Mucho Gusto

Nico’s Carnitas

This is the thirteenth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: Pork Butt, Time, Tortillas

I served this at a super bowl party and it slapped. It’s easy, delicious, and teaches you the fundamentals of braising without much work.

3 lbs Pork Butt (bone in or not doesn’t matter – the bone adds nutrients but is a hassle so, up to you)

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp paprika

2 onions

5 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

4 slices of orange peel (optional)

Salt and pepper

Tortillas, onions and cilantro for serving.

Start by taking a big, hefty pork butt (also called pork shoulder or Boston butt, shout out Boston), and if you’re trying to figure out how much to buy, get about a half pound per person. Play butcher and cut your pork into 1-inch cubes. Put those chunks into a pot. 

Roughly chop two onions, and throw that into the pot as well. Optionally at this point, take some orange peel (half- to a full-orange’s worth, depending on your taste), and throw that in the pot too. Oh, smash about 4 garlic cloves and throw those in there too. Sprinkle about a tablespoon’s worth of ground cumin and paprika into the pot, and add maybe a teaspoon of cayenne if you like it spicy. And never forget a hefty pinch of salt and maybe 6 good twists of black pepper, but don’t overdo it now, you can always add salt in later.

Fill the pot with water to the point where the water is just barely covering everything, and bring it up to a boil. A lot of scum is going to rise to the top, and while it’s perfectly safe, we like a clear braise, so feel free to scoop that off and toss it down the sink. Once it’s up to a boil, turn down your heat and simmer that for about 2-3 hours, no lid.

When almost all of the water has evaporated and the pork is cooked through and super soft, take out your pork with tongs and put it on a baking sheet or a casserole dish. Take two forks and shred apart all that meat, and drizzle it with a healthy amount, but definitely not all, of your delicious braising liquid. That stuff is liquid gold, it has all the nutrients and fat that was rendered out in your cooking time, and it’ll crisp up your pork nicely.

Broil that in an oven until it’s crispy on top, and then serve it on a warm tortilla, heated over an open flame obviously. For toppings, only finely chopped white onion and cilantro are allowed. And Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, and remember, it commemorates the Battle of Puebla which was fought against the French forces when they came to imperialize in 1862—not Mexican independence. That’s September 16. Viva Mexico!


Mucho Gusto Announcement

At Gusto, our mission is to connect people through stories about food. And it’s easier than ever to give in to the dread of isolation and forget that we are still part of a community. That’s why we’re starting #MuchoGusto, a recipe campaign where we want to hear what you’re cooking and build a collective cookbook that anyone can access.

It’s never been more important to be able to feed yourself. With #MuchoGusto, we’re going to be compiling recipes from our editors, staff, and from you, and we’ll feature it all on our Instagram page and website starting this Monday (April 6, 2020). If you have a recipe you’d like to share, DM us or email to get it published .

Eventually we hope to have a collection of diverse recipes that anyone can access. For now, remember to keep cooking, eating, and being well.

-Nico Borbolla


Artifacts Of What’s To Come

How a BC alum created a new kind of cider for a new kind of world

Jake Mazar’s favorite apple is the Roxbury Russet. It’s a greyish, greenish apple, with a leathery skin. You’d expect it to be sour, but it’s sweet. Not an artificially engineered kind of sweet that Dole and Driscoll’s may dream of, but instead a soft, weathered sweetness. Another admirer of the Roxbury Russet is Nathaniel Hawthorne, who, in The House of the Seven Gables wrote, “But I suppose I am like a Roxbury Russet, – a great deal the better, the longer I can be kept.” Nathaniel Hawthorne was definitely a cider drinker.

Jake Mazar, CSOM ’08, decided to start a cidery after growing disillusioned with work in the consulting field. Together with childhood friend (and current Head Cider-maker) Soham Bhatt, who had been working in the biotech industry, he started Artifact Cider. “Something was lacking, and I wanted to do something on my own terms…we had a keen love of cider, something we’d been drinking for a long time, talking about for a long time. Soham started making some at his house in his garage, one thing led to another and slowly we decided to open up a company… and it’s kind of taken off from there.”

It begins, Mazar explains, with locally sourced apples. Once the blend is chosen and the apples are picked, the process begins to resemble that of wine-making. The fruit is crushed, pressed, and its juices begin to ferment, either with added yeast or with naturally occurring yeasts. It’s fermented for anywhere between a few weeks to a few months, and then aged until it is ready to be carbonated, canned or kegged, and finally consumed.

Given apple picking’s cultural ubiquity, it’s no surprise that cider culture has begun to reemerge in the Northeast. Due in no small part to the craft beer boom, where many have begun to shirk the Anheuser-Busch beverages in favor of locally-produced, small-batch brews, where cider has enjoyed a rebirth in the last ten years. As Mazar puts it,

“We’re interested not only what’s been done before, we’re interested in what can be done, what’s possible. Reinvention.”

And what serves as a better example of staying true to one’s roots while reinventing oneself than an apple itself? The Roxbury Russet has been in the Northeast for close to 400 years now, and it still manages to find new life every time it’s picked off the orchard, fermented for a bottle of cider, or regrown in a Massachusetts orchard.

Photo Courtesy of Jake Mazar
The Artifact Cider Orchard

Artifact’s name lends a bit of poignancy to this sentiment as well. Sure, the likes of John and Sam Adams might have enjoyed a Roxbury Russet some 250 years ago. They might even have had a glass or two of cider from those apples at the local taverns, taking gulps between discussing the merits of liberalism. So while cider, and the distinctly Northeastern apples that it can be made from, all serve as treasures of our past, they also remind us to look towards the future. I don’t think the Adams’ would have minded a blend of apples in their cider.

Although hard cider still makes up a mere 1% of the alcohol industry, the proliferation of cideries around the United States indicates that it’s not a flash in the pan, and has lasting value. Simply put, if cider can last 400 harsh New England winters, one could assume with confidence that it’s here to stay.

Artifact Cider can be found at Chansky’s Super Market and Gimbel’s Liquors.