coconut-braised pork shoulder

23 Apr

paleo coconut braised malaysian pork It’s done. We’re off to San Antonio. I can’t really believe it. I’m…I’m going to be a Texan. An upstate New Yorker, a Massachusettsan, a Coloradan, a Texan. Right now I’m excited about Joe having a really awesome job that will let me work more on my own crap, perpetual summer, a never ending growing season, throwing a quarter of our shit away when we pack, having a house that I can clean every surface of before moving our stuff in. So that leaves the stuff I’m not so excited about: leaving the mountains right when I am just dying to go backpacking, driving with two yowling, frothing-at-the-mouth cats, packing, loading, driving, driving, unpacking, perpetual summer, leaving a really cool burgeoning food and beer scene, leaving my new gym, leaving my wonderful friends. It’s going to be really sad. What kind of people am I going to meet there? What do they like to do?
malaysian rendang ingredients mortar and pestle malaysian Before I start sobbing, let’s move our focus to pork. Malaysian pork. Which, I realize is offensive to like 2/3 of that country. They should try it. Come onnnn what’s the big fuss about? Uh, okay anyway, this dish reminds me of a southeast Asian restaurant I used to love in Boston – and makes me realize how little I’ve explored that general area of cuisine here in Denver. Fuck, there’s no time. We’re taking a trip to San Antonio next weekend to try to figure out where the heck to live, then Joe’s leaving the next weekend – a place to live or not. I suppose we should work our way up Federal, eating at some ethnic restaurant every night from here on out. Tall order. I’m at least staying until mid June, so that’s relieving to me. I’ll have lots of nights to go out with friends and lots of weekends to explore parts of Colorado I never got around to. Anyone want to go to the Western slope with me and go to the wineries and go to cherry orchards to try to scavenge up the very first, probably not-yet-ripe sweet cherries?? Anyone want to backpack with me somewhere I don’t even care where?
local pastured colorado pork paleo braised coconut milk pork Is this blog going to turn into a Tex-Mex blog? A neverending exploration of Tex-Mex Slop Combination A, Combination B, Combination C, and so on to infinity? Or will I be able to keep my sanity and continue to make such wonderful dishes as this meltingly soft pork with lemongrass, ginger, galangal, and garlicky coconut milk sauce? Only time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime, you really ought to make this recipe. And it’s worth taking a trip to Whole Foods or an ethnic market to get lemongrass and galangal. It’s not such a pain, I promise! There are two shortcuts I built right in here – ground turmeric if you can’t find turmeric root and jarred galangal if you can’t find galangal root. You could also use jarred lemongrass. As for the bok choy, you can just chop that up and sauté it in coconut oil. Joe took the main picture for me when I was at work. It wasn’t supposed to include the bok choy. That’s what I get.

coconut-braised pork (with bok choy)

2 large shallots, chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves peeled, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
6 garlic cloves
6 star anise
2 inches ginger, coarsely chopped
4 small hot chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 teaspoons minced galangal
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes, any bone saved
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup water
5 kaffir lime leaves (or grate some lime zest and squeeze half a lime in the pot)
2 teaspoons sea salt
scallions for garnish

1 bunch of bok choy

1. In a mortar or a food processor, grind the shallots, lemongrass, garlic, star anise, ginger, chiles, and galangal. Mix in the turmeric.

2. Heat coconut oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat. Sauté the ground spice mix for several minutes until nice and fragrant. Add the pork chunks and stir around. Let brown for a couple minutes, then stir again and do the same. No need to be perfect about the browning.

3. Add the coconut milk, water, kaffir lime leaves, salt, and the pork bone if you had one in your shoulder cut to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3 – 4+ hours. Season with more salt if you’d like (I did).

Serve with sautéed bok choy and top with chopped scallions. Remove the kaffir lime leaves if they’re not obliterated in the pot.


6 Responses to “coconut-braised pork shoulder”

  1. Mark S. April 23, 2013 at 11:09 #

    Good luck in Texas!! Been meaning to ask out your trip to Chicago.

    • Julie April 23, 2013 at 15:12 #


      The Chicago trip was great! I should have posted about it. Maybe next.

  2. robin April 23, 2013 at 16:42 #

    Well, I have been enjoying your writing for too long without properly introducing myself (I’m Robin, how do you do?), but this post needs a response. Just because omg, I can taste the pork already and I have everything I need except the pork so I have instructed the husband to bring one home so I must thank you in advance….and, just to say that some people do end up in Texas through no fault of our own and end up liking it. Hope you are one of us!

    • Julie April 23, 2013 at 21:37 #

      Hello, Robin! I’m well, how do you do? 🙂

      I’m hoping two things: that the pork came out swimmingly and that you’re correct on Texas. Where do you live there?

  3. robin April 24, 2013 at 16:21 #

    The pork did come out swimmingly, as I was certain it would. I had to leave the house for a while as it cooked because the aroma tormented me. I served it with frozen stir fry vegetables because I will only buy fresh vegetables from the Asian market at this time of year, and it is an hour away, so no bok choy for us today. But the pork was a masterpiece. Thank you.

    I live out on the boonies northwest of Fort Worth. I wish I could welcome you to Texas in person, but since I can’t, I will give you the (unsolicited) advice my mom always gave me when I had to make a difficult move: Try to bloom where you are planted.

    Safe travels!

    • Julie April 24, 2013 at 16:37 #

      So happy to hear about the pork! Yeah, whatever vegetable is just fine, really I would not have included it in the recipe posted if it hadn’t have been for Joe’s picture. I thought the pork spoke for itself.

      I love your mom’s advice. Love it. And I will try to make literal plants bloom as well when I’m there.

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