Friday, March 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork & Spinners

I miss college food. There, I said it. Seriously though, Cornell has some awesome dining halls and there are several awesome eateries in Ithaca. I'll gloss over the townie restaurants and focus on Cornell dining halls, for today at least. We had make-your-own nacho stations, dim sum dumplings for Sunday brunch, Belgian waffle stations, cereal bars, make-your-own "sushi" (just avocado and cucumber), omelette stations, soft serve ice cream, regular ice cream, even kimchi. Luckily, I can find most of these things around my neighborhood so I'm not constantly pining for Cornell dining (rhyme!). However, Ivy Room spinners are one thing I can't seem to find a good replacement for. Spinners were basically Cornell's version of a Crunchwrap Supreme (Taco Bell's invention) but they were different and better, mostly because they were made with actual meat and they were made to order so you could watch it being made right in front of your eyes. Plus, they were humongous and cheap; perfect for a poor college student like moi.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 8 depending on hunger levels]:
shredded slow cooker pork
2 bone-in pork chops (about 2 lbs.)
½ onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 habanero, halved
1 cubanelle pepper, cut into strips
½ to 1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

spinners
2 lbs shredded slow cooker pork
6 to 8 large wraps (12")
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, pepperjack, whatever you like)
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
fresh cilantro
+ sour cream
+ guacamole
+ salsa
+ hot sauce
+ pickled jalapeños

Let's start with the pork first.

Mix together the broth, salt, pepper, mustard powder, garlic powder, and cumin. The amount of broth you use will depend on the size of your slow cooker. I have the TINIEST slow cooker ever (it holds 3 cups of liquid) so I used 1/2 a cup.
Fill up your slow cooker with the pork, peppers, onions, and then pour the broth mixture over the top. You want there to be enough broth to cover the pork. If you need to top it off a little, go ahead and use a bit more broth. I like to set this up the night before I want to eat it and leave it in the fridge. In the morning, I'll plug it in, set the cooker on the low setting, go to work, and come home to delicious smells and tender pork.
Tada!
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and pull it apart using two forks. The meat should be really tender and just fall apart and be full of the delicious flavors from the spices and the garlic and hot peppers. Oh, and don't forget to remove the bones! I can't imagine it being too fun to bite into a giant pork bone.

In today's post, I'm using this shredded pork for spinners but you could also use this pork in a burrito, as a topping on nachos, in a sandwich, the possibilities are plentiful.
Okay, onto the spinners!
Grate some cheese and crush up the tortilla chips. Don't crush them too finely as you want them to retain their crunch once they've been bundled up inside the spinner. By the way, this is a great way to use up the chips at the bottom of the bag that are already broken up.
To assemble the spinner, lay down the wrap and then sprinkle on some crushed chips. Top with cheese, cilantro, and pork. Then add some more chips. By the way, you could totally add in whatever ingredients you like - beans, rice, diced tomato, onion - but this is what I like to include inside my spinners.
Wrap up the spinner by folding in the edges. I start by folding up the bottom edge and then work my way around the circumference of the wrap until I've got myself a nice little pouch. The way the edges overlap will make it look almost like a pinwheel.
Place the spinners, folded side down, onto a hot skillet. Place some sort of weight on top of the spinner - use a heavy pan or a foil-wrapped brick - and let it cook for a few minutes until it gets toasty and golden brown. Oh, and please forgive my dirty stovetop! It's embarrassing but also, it shows a little of my real side. Not everything that happens in my kitchen is perfect. I'm human; I spill things and I don't always clean it up right away.
Flip and cook on the second side for a few more minutes. The weight is optional at this point, as the folded side has sealed itself shut and the goal is just to toast the second side.
Look at that toasty beautiful spinner, would ya? LOOK AT IT. I order you! Because it's important that the chips inside and the golden crust outside stay crisp and awesome, I recommend making these one at a time and to order. Have everyone line up, assemble their spinners, and pop them on the griddle as necessary.
Cut it in half with a sharp knife and listen to the satisfying crunch while you reveal all of the yummy layers: chips, cheese, pork, cilantro, more chips. Ugh, my stomach is grumbling as I type this. Note to self: food blogging on an empty stomach will cause you to drool uncontrollably like an ogre. Note to self: good thing you have a keyboard protecting cover.
If you're in the mood, I suggest making some fresh guacamole to go along with the spinners. The stone mortar and pestle are not 100% necessary but you can't deny that the guacamole looks mighty pretty served like that.
Serve the spinners with (fresh) guacamole, fresh salsa (we had mango salsa), (full-fat) sour cream, (Cholula's) hot sauce, hot peppers, and whatever toppings your spinner heart desires. I didn't necessary have all of these fancy toppings back in college, but you know what else I didn't have? Money. Now that I can afford mango salsa, I'm going to eat mango salsa. Sorry, college-me, but also, I'm not sorry because I don't apologize for eating delicious things.
Here's how I like to prep my spinner before it goes for a trip into my mouth: I sprinkle on a few drops of hot sauce, smear on some sour cream, spoon on some salsa, and add a little guacamole and then I bite the corner because it fits in my mouth. It's so good! The pork is so tender, the crushed chips add a delicious crunch, the cheese is gooey, the cilantro add tons of flavor; this is one of my favorite things ever. It makes a great snack, a hearty lunch, a pretty decent dinner, and it is great for kids and adults alike. What are you waiting for? Go make some now; but only if you want to. No pressure.
Here are the recipe pages:

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post! These spinners were always my favorite and I miss it so much!
    Just had a Taco Bell breakfast Crunchwrap and was amazed at how much it reminded me of Spinners from Martha's! Looked it up as soon as I got home and found your page. Nice recipe btw, I will try it when I have some time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know if you make them and if you like them (I hope you like them!!). And thanks so much for reading!

      :):)

      Delete

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