Contains: Nightshades. Is: Gluten-free, grain free, Whole30, Paleo.
This recipe is Mexican-influenced, using Guajillo peppers and optional Arbol peppers. And, except for the onions, all the ingredients here are New World in origin.
That whole shoulder end of the porker is my absolute favorite part of the hog. Whether country-style ribs, picnic or butt roast, this is the epitome of good meat. Not understanding why some folk decide to process this part into pork-burger, smoke it, or always want it totally shredded up. Yes, a smoked ham is good for a batch of company, and I guess the tenderloin is fine (especially if done sous vide, because that cut is unforgiving if under or over-cooked), but nothing, except maybe a good ham hock (not even bacon) beats the shoulder! If you are homesteading and raising your own pork, or buying half a hog (as I’ve done, and which this portion comes from) don’t merely grind this portion up in a misguided effort to make pork “last”. I’d sooner do that to the tenderloin or an un-smoked hind (ham) leg!!!!
(I will be making shredded pork shoulder from some leftovers here for tacos, see the planned follow-up recipe….)
You can certainly play around with dried peppers depending on what you have to hand, and regarding any heat tolerance issues you, your family, or guests may have.
Prep Time: 20 minutes.
Cook Time: 15 min, searing. 20 min the onions/sauce. Approx. 6.5 – 7.5 hours to roast.
Rest Time: 15 minutes.
Serves: Around 6.
Pork Shoulder Roast with Pumpkin, Peppers, and Onion
- 1 pork bone-in shoulder roast, between 3.5 – 5 pounds..
- 1 large or two medium onions, coarsely chopped.
- 1 can (15 ounces / 425 grams) pureed pumpkin.
- 2 dried Guajillo peppers. Cut off stem and pour out seeds (discard seeds / stem). Chop into 1 inch or so (3 cm) segments.
- 0-3 dried Arbol peppers. Chop off stem, cut in half, discard seeds. These are hotter so go by taste preference.
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano.
- 1.5 teaspoons mild chili powder.
- 1/2 teaspoons allspice.
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea or Kosher salt.
- 4 potatoes, I used Yukon gold. If you use Russets, as they tend to be larger, you can use two. If a gold potato, no need to peel. If Russets, your choice. Chop into 1.5 inch / 3 or so cm cubes.
- Extra salt and ground pepper, to taste, when about to serve.
Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Place the prepared dried peppers into a bowl of hot or tepid water, for at least 45 minutes.
In a skillet heated medium/medium high, or until a drop of water sizzles, brown the pork shoulder on all sides, starting with the fattiest side first (you thus won’t need to add oil.) Three – 5 minutes each side. Brown but not blacken.
Set aside into the oven pan, fattier side up.
Add the onion to the skillet, and cook until lightly browned, 15-20 minutes.
To onion, add the pumpkin, reducing temperature to medium low – so that the pumpkin doesn’t burn. Mix, and add in the seasonings. Turn heat to simmer.
Using a small mini-blender or a hand immersion blender, blend the peppers with about 50 mL water from their soaking liquid. You can then run this through a sieve to remove bits of skin, but you don’t need to – I didn’t. Add this pepper paste to the pumpkin onion etc. material, and stir together.
Baste and layer the shoulder with the pumpkin/onion/seasoning.
Place the meat into the pre-heated oven, and IMMEDIATELY drop the temperature to 250 F. (Don’t open the oven for at least the next three hours.)
As for the potatoes: Add them in when you have approximately 1.5 – 2 hours left to cook. Spook the gravy / drippings over, so they remain moist during the rest of the cooking process.
Allow to cook for about 6-7 hours, checking towards the end of that time that the meat is not getting “shreddy”, as the goal is to keep this as a roast. (At least for the first meal taken off this shoulder.) Tender, but holding together.
Remove from oven, test for your preferred done-ness, add a little salt and pepper if desired, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes prior to carving and serving.
Garnish with optional cilantro or parsley. (I had neither, so I added pea shoots for the photography.)