Every day I’m hassling. No, seriously, I am. Sweet potato hasselbacks are literally exploding in my kitchen. I made so damn much that I have enough to last me a life time. My freezer looks as though I’m a doomsday prepper. That or just another mid westerner preparing for the next twister to lift me off to Oz. Which wouldn’t be half bad because I would probably just post up in the field of poppies and become artificially high on life (if you’re lost, opium is derived from poppies, and apparently the poppy field scene is basically a direct reference to the drug… hence why, in the Wizard of Oz, the witch sends Dorothy and her amigos there to drift off into a sweet sweet slumber).
But that is getting WAY off track.
Pork shoulder braised on the stove top (Carnitas) and then stuffed into sweet potatoes, hasselback style, with melted cheese and topped with greek yogurt & fresh cilantro is what is going down today, and in my case, every day for the rest of my life.
I don’t hate it.
I mean, is there really anything better than a loaded baked potato?
Why, yes, yes there is.
What I love about a “hasselback” style potato is that a) you get a crispy mixed with soft potato texture in each bite, much like a fry b) unlike a baked potato, you don’t have to keep adding more toppings because in this style of potato the toppings seep into every thin slice, giving you full flavor with each spoonful c) just LOOK AT THEM, they are so pretty, and turn this once famine spud into modern day aesthetic/edible luxury (without breaking the bank).
I would say one potato is definitely filling enough however I’ve made the serving size two spuds per person.
You may use russet potatoes however, as always, I love the salty sweetness the sweet potato mixed with the shredded pork brings.
I used a 4 lb bone-in pork shoulder, however 3 lb would definitely be more than enough. I had a ton of meat leftover, but again, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can use the left over meat for breakfast omelettes, tacos, burritos, tortas…. anything your hungry heart desires.
I made the pork, stovetop using my heavy duty copper pan, that literally takes up most of my stove top space. It’s wonderful. However if you don’t have access to a pan that large you can plop the meat in your dutch oven or slow cooker, however this will change the cooking time, and might need to be on all day (on low heat). Just finish the meat off in a pan with its own fats so you can create a nice crispy texture (granted it will shred apart a lot, but that is the point).
When slicing the potatoes, it is super helpful if you place two wooden chopsticks, or two serving spoons of equal size on either side of the potato. This will basically prevent you from slicing through the bottom of the potato and honestly prevents any headaches or frustration. Because I chose NOT to do this for my first potato, I literally sliced through to the bottom 3/4 of the way through which was beyond annoying. If you don’t believe me, try it, and you’ll know what I am talking about.
Here is a how to link, just click on “images” and you’ll get a better visual.
- 4 lb pork shoulder, bone in
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp pepper
- Water to cover (about 8 cups)
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 8 sweet potatoes, individually sliced thin, almost to bottom, hasselback style
- ½ cup olive oil for brushing
- Cotija cheese, sliced into strips (only about ½ cup needed)
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- First take your pork and cut into 1" cubes, leaving fat on.
- Next in a large pan add your pork and cover with water until almost covered.
- Turn heat onto medium high, and bring water to a boil. Gently stir in 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp cumin & 1 tsp pepper.
- Bring heat to low, and let pork cook uncovered, until water has almost all evaporated. This will take 2-3 hours depending on how wide your pan is. Will take longer if using a pot/dutch oven/slow cooker.
- Once water has almost all evaporated, turn heat up to medium high and add chipotle chili powder, paprika, oregano & garlic powder. Fry meat in own fat until water is all gone and meat is brown and crisp on outside, and bits begin to shred.
- Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 425 and lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Lay hasselback style potatoes onto baking sheet and brush potatoes with ½ of the oil.
- Place in oven for about 30 minutes. Remove and brush potatoes again with more oil (making sure that the oil drips into most of the slices as they will be opening the longer they are cooked.
- Place potatoes back into oven for another 25-30 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from oven, and if adding cheese, now is the time to do so. Add your thin slices of cheese into the potato slices (about 3-4 slices a potato) and place potatoes back in oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove.
- Take your cheesy hasselbacks and add pork pieces, drizzle with some greek yogurt and sprinkle fresh cilantro on top. Salt & Pepper to taste. Serve warm