Pulled Pork Tops the Waffle

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Cheddar & chive waffles with hatch chile pulled pork, and apple slaw is great for game day.

I’ve often wondered why fried chicken is the only savory morsel that gets to top waffles. Was there a competition and the crispy fowl amassed enough points to beat out steak tips and slow smoked brisket? This seems unlikely. Today I’m offering a recipe for Cheddar and Chive Waffles with Hatch Chili Pulled Pork and Apple Slaw. This slightly sweet, spicy, and savory combo is the perfect feast to serve during football-watching parties. Each of the respective components can be made ahead of time and kept warm in a tepid oven and slow cooker, or in the refrigerator. Plus, you don’t have to break out the fryolator to make it.

Hatch Chili Pulled Pork Ingredients
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 pounds boneless pork butt
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup fresh orange juice
8 to 10 dried green hatch chilies, kept whole
2 dried chipotle chilies, kept whole
1 onion, cut into large dice
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon oregano
Pinch cayenne pepper

Hatch Chile Pulled Pork Directions
Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy braising pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Season the pork butt with 2 teaspoons salt and 1½ teaspoons black pepper then sear the meat in the braising pot, turning occasionally until all sides are browned.

Pour in the chicken stock and orange juice, then add both varieties of dried chilies, the diced onion, and all spices. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook the pork for 2½ to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender all the way through.

Remove the pork butt from the braising liquid and shred it using two forks. Strain the large components from the braising liquid then add about 1½ cups of the liquid to the meat, to keep it moist. Reserve the remainder of the braising liquid for later. Place the pork back into the pot and keep warm in a tepid oven or transfer to a slow cooker set on low.

This can be made up to 3 days ahead of time but the meat should be cooled and stored with all of the braising liquid for easier reheating in a slow cooker (set to high for 1 to 2 hours) or placed in a large pot, covered with foil, and baked for 30 to 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Cheddar & Chive Waffle Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon dried chives
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 eggs
2 cups whole milk
4 ounces (1 stick) melted butter
2 cups shredded aged cheddar (about 5 ounces)

Cheddar & Chive Waffle Directions
Combine the flour, dried chives, baking powder, salt, and dry mustard powder in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, whole milk, melted butter, and shredded cheddar. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined and no large lumps of flour are visible. Allow the batter to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a waffle iron and spray it lightly with nonstick spray. Gather a sheet pan and place a cooling rack inside. Add about ¾ cup of the batter to the center of each waffle section on the iron and close the lid. Cook the waffles according to your manufacturer’s instructions, checking them halfway through to avoid burning. Gently remove the waffles from the iron and place them on the cooling rack. Repeat this process until all batter is used.

Place the sheet pan into a tepid oven to keep them warm and crispy.

Once the waffles are cool, you can freeze them for up to 3 months and reheat them in a toaster or in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.

Apple Slaw Ingredients
2 granny smith apples, cut into julienne
1 fresno or red jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced into rounds or strips
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons minced cilantro

Apple Slaw Directions
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss with tongs to coat the apples with the vinegar and honey. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the slaw to restrict oxygen from turning the apples brown, then place another layer of plastic over the bowl. This slaw can be made and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance of service.

To serve: Cut the waffles into your desired size and shape (small squares work well for appetizer portions) and top each piece with a mound of the tender pulled pork. Garnish with the slaw then drizzle a bit of the pork braising liquid over the top.

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Kerry Stanton is a recipe writer, culinary instructor, and restaurant consultant. She writes for Dirty Water Media and the Boston Herald. “I will not settle for anything less than exceptional food at every meal. This doesn’t mean that I demand excessive extravagance or prized ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just want well-cooked, properly seasoned food, presented beautifully. I think we all deserve this much.”

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