Smoky Pork and Sweet Potato Boudin
I've created two great dinners out of this basic slow cooked pork tinga recipe, but there are even more possibilities. You can use the tinga as a taco filling just as it is or to make mini tostadas as a great appetizer. The fact that there's very little prep and you're letting the slow cooker do all the work is my favorite part. I'm using one part of the tinga to make this recipe. A boudin is similar to a lasagna except it uses tortillas instead of noodles and like chilaquiles is a way to use leftover tortillas. You can assemble and bake the boudin immediately or do what I usually do, assemble the boudin and freeze it for another day. Just pull it out of the freezer the night before and defrost it in your refrigerator. Come home from work, slide it in the oven to bake and the only prep you'll have is to set the table. I used the second part of the tinga as a filling for making Shredded Pork Tortas. Again, you can make the tortas right away or freeze the shredded pork and sauce for another dinner sometime in the future.
6 to 7 medium (2 1/2 pounds total) sweet potatoes, divided use
2 large white onions, roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
5 to 7 canned chipotles en adobo, roughly chopped, seeded if you wish
3 to 4 tablespoons chipotle canning sauce (adobo)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
24 corn tortillas
12 ounces (3 cups) Mexican melting cheese such as Chihuahua, quesadilla, asadero or Monterey Jack, mild cheddar or brick, shredded
Peel 1 pound of sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks. Spread the potatoes, onions and garlic over the bottom of a large slow cooker. Season the pork on all sides with salt, then place the pork on top of the vegetables.
In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes and their juices, along with the chipotles, adobo, Worcestershire, oregano and 2 teaspoons salt. Pour the mixture over the pork, cover and set the slow cooker on high and the timer for 6 hours.
After 6 hours, carefully remove the meat to a platter and once it's cool enough to handle, discard any fat and shred the meat. Scrape the sauce and vegetables into a food processor and blender (you may need to do this in several batches depending on the size of the container) and process to blend the vegetables into the sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Measure 1 1/2 pounds of the shredded pork plus 3 cups of the sauce and place in a resealable bag and freeze. This is the pork you'll use to make the Shredded Pork Tortas.
Peel the remaining sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place them in a large pot of heavily salted cold water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. The potatoes should be barely tender. Drain and cool.
Once the sauce has cooled to room temperature, spread 1 cup of the blended sauce into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch oven safe casserole dish, then cover with 8 tortillas. Next, top with half of the shredded pork and half of the sliced sweet potatoes. Spread on one-third of the remaining sauce, then sprinkle on one-third of the cheese. Repeat the same method for the next layer. For the last layer, the sequence is tortillas, sauce and then top with cheese.
If you're baking right away, set the casserole dish onto a rimmed baking sheet and place on the center rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the center is piping hot. If the cheese is getting too brown, loosely cover with foil. Remove from the oven, tent with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
If you're preparing this boudin for a future dinner, wrap well and place in the freezer. The night before you're ready to serve, move the boudin to the refrigerator to defrost. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, it will take about 90 minutes to bake.