Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: and -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mole Pulled Pork Tacos & Spanish rice

Happy New Year, readers.  Did you miss me? All four of you?

I haven’t blogged for a while, because as much baking & cooking as I did during Christmas it was all Christmas food, with Swedish recipes, and I don’t know how many of you really want a recipe for pickled-herring and beet salad?

Plus I just didn’t cook a lot of new stuff in the busyness of the Christmas season.  Most of the food I made had already been entered on the blog.  But it’s a new year, and I’m hoping to have a few more recipes up my cuffs.

I made this meal yesterday, and mostly made it to deliver to a family from our church that was recovering from a rather major car accident, and in my haste to make the food, I didn’t even think of blogging it, let alone photographing my progress.  So this will be mostly from memory, and you’ll just have to use your imagination.  And you know what pulled pork looks like.

[PS. This was edited a year later after the original posting to adjust the ingredients, because I made it again today and it was even better than the first version.  So here it is -- updated.  Please note that this is still by no means a fully authentic recipe.  At least it's a good pseudo recipe for the harried (or hairy) housewife.]

For this recipe, you’ll need a slow-cooker, or some kind of similar method of cooking your pork shoulder for 8 hours.  I happened to get an enormous 7.5 lb pork shoulder, far too large to fit inside my slow cooker, so I cut it in half.

4 lbs of pork shoulder, trim off some of the thickest fat
1 onion, sliced into thick rings
3 cloves garlic
2/3-1 cup water
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp smoked (or regular) paprika
1 square of bittersweet or unsweetened bakers' chocolate
1/2 can of tomato paste
1 chipotle pepper
1 tsp arbol chili powder
1-2 tsp salt (more to taste)
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup raisins
2-3 tbsp sesame seeds

Line the bottom of the slow cooker with onion slices and garlic cloves (no need to mince them.) Place pork on top of onions.

Mix all spices in water, and pour over the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Put tomato paste and chocolate square into the water, as well as the whole chipotle pepper, almonds, raisins and sesame seeds. 

Turn on low heat.  As it cooks down, the juices from the pork will simmer into the other spices and create a rich, and amazing sauce with a hint of smokey chocolate flavor.   Let it cook for 6 -8 hours, but before it completely falls apart, lift the meat out briefly and set it on a platter, pull out the chipotle pepper and discard it.  Use an immersion blender in the slow cooker to puree all the almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, onions and garlic and other chunks together.  Put the pork back in and continue cooking (cut in half if necessary to speed up the "fork tender".) 

Transfer the pork to a serving dish and shred with forks.  Drizzle rest of mole sauce on meat, and serve with tortillas or hard shell tacos.  Side dishes like refried beans, mixed salad greens, or shredded red cabbage, jicama and cilantro, sour cream and shredded monterey jack cheese are great accompaniments.

I often make an "easy Spanish rice” recipe to go with my Mexican dishes by putting one cup of pico de gallo (or other favorite salsa) into a rice cooker with 2 cups rice and 4 cups water, and 1 1/2 tsp of salt.


  1. cooking this right now for a end of the semester dinner. thanks for the recipe!

  2. Thanks -- let me know how you like it. I might make modifications to this next time I make it (like more or less cocoa, sugar, etc.) I've made it twice now, and been pretty happy overall.