Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Crispy Iberian Pork Bites

When all else fails, serve dinner on colorful toothpicks.
So easy, very little hands on time, relatively neat to eat one-handed while doing homework, and totally customizable with whatever you happen to have on hand in the spice cabinet, meet your new best friend on a busy school night.
No lemons? Use limes. Not feeling the cumin and paprika? How about lime juice, soy sauce, freshly grated ginger, and a splash of fish sauce for an Asian vibe instead? Use the Spanish-style version below as a jumping off point but then feel free to play around. The flavor profile possibilities are limitless. Try lime, chili powder, cumin, and fresh cilantro for a taco-like feel. Or how about lemon juice, red wine vinegar, thyme, and oregano for a Greek take? Ooh, serve those with some sliced tomatoes and cubes of good Feta cheese. Whatever you do, don't forget the cute toothpicks.

Crispy Iberian Pork Bites
adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of some, but not all fat
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tbsp olive or canola oil

Cut the meat into 1x1-inch cubes. Put the meat in a large, nonreactive bowl and toss with all of the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Scatter the meat on a rimmed roasting pan in a single layer. Roast for about an hour, stopping to stir the meat occasionally. You want it crisp and brown on all sides, but not burned. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon. Serve on toothpicks with lemon wedges and/or Cumin Yogurt Dip.

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