published Friday, February 18th, 2011

One flavorful cut: Multiple dishes

By Carol Mighton Haddix

Chicago Tribune

Quick-cooking burgers. Fast boneless chicken breasts. Speedy chops. The usual meat-case choices can get boring. Consider the pork shoulder. It has twice the flavor of those other cuts of meat.

And it comes with another bonus. Its size. Weighing 3 to 4 pounds or more, this hefty cut can provide meals for days. Recently, I carried one home, trimmed off some fat and covered it with a rub of cumin, smoked paprika, lime juice, salt and pepper. A quick sear on all sides in a Dutch oven browned it nicely, then I added chopped onions to the pot, covered it and tucked it into a 325 F oven. Three hours later, the meat was falling off the bone, ready to be sliced or shredded and drizzled with the defatted pan juices and onions.

This kind of tenderness from slow cooking is hard to find these days but worth pursuing. The meat can be packed into small storage bags, moistened with its juices, frozen and saved for quick weeknight meals. It can flavor a pasta, a risotto, a barbecue sandwich (topped with slaw). It will add savory flavor to a vegetable soup, a chili or a taco. It’s a treasure for thrifty cooks.

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