Grandmother's Portuguese Vinha d'alhos
Now those of you unfamiliar with Hawaii wouldn't understand the melting pot of cultures that makes Hawaii so special. Myself, I am blended with Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Welsh, and more. The list goes on and on. This is pretty much the norm, so it is not unusual to have Chinese comfort food for breakfast and Portuguese comfort food for dinner. This post is something special that we would have on Christmas. I loved it so much I started making it all the time. The difference is I made it a one pot meal versus a three day love affair like the traditional recipe calls for. The true test was making this for the "Aunties" of the family and didn't tell them I didn't marinade it for three days in fresh bathes of vinegar and garlic daily. Once they finished eating dinner one night I broke the news to them and they didn't believe me.
The difference was all in the ingredients I used. I knew it had to be great to fool them, so I couldn't skimp on flavor. I used fresh spices and amped up the flavor with extra garlic. Some of the ingredients may sound weird going into a pork roast but trust me. Shoyu (soy sauce) adds a great roundness to the dish, chili peppers add a hint of spice (but not spicy at all), and chili pepper water just deepens the flavor.
Please give this one pot and a piece of foil dinner a try and let me know what you think below.
3 pounds of Pork Shoulder/Pork Butt (Boneless)
2.5 cups of apple cider vinegar
1.5 cup of white wine
1 head of garlic-every piece peeled and smashed
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 small chili peppers or Hawaiian chili peppers de-steamed and deseeded (from the jar works great)
1 tablespoon of chili pepper water (optional)
2 tablespoons of shoyu – soy sauce
1 cup of all-purpose flour
Hawaiian rock salt and fresh cracked pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – at least a ¼ cup
1 onion sliced
2 carrots cut in circles
1 celery stalk - chopped
4 large baking potatoes peeled and cut in half-length wise.
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cube pork into large chunks about 3” x 3” then salt and pepper. Using fresh cracked black pepper and Hawaiian rock salt really elevates this dish. Then dredge the pork in flour and place on the side.
3. Using a large Dutch oven heat olive oil to on high heat. When the oil is ready start browning each side of the chunks of pork. Make sure to brown each side. When done browning the pieces remove and put aside. I suggest putting a large piece of tin foil on the counter next to the stove and letting the pork rest there while you brown the other pieces.
4. Turn heat down to medium and place onions, garlic, and carrots in the pot. If there isn’t a lot of olive oil left on the bottom of the pan don’t be afraid to add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Sautee the veggies for about 4 minutes. Make sure to scrap up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then pour in wine, shoyu, vinegar, and chili pepper water, and chili peppers. Finally add the bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer then add meat back into the pot. I pour all the extra juices that the tin foil might have gathered will I made the sauce.
5. Place in the oven and cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Open the lid and then place potatoes around in the pan. Put back in the oven and continue cooking for about 45 minutes. The meat should be tender to a fork. Remove the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs, discard.