Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

I was roaming the internet, looking for inspiration, when I came across this cranberry and goat cheese flatbread. It clearly has made the rounds on Pinterest, and for good reason – it’s quite pretty. Having posted a flatbread recipe recently, I figured this would be a great time to try out some interesting new toppings. Although to be fair, you could put just about anything on flatbread and I’d try it. Not to turn this post into an ode to flatbread or anything.

I love the goat cheese and cranberry combination, but I wanted to give the dish another dimension, and make it more filling. With the tart, yet sweet cranberry sauce already in mind, I knew spicy, smoky pulled pork would be the perfect addition. The cranberry sauce is reminiscent of a barbecue sauce on the pulled pork, but with a different, fruitier flavor profile. The goat cheese is a perfect element to mellow some of the spice from the pork, and keep the tang of the cranberry sauce from being overwhelming.

Cranberry sauce seems to get attention only around the holidays, and I think that’s kind of a tragedy. It’s delicious with so many other things besides turkey and stuffing. That said, finding fresh or even frozen cranberries after January 1st is like trying to find truly good gluten-free pizza crust: may exist, but hard to locate. My cranberry sauce calls for part dried cranberries and part canned whole cranberry sauce, so it can (and should!) be made between the months of January and October. My recipe for this is adapted from a Food Network version.

The pulled pork in this recipe is done in the slow cooker, with a rub from Kevin and Amanda. Their recipe has a lot more to it, brining, and cooking in the oven, etc., but I just took the rub, coated my pork, tossed it in the slow cooker with a little water, and let it go, and it’s some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever eaten. Every bite is extremely flavorful and a little spicy, without being overpowering. The goat cheese I used is “La Bonne Vie Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese”- I just got it from my local grocery store, but you could honestly use any decent herb goat cheese. Trader Joe’s has a great, inexpensive one.

Since I’ve essentially given you a rundown of how wonderful all the components of this dish are on their own, you can imagine how I reacted when I tried them together. There was a lot of swooning, and uncivilized devouring, and general elation.




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Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

Pulled pork recipe is adapted from Kevin and Amanda's Perfect Pulled Pork.  

Cranberry sauce recipe is adapted from Gourmet Magazine's Savory Dried Cranberry Sauce - Recipe found through foodnetwork.com

Servings 3 flatbreads

Ingredients

Pulled Pork

  • 1 4-8 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp balsamic vingar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
  • 1/2 cup canned whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/8 tsp rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp tarragon

Other Ingredients

  • 3 large flatbreads
  • 8-12 oz herb goat cheese (2-3 small logs), depending on how much you like goat cheese - I used 12oz.
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme or parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slow cook the pork: mix together all dry ingredients to create a rub. Roughly chop yellow onion, and place in slow cooker with the 1/2 cup of water. 

    2. Pat pork shoulder dry with paper towel, and coat generously with the dry rub on all sides. Massage it into the meat with your hands to make sure it really sticks. 

    3. Place pork in the slow cooker, on top of the onions. Cover and let cook on high 4-6 hours, or on low 8-10 hours, until pork is falling off the bone and tender. Remove bone from the pot, and shred the meat with two forks. 

    Note: this pulled pork recipe yields much more pork than you'll need to use for your flatbreads. Extra meat can be frozen to use later.

    4. If you're making your flatbread, do it when the pork is about an hour and a half from being done. You can easily use pre-made flatbread if you prefer. You can find my flatbread recipe linked in the post above.  Instead of splitting the dough into eight pieces like I typically do, I split it into three, to make larger flatbreads. The method for cooking them is the same. 

    5. When your pork is about a half hour from done, make the cranberry sauce. Stir together brown sugar and cornstarch in a small sauce pan. Add white wine and chicken broth and set over low heat. Stir until well combined. Add vinegar, dried cranberries and canned cranberry sauce, rosemary, tarragon, and cinnamon. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be quite thick. Remove from heat. Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least a week. 

    6: Assemble Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbreads: spread each flatbread with a generous amount of goat cheese, saving 2-4 oz aside. Top with a layer of pulled pork- you can add as much or as little as you like here. Drizzle with cranberry sauce (again, quantities are up to you).  I used all of my sauce between three flatbreads. Top with small crumbles of the remaining goat cheese. Bake flatbreads in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, until the cheese gets soft and the flatbreads are warm and a just little crispy on the bottoms. Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley. 




