Saturday, September 10

Latin-Inspired Braised Pork & Rice

Over the last month or so, work has consumed my time. Then there was the rain and hurricanes. The garden and house in general didn't get much attention. But I did do some cooking.

For whatever reason, the idea of slow cooked, shredded bits of meat have really appealed to me. Maybe it was the rainy days or the cool spell of weather.

I love latin cuisine and the flavors of those dishes. Pork is a very typical meat used in those recipes. So I was inspired to create something that included all of these things. I didn't really follow a recipe, but I'm sure that there is something out there that is not that different from this.

Braised Pork & Rice
2-3 lbs pork (I used bone-in country ribs but use what looks good)
1 large onion (large dice)
1 red pepper (large dice)
1 jalapeno (diced small, remove seeds - depending on how hot you want it)
2-3 cubenelle peppers (diced)
2 cans whole tomatoes (cut into 3rds or 4ths) + liquid 
4 large cloves, smashed with back of the knife
1 packet Goya Sazón with Coriander and Annatto
2 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP dried oregano
2 TSP dried cilantro or parsley
1 TBSP chili powder
1 can black beans, drained
1 can red beans (or kidney), drained
3 TBSP oil
Fresh cilantro or parsley

Add about 3 TBSP oil (olive, canola, etc) to a large pot and let it get hot. Add cumin, dried oregano, dried cilantro, chili powder and packet of Sazón with Coriander and Annatto to wake up the flavors. Pat your pork so it is dry (this will help it get browned easier), season with salt and pepper on all sides. Slip it into the hot oil and spices and let it get brown. Once you have the pork browned on all sides, remove and set aside.

Add onions to the pan and saute until they start to go a bit translucent. Then toss in the garlic and all the peppers. Cook until the peppers get softened. Add in the tomato and liquid from the cans. Stir to combine. Place the pork you had set aside in the pot and make sure it is covered with liquid. You might need to add a little water or broth to bring the liquid level up over the pork.

Place on a low heat and cook until the pork starts to fall apart (about 3-4 hours). 

Once the pork is done, use a slotted spoon and take out all of the solids. If your pork has bones in it, carefully remove the bones and any fat or connective tissue that remains (there shouldn't be much of that left). Skim off any fat floating on the liquid. 

Now to make the rice. Pour out the liquid that remains. You'll want about 4 cups of liquid to cook the rice - but you want a bit left over afterwards so measure out the liquid you have from cooking the pork. Use about 2 cups (or can use more if your liquid measures over 4 cups), and then add another 2 cups of water. Place back in the pan and bring to a boil.

Once the water is at a boil, add 2 cups of rice. Stir and cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Once the rice is done, stir in the remaining pork liquid (ha that sounds funny). Then add your shredded pork mixture, black beans and red beans and some black pepper. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (you might want to add not only more salt & pepper but a dash of cumin, etc). Sprinkle with some freshly chopped cilantro or parsley.

Serve with slices of avocado, a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of your favorite Mexican or Latin cheese.

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