Here’s a recipe you oughta try: Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
I love the flavors and textures of Vietnamese cuisine and was thoroughly motivated to give this a try when I found it. There’s tons of space for you to customize this both in the cooking and in the assembling, so I can see this working in a lot of circumstances when all your diners don’t value the same flavor intensity.
First off, the pork shoulder is so easy to work with and frequently on sale, so a great buy to feed a crowd. It just loves to soak in a slow cooker hot tub all day and just become meltingly tender. Side bar, it is so irritating to find a slow cooker recipe that only takes 2 hours. Huh? Don’t do me that way! This recipe is what you love about them, you can put it in at the top of the day and forget about it until you get home for dinner. Your house smells like dinner and there it is, not overcooked, but perfectly flavored and tenderized for you. I usually don’t want to do the browning of the roast first, but I did this time. I think you could skip it and come out with a still flavorful filling, but the searing does provide a more intense layer of flavor that you’ll appreciate. There is probably a bacteria count or food safety issue too if you go ahead and get the meat up to temp and then maintain it. My cooker runs hot and so I used the Keep Warm setting and 8 hours later I was rewarded with this really great filling.
The slaw is what makes this so excellent. You put all that crunch and fresh flavor in with the meat and that’s what you’ve been salivating for. The fresh ginger and cilantro are absolutely required here. Oh, and obviously, you have to squirt more sriracha on the top of your assembled masterpiece.
I made a few substitutions for my taste and ingredient availability:
- Corn tortillas. I am not a flour tortilla fan, so I used corn, hubby used flour. I tasted both and they were great; I just still prefer corn. This is your call and does not affect all your cooking one bit. Just make sure your tortilla of choice is warmed or toasted before you fill it.
- Did not have an Asian pear, so I used a Granny Smith apple. You could probably skip altogether and not even know it.
- Was short on cabbage, so I tossed in several handfuls of baby spring greens. The mix of half cabbage/half lettuce was surprisingly fabulous!
- Used the big grate size on the grater for the carrots instead of julienne slicing. If you study the recipe photo, it looks like they used a spiralizer for their veggies which is also very cool and much easier than relying on your Julia Child knife skills.