When I was growing up, New Year’s Eve was never a huge “going out” holiday for my parents. They always spent it with us, sometimes at home, at my grandma’s, or, some years, with friends of theirs and their kids. Around the time I was 11, my parents started throwing annual New Year’s Eve parties at our house, which included their friends, their friends’ kids, some family, etc. Most years there were upwards of 50 people and the kids would play in the basement while the adults were upstairs. We loved it!
My mom always had a huge spread of appetizers and snacks for folks to nibble on all night, and then once the clock struck midnight and everyone cheered with glasses of champagne and hugs and kisses, she would roll out the real food. Tucked away in her laundry room was her electric roaster, which had been slow roasting a pork loin and sauerkraut for the better part of the day. My mom always served at midnight as the first meal of the new year, since pork and sauerkraut are supposed to be good luck.
The thing is… I’ve never, ever been a fan of pork roasts or sauerkraut. This year, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I invited our parents and siblings over on New Year’s Day to relax, watch the Winter Classic, and, of course, eat. I made pork and sauerkraut, but I made it my way.
While I’ve never taken to a pork roast of any kind, I love pulled pork, so I decided that’s what I would make for New Year’s Day. I ran across the recipe over the holidays and could not stop thinking about it! It took me all of five seconds to finalize my menu, and about five minutes total to get this prepped and into the crock-pot in the morning. It smelled amazing as it cooked was even better once shredded and doused in sauce.
I substituted this Asian slaw for sauerkraut, because, it’s still cabbage! I think that counts! The combination of the flavors was tremendous, and the color of the slaw was so incredibly vibrant. When something is delicious and pretty, it gets bonus points. The slaw was such a hit, that after the leftovers were gone, my Chief Culinary Consultant asked if I could make another batch for him to put on his regular ol’ turkey and cheese sandwiches. Now that is some good slaw!
You definitely do not need a special occasion to make this recipe; it’s a perfect weeknight dinner that can do its thing in the slow cooker all day, and it would make a great game-day menu option if you’re pondering what to make for the Super Bowl.
While I generally eschew superstitious things relating to good luck or bad luck, I love embracing tradition. Pork and sauerkraut has been a New Year’s tradition in our family for as long as I can remember, so I’m happy to keep the tradition going, even if I put my own twist on it.
1. Prepare the Pulled Pork: Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, honey, balsamic vinegar, hoisin sauce, blackberry jam, garlic, and onion, and pour the sauce evenly over the pork shoulder. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until the pork registers 165 degrees F on a thermometer, or is no longer pink.
2. Prepare the Asian Slaw: Meanwhile, place the cabbage in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar, then drizzle over the cabbage. Toss to combine, making sure all of the cabbage is evenly moistened. Gently stir in the green onions. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
3. Finish the Pulled Pork: When the pork is done cooking, use tongs to remove it from the slow cooker and place on a large plate. Using two forks, shred the pork.
4. Pour the reserved cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch, then slowly whisk the mixture into the reserved cooking liquid. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce boils and thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker and pour the thickened sauce over top, tossing to combine. Keep the slow cooker on low to keep the meat warm as sandwiches are assembled. The pulled pork and Asian slaw should be stored in separate air tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.