For those who, like me, are fashion-challenged, it's all about accessories. Need to perk up a boring shirt? Grab a scarf, and earrings! I implement this philosophy with alarming frequency, and so far it has served me reasonably well. Of course, I could always just buy nicer clothes, but then I'd have to iron.
When it comes to food, garnishes are scarves. They're your earrings, your belt with the chunky buckle, your bracelet with the sweet, little charms. Toss some fresh, colorful garnishes on a gray piece of meat and you can even serve it to company. The meat still has to taste good, obviously, but from a purely aesthetic point of view it can be the equivalent of an ugly t-shirt with deodorant-stained underarms. If you garnish it well, no one will care.
This pork is your deodorant-stained T.
So how do you achieve this enticing result? By unceremoniously plopping a pork butt in your slow cooker with an onion, some garlic, and a jar of salsa. Over the course of the day, while you field emails, drink a latte, and get yelled at by your boss, the pork cooks, softening into a tender porcine puddle. You'll be able to shred it with just the slightest pull of two dinner forks.
Then the fun begins. Accessorize with lime, avocado, warm corn tortillas and fresh salsa. Or go Lady Gaga, adding sour cream, olives, fresh cilantro, and cheese. At this point, the amount of effort is your call, the hard work already done. The deodorant stain has long since been forgotten.
Where did she buy that fabulous scarf?
Recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Soft Tacos with accessories
I got the idea to plop meat in the slow cooker and pour a jar of salsa over it from my friend Jess Thomson, who made these beef and egg breakfast burritos a few years ago. She used beef stew meat, I use pork butt, but the idea is the same. The meat slowly cooks, and its connective tissue dissolves, producing a tender, perfect-for-tortillas result.
N.B. If you refrigerate any leftover pork, the fat will solidify in a somewhat unappealing manner. Consider scraping it off before reheating the meat.
Serves 6, with leftovers
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Salt and pepper
3 pounds pork shoulder (may be called pork butt, which is part of the shoulder)
One 12-ounce jar of your favorite salsa (I use salsa verde)
Corn tortillas, warmed
Any combination of: fresh lime, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced olives, fresh salsa, cilantro, or beans
Place the onion and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper, and lay it atop the vegetables. Pour the salsa over the pork. Cover, turn slow cooker to low setting, and cook for 9 hours, or longer. Remove meat to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. (You may discard the liquid.)
Serve pork with warm corn tortillas and garnishes of choice.