Delicious slow-cooker orange pork tacos with broccolini. A fresh dinner, especially perfect for Spring and Fall eating and ideal for #TacoTuesday.
Spring in my part of the world is an interesting time. One day it’s almost summer-like and the next day, winter rears its ugly head again. It’s a time of weather transition and a time of eating transition, too.
These tacos are a perfect example of that. In the winter, I make this same slow-cooker orange pork, but I serve it over brown rice or couscous. Now that we are having a bit warmer weather (at least every other day!), I’m looking for something a bit lighter and brighter, but still with a little bit of substance. So I decided to take that pork and taco-ize it.
The delicious moist and tangy, orange slow-cooked pork is combined with fresh broccolini, cooked just until tender-crisp. A few carrot shavings and diced red onion are added for more flavour and colour and then it’s served with a delicious jalapeno-orange sauce to finish the dish.
We all loved the combination and I think it’s perfect seasonal transition food!
Cook’s Notes for Slow-Cooker Orange Pork Tacos with Broccolini
You can cook the broccolini either in a steamer or in the microwave. To microwave, place flat on a plate. Add a splash of water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave 1-1 1/2 minutes, or until tender crisp. If you can’t find broccolini, thinly sliced broccoli can be substituted.
Pork shoulder is a wonderfully economical meat, especially when it’s on sale. Try to cut off as much of the fat as you can get at and remove any bone before slow-cooking. Even at that, a bit of fat will cook in to the sauce. That’s a good thing for wonderfully moist meat, but if you’d like to remove a bit of it, let your pork stand in the sauce for a bit, the fat will quickly float to the top and can be spooned off before serving. If you are making ahead and you will be re-heating your pork anyway, you can make it even easier by placing the bowl in the freezer or just refrigerating the pork in the sauce. The fat will solidify around the edges and can be easily spooned off.
You could also use a pork loin roast for this. It’s not quite as moist, due to being much leaner, but it’s still lovely.
Be sure to store any left-over pork in the sauce, so it doesn’t dry out.
Slow-Cooker Orange Pork Tacos with Broccolini
For the Orange Pork:
- 4 lb. pork shoulder any bone removed, excess fat trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp. red-pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 1 sprig rosemary or 1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Jalapeno Orange Sauce:
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper seeded and roughly chopped
- Zest from 1/2 of a medium naval orange
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper
To assemble tacos:
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup carrot shavings shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 8 small tortillas
- 1 small orange cut into wedges, for serving
Generously season pork with salt and pepper and place in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix together the red-pepper flakes, marmalade, vinegar, rosemary, and garlic. Pour over pork. Cover and cook on low until meat is pull-apart tender, about 8 hours (or cook on medium-high for 3-4 hours).
For the Jalapeno Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary. Remove to a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Transfer pork to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and break up ("pull") with two forks. Strain sauce through a fine sieve, discarding solids. Skim fat from surface of sauce (*If you have time, it's easier to spoon off the fat if you place it in the freezer for a bit and let it solidify.) Return sauce to the bowl with the pork.
Steam or microwave the broccolini until tender-crisp.
To assemble tacos: As the "sauce" for the taco is thin, spoon pork on to tortilla using a slotted spoon, so your pork is moist but so that you're not adding too much liquid to the taco. Top pork with broccolini, shaved carrot and diced red onion. Top it all with a dollop of jalapeno sauce. Serve with a garnish of orange slices and additional jalapeno sauce.