Perfect Flatbread

Perfect Flatbread

I began my hunt for a great flatbread recipe online, and didn’t have to try too many before I found a seriously amazing option. This recipe is directly from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and I wanted to make it and post it here to make sure this recipe gets the attention it deserves.  I incorporate it into a lot of my own dishes. This flatbread is light and soft, with the right amount of chewy, and most importantly, flavorful. I’ve tried a few flatbread recipes that got the texture right, but were bland and boring. This flatbread recipe is truly delicious by itself, or wrapped around just about anything you can think of.

Flatbread in grocery stores is criminally expensive. It’s one of those things that I never buy because I know I can make it on my own for a small percentage of grocery store prices. The best part? This flatbread recipe is way better than anything you buy in the store, and you can eat it at its absolute freshest, right out of the skillet. If there’s something better than warm, fresh bread, with a slight crunch on the outside edges, then I just haven’t found it yet. I suppose that goes for all bread, but flatbread doesn’t need to be sliced or buttered…just eaten!

This flatbread is beyond easy to make. It’s one of those recipes that involves more waiting for the dough to rise than actual cooking, but don’t worry – you only have to wait about an hour total. That’s plenty of time to get the rest of dinner ready, so you can throw these in a pan and have them fresh and hot to go with whatever else you’re serving. They do need to be cooked individually, but each flatbread only takes about two minutes in the pan – if you have a large griddle you can absolutely do more at a time. I generally roll one out, get it in the skillet, and then roll the next one while the first is cooking.

The key to this recipe is the bread flour. You may be tempted to whip out some all-purpose flour because you don’t want to shell out the dough for a bag of bread flour that you’ll only use for this recipe, but bread flour will yield softer, chewier flatbread. After you experience the flatbread from this recipe, you’ll be so happy to have the extra bread flour around to make these again! The original on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe notes that you can use 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup wheat gluten, definitely a good solution if you have wheat gluten on hand instead of bread flour.

I have a single request if you decide to try out this recipe: please please eat at least a bite straight out of the skillet (don’t burn yourself). I cannot accurately describe exactly how gratifying and wonderful this is, when the flatbread is warm and fluffy, and smells delicious. I’m afraid it’s not something re-heating the flatbread can quite capture. It does freeze well if you want to make a lot at a time, and it’s completely delicious re-heated, just not exactly like when it’s fresh. But then again, how many things are better re-heated?

5 from 1 vote
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Perfect Flatbread

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe - Slight adaptations on cooking method from Homemade With An Upgrade.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk, heated until just warm, about 100 degrees
  • 2/3 cup water, heated until just warm, about 100 degrees
  • 3 cups bread flour

Instructions

  1. Stir together yeast, sugar, salt, oil, milk, water, and 1 cup bread flour.

    2. Stir in another 1 1/2 cups of the bread flour, until a shaggy dough forms. At this point, turn the dough out onto a clean surface. 

    3. Use the remaining 1/2 cup of flour to lightly flour the surface. Knead the dough, adding flour from the the surface you're kneading on, until it's elastic and smooth - usually I end up adding about 1/4 cup of flour through this process. 

    4. Place the ball of dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean dishcloth and set somewhere warm to rise until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

    5. When dough has risen, separate it into 6-8 even balls and set on a tray to rest for 10-15 minutes. 

    6. After the dough has rested, heat a skillet or griddle until hot. You want to keep it on a medium heat level once it gets hot. 

    7. Roll out one of the dough balls on a floured surface to a circle roughly 1/8 inch thick, and transfer to the skillet. Let cook for around 2 minutes on one side, until golden, and spots of color develop. Flip with a pair of tongs and let cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate/your mouth. While the flatbread is cooking, roll out another to go into the skillet - continue this process until dough is all gone. 

    Note: I like to turn my oven onto its lowest heat when I separate the flatbread dough into balls. Then, when I'm ready to start cooking, I turn off the heat on the oven, and place the plate for the finished flatbread inside, adding each to the plate as they come out of the skillet. This keeps them warm and fresh until I'm ready to serve!