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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chamorro - Pork Shanks to most people

Pork shank?  What the heck is that??  Shank is a leg,
or a portion of leg.  Much the same as a ham is also from the leg.  The shank is just uncured.  You may have to ask your meat man to order you some, or if you live in the country, as your local butchering company.  Many country butchers also sell retail meats, farm grown of course. 

I was having my friend, Carole, over for dinner last night.  Her husband is away for a few weeks on business and none of us wants to cook for just one.  She is a real meat and potatoes woman but had never had chamorro before.  The list of what she does not like to eat far exceeds the list of what she does like to eat, so I only asked her if she liked pork.  She didn't need to know the whole story. 

Friday is a busy day for me, so I opted for the untraditional method of cooking the shanks.  I dug out my trusty slow cooker.  Normally you need to cook the shanks for about an hour and a half to 2 hours in the oven, but I just didn't have the time to babysit them while they luxuriated in there. 

I rinsed them and packed them into my slow cooker. 
They fit pretty snug as you can see.  I mixed all the other ingredients and poured the mixture over the top and covered it with the lid.  No extra water added.  Carole doesn't like spicy food so I didn't use any chiles, but that is always an option for you.  Hopefully you made some of the chile puree I told you about a couple days ago.  The best to use in this recipe would be ancho, guajillo, pasilla or chipotle.   Just add one or two to the sauce and that's it, no other adjustments necessary. 

As a side dish, you can make some mashed potatoes or cook some rice by cooking in a few scoops of the broth from the cooker.  Yummy!!!

I am happy to report, Carole is now a fan of chamorro!  Don't think she will make them herself, but she won't be afraid to order them in a restaurant anymore. 

Pork Shank (Chamorro de Cerdo)

3 servings

3 pork shanks
½ small box achiote paste (look on the Mexican food aisle)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ white onion, chopped
1½ cups orange juice
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

Rinse each shank – no need to pat dry. Place the shanks as best you can to fit in the slow cooker.  Tight is OK because they shrink as the cook. 

Mix all the other ingredients and pour over the shanks.  Cover the pot and cook on high for about 7-8 hours.  Turn to low and keep warm until you are ready to eat.  Serve with an ample serving of either corn or flour tortillas. 

Note that each shank with the bones – of course you need the bones – weighs about 2 pounds each or 900 grams.  You always serve 1 shank per person even though there is a lot of meat on the bones.  Save some sauce from the slow cooker to give everyone a 'to go' plate and include some sauce with their leftover pork.  

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