, cloves peeled and flattened
2 oranges, juice squeezed and pulp reserved
2 limes or lemons, juice squeezed
1 orange, thinly sliced
4 ancho chiles, soaked in boiling water, then sliced into ribbons. Remove stalks, keep seeds.
2 Tbsp Urfa biber
5 stalks thyme 
5 stalks oregano

In a deep roasting dish, season the surface of the slashed pig with salt and pepper and all the sugar. Place broiled tomatoes whole on top of shoulder and squash down. Pour orange and lime juice over this, and add any orange pulp as well as the sliced orange. Tuck onion, garlic, sliced anchos and seeds, and herbs under and around the shoulder. Cover tightly with foil.

Assuming you're eating the pig that night, transfer the roasting dish to 250'F oven. Go out to work, if that's what you do. Worry not.

At about 6pm uncover your pig. Pour the significant amount of cooking liquid into a saucepan and reduce until you have about two cups. You may want to add some lime juice or salt or sugar, or another (soaked) ancho. Make sure there are no stray bones lurking amongst the melting meat. If you have a blender, blend the reduced sauce till smooth and return to heat to keep warm. Meantime place pig in a serving platter. Pour over sauce. Serve in bowls, with sour cream alongside.

Eric said that this is better than the Ginger Ale pig. Mimi looked shocked. Blasphemy.

Precede with guacamole, accompany with margaritas and follow with mangoes.

2 parts Tequila
2 parts fresh lime juice
1 part Cointreau 

Shake like the blazes with plenty of ice. Pour.


  1. I like this recipe! Never tried oranges in my pork recipes that are like this.

  2. Marie, this sounds delicious and I intend to make it soon (as soon as I can get the pork shoulder from a local grower/butcher). I pulled the Diana Kennedy cook book off the shelf (The Essential Cuisines of Mexico) to try to find the recipe that you (probably loosley) followed. I can't figure it out. Which was it? Maybe it is in a different one of her cook books? Your friend who ate the 5-6 helpings had the right atttitude...

  3. OK, Marie, I see from your post that I have the wrong cook book... I'll make it as you've described it.

  4. This is absolutely delicious, and not exactly light :-) Good luck Mimi, let me know how it turns out! I've used ribs, too, you know, for this. It's still a great combination.


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