Food & dining

The confident cook

Recipe: Shred chipotle-braised pork and serve it with your favorite starch or tuck it into tacos

Chipotle-braised pork shoulder
Karoline Boehm Goodnick for the Boston Globe
Chipotle-braised pork shoulder

A versatile braise that is slightly sweet and smoky, and just a bit spicy, this dish begins with boneless pork shoulder (also called Boston butt) cut into large hunks, and cooked with chipotle peppers, which are smoked jalapenos often packed in a tangy red adobo sauce. Customize the heat with the number of chiles you use, and add the sauce that clings to them. The meat is also seasoned with lemon and orange juice, oregano, crushed tomatoes, and beer. It cooks for 1½ hours until it is fork tender. Shred it and serve with long-grain white rice and soft tortillas — or potatoes, polenta, or another starch — or use it as a taco filling.

Chipotle-braised pork shoulder

Serves 6

4pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
Salt, to taste
2tablespoons olive oil
1onion, chopped
3cloves garlic, chopped
2chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or more to taste, chopped
2tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 oranges
1can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
12ounces light beer or lager
½cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Set oven at 350 degrees.

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2. Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks. Sprinkle with salt.

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3. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Working in small batches, brown the pork for 3 to 5 minutes on a side. Transfer to a plate. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon oil from the pan.

4. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Return browned pork to the pan. Add the chipotle peppers with the sauce that clings to them, oregano, lemon and orange juice, tomatoes, and beer. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven.

5. Cook for 1½ hours, or until the pork is tender when pierced with a fork. Let the pork sit in the sauce for 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle.

6. Using 2 forks, shred the pork. Return it to the sauce and bring to a boil to reheat it. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at kboehmgoodnick@gmail.com