There’s only one problem with slow-cookers, but it’s a big one: you have to spend all afternoon smelling the delicious food and watching it bubble away and cook itself and you can’t touch it for another 6 hours. This is no exception. It starts smelling just ridiculous but you can’t eat it because you’ll get that pork disease that I always think is schistosomiasis but it isn’t. So if you make this, I know it’s hard, but leave it alone until it’s done. Don’t get pork disease.
The recipe came from Better Recipes, where it won an award. Understandably so! The pork is great, and really, what isn’t better in a taco? I’m not as sold on the slaw that goes with it, but partly, I’m sure, that’s due to my having to substitute coriander for cilantro, because I can’t abide chopping the stuff due to how it murders me in the sinuses. So it was maybe a little questionable from the get-go in terms of me liking it – even if everything worked out, it would still have that flavour going on in there. But it does add a crunch and a brightness to overcome the sweetness of the hoisin-y sauce the pork simmered in. That sauce, by the way, is just out of hand delicious. I had extra when I was putting away the leftovers, too much to put with the pork without making it soup, and I was putting off and putting off throwing away the excess, sneaking a spoonful here and there under the guise of testing whether it had cooled down yet.
I halved it and it JUST fit in my slow-cooker. Also, my supermarket didn’t have any pork tenderloin that wasn’t pre-seasoned For Your Convenience, which, thanks for assuming what I wanted to do with it, Stop & Shop. So I used pork chops on the bone instead. I don’t know that either of those cuts of meat are slow-cooker dreams since they don’t start out that tough. But it certainly doesn’t ruin them (shh, if you’re a pro and you know that it does, don’t spoil it for me). I upped the vinegar a little to cut through the stickiness of the hoisin sauce, which can sometimes be a little too cloying for me. And the coriander/cilantro substitute thing, of course.
Slow-Cooker Asian Pork Tacos
for the pork
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp ginger (about a 1.5″ piece… hey, that’s handy – 1″ per tbsp), minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 lb pork of some sort, I used bone-in pork chops
for the slaw
1 bag broccoli slaw (or less; I have tons left over)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/6 cup, whatever that is, olive oil
2 tbsp coriander
for the pork
Whisk together everything from the pork ingredients list except for the pork itself (obviously) in your slow cooker.
Pop the pork in, making sure that sauce gets on all of all of it.
Cook on low for 6 hours.
Take the pork out and shred it with two forks.
Spoon sauce over it before serving.
for the slaw
Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, and coriander until emulsified.
Toss the broccoli slaw through it until everything is well coated.
Serve the pork and slaw on warmed tortillas.
So this was supposed to be General-“Tso”‘s-flavoured pork. “Tso” is in quotes because everywhere you go that has this invention, it’s got a slightly different name. The first place I encountered it was in Montreal, where it was General Tao; I’ve seen it here as General Gao depending on where you go – either way, it’s the same sticky, sweet, dayglo-orange nuggets of deep-fried chicken (I’ve only seen it commercially as chicken, anyway). This… was not that. I’m pretty much happy about that; I was never so in love with General whoever and his chicken. Also, I suspect it’s made-up-Chinese – like, here, North Americans, this fits your definition of “Chinese food,” it’s got an exotic-but-still-pronounceable name – boom. Done. I’ve heard rumours that it actually does refer to something that exists in China, but the way it comes out here just seems… I don’t know. Like something you wouldn’t find somewhere else. I’m glad this came out differently.