Pomegranate and Persimmon Pork Tacos

by Chef John Franke

Total Prep Time

45 - 60 mins

Servings

20

Degree of Difficulty

Hard

Ingredients

POM Molasses
3 cups juice from POM Wonderful Pomegranates (or 3 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice)
¼ cup sugar
juice from 1 lemon

Pickled Red Onions
2 cups red onions, julienned
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup red wine

 Honey-POM Dijon Dressing
1 tablespoon POM Molasses
1½ cups mayonnaise
½ cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
pinch ground cayenne pepper
¼ tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
¼ tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

POM-Creole Vinaigrette
¾ tablespoon POM Molasses
½ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1½ tablespoons creole mustard
1 shallot, large chop
¼ tablespoon red pepper flakes
¼ tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cottonseed oil

Slow-Roasted Pork
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
½ oz. ground red pepper
¼ oz. garlic powder
3 oz. dark chili powder
¼ cup Italian seasoning
½ oz. coarse ground black pepper
3 oz. kosher salt5 lbs. pork butt
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in large pieces

Tacos
1¼ cups arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates (or 1¼ cups POM POMS Fresh Arils)
1¼ cups Honey-POM Dijon Dressing
1¼ cups POM-Creole Vinaigrette
20 corn tortillas, heated until warm
2½ lbs. shredded, slow-roasted pork
5 oz. arugula
1¼ cups fuyu persimmons
1¼ cups pickled onions

Preparation

POM Molasses:
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice, if necessary.* Combine pomegranate juice, sugar and juice from one lemon in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Reduce until a very thick syrup forms that can thickly coat the back of a spoon, then cool to room temperature. 

Pickled Red Onions: (should be done the day before)
Place onions in a sealable container. Add sugar, vinegar and wine to a saucepot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, pour over the onions and seal the lid. Place in a refrigerator to cool. Allow to sit for 24 hours.

Honey-POM Dijon Dressing:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Store in a plastic container, cover and refrigerate.

POM-Creole Vinaigrette:
Mix all ingredients except the cottonseed oil in a blender. Once incorporated, transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the oil. Mix together using a whisk. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until needed. Slow-Roasted Pork:Preheat the oven to 400°F. Mix the brown sugar and the rest of the dry ingredients together. Rub the entire outside of pork butt with dry rub. Place in a roasting pan or high-sided cake pan, about 2"–3" high, lined with onions. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour. Turn down heat to 275°F, cover the pan with plastic and foil. Make sure none of the plastic wrap is exposed outside the foil, or it will melt and burn. Continue to cook for 8 additional hours. Remove covers and let cool a bit. Pull pork apart, and discard fat and crust.

To Assemble Tacos:
Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.** Peel persimmons and slice ¼" thick. Grill persimmon slices for 1 minute on each side, enough to show char marks; allow to cool. Cut into ¼" dice. Place a warm tortilla in a taco tray or flat on a plate. Drizzle 1 tablespoon Honey-POM Dijon Dressing down the center. Top with 2 oz. shredded pork. Make a salad of ¼ oz. arugula, 2 teaspoons grilled persimmons, 1 tablespoon pickled onions, 1 tablespoon POM-Creole Vinaigrette and 1 tablespoon arils to place on top. 

*For 3 cups of juice, cut 6–9 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.

**To prepare fresh arils, score 2–3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1¼ cups of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)

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