Deconstructed Tamales: Trisha's Cheese Grit Cake with Tamale-Style Pulled Pork

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 45 min (includes cooling and chilling times)
  • Active: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
Save Recipe

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound Trisha's Pulled Pork, recipe follows, plus about 1 cup cooking liquid

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 

1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder 

1 tablespoon salt, or to taste 

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

2 teaspoons ground black pepper 

Grit Cakes, recipe follows

Corn Salsa, recipe follows

Sour cream, for serving 

Chopped green onions, for serving 

Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving 

Trisha's Pulled Pork:

3 pounds boneless country-style pork spareribs

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

8 cloves garlic, crushed 

3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks 

1 large yellow onion, quartered 

One 6-ounce can tomato paste 

Grit Cakes:

Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the parchment

4 cups vegetable broth 

1 cup grits 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 cup crumbled queso fresco

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Corn Salsa:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup thawed frozen white corn

1 jar medium salsa (or hot, if desired) 

About 1 cup vegetable broth

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and heat to a shimmer. Add Trisha's Pulled Pork, the chili powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin and black pepper; stir to combine. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to coat the meat but not saturate it. Cook until the meat starts to brown and the spices become fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and hold.
  2. Place a Grit Cake on each serving plate and top with some pork, Corn Salsa, sour cream, chopped green onions and cilantro.

Trisha's Pulled Pork:

  1. Season the ribs well on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over high heat, heat the oil to a shimmer. Add the ribs and sear until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the ribs and transfer to a plate. Add the garlic, carrots and onion and cook until golden and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 2 more cups of water and stir to combine.
  3. Return the ribs to the Dutch oven, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until fork-tender, about 3 hours.
  4. Remove the ribs from the liquid and transfer to a baking sheet to cool. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. When cool enough to handle, use 2 forks to shred the pork.

Grit Cakes:

  1. Line an 8-by-10-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving any excess hanging off the sides, and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vegetable broth, grits and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the grits are thickened and soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in the cheese. Pour the grits into the prepared pan and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Using a round cutter or a knife, cut the grits into 2 1/2-inch cakes.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the oil to a shimmer and add the cakes. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and continue cooking until golden brown on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

Corn Salsa:

  1. In a medium skillet over high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the corn and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 4 minutes. Add the salsa and enough broth, starting with a 1/4 cup, to make it thick yet pourable. Serve warm.

Pig's and Grits

Smothered Andouille Sausage and Shrimp Over Creamy Stone Ground Grits

Pork Tenderloin with Polenta Cakes

Salvadorian White Corn Cakes with Pork, Beans, and Cheese: Pupusas