Source: USA Pears (and photo)
For these empanadas, Chef Gonzalez balances the natural sweetness of pears with smoky pulled pork and garlicky-lemony mojo. Extra layers of flavor are created through an acidic “mop” for the pork and caramelized onions and pears, plus a spike of hot chilies. To shorten prep time, the chef sources La Saltena empanada shells.
3 tbsp.dried oregano
1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
10 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 lb. boneless pork butt or shoulder
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. vegetable oil
Spiked Caramelized Pears:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 Anjou pears, diced in 1/4-in. pieces
1 med. Vidalia or other sweet onion, diced in 1/4-in. pieces
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chili pepper, finely minced
1 tsp. sherry wine vinegar
Few drops fresh lemon juice
- Place the pork butt or shoulder in a roasting pan, fat side up. Prepare Adobo: In small bowl, combine oregano, rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Rub adobo all over pork, using some pressure to get it to adhere. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hr.
- One hour before roasting, remove pork from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F. Season the pork with salt and freshly ground black pepper; cover with aluminum foil.
- Prepare Mop: In med. bowl, combine vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Place roasting pan in middle of preheated oven; cook until a meat thermometer inserted in center registers 165°F, turning the pan and brushing pork with the mop every 20 min., for a total of about 90 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare Mojo: Sauté minced garlic to soften slightly. Add cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil.
- When pork is cool enough to handle, shred meat. Pour pan juices and mojo over shredded meat; set aside.
- Prepare Spiked Caramelized Pears: In non-reactive sauté pan over low heat, heat sugar gently until it dissolves. Just as sugar begins to color slightly, add diced pears and onion; increase heat and toss to coat. Continue cooking another few minutes, until pears and onions are soft and golden brown.
- Remove from heat and add minced chili, vinegar and lemon juice. Toss to combine and set aside to cool.
- Prepare empanada filling: Add 4 cups pulled pork and mojo to caramelized pears and stir to combine. Place 2 heaping tbsp. filling in middle of each empanada shell near bottom. Lightly moisten edges of shell all the way around. Carefully fold the top over the contents to make a semi-circle; crimp edges with fork.
- Heat vegetable oil to 370°F. in deep fryer. Deep-fry empanadas in hot oil until golden brown, about 2 min. per side. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.