Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice and Pickled Red Onions


My sister recently upgraded her Crock Pot to an Instant Pot, and thus passed her Crock Pot down to me. Believe it or not, this was my first ever slow cooker. I usually braise and stew meat the old fashioned way, in my beloved Le Creuset French oven, or something similar, for several hours on the stove top. It never occurred to me to purchase a Crock Pot myself, but when gifted one it made sense to break it out and make something slow-cooked.


Speaking of my sister, she was at Disney World last week with her family (WITHOUT ME!) so as disappointing as that is, I figured I would use the Crock Pot to prepare a Disney recipe, so I wouldn't feel quite so depressed about it (I'll be going again in September, so I suppose I can forgive them).


I'm really loving The Best of Epcot Festivals Cookbook, which I purchased this past December at Epcot. It includes wonderful recipes from both the International Food and Wine Festival and the International Flower and Garden Festival. The recipe I'm sharing today was featured on the menu last year at the Food and Wine Festival's Islands of the Caribbean outdoor kitchen.


Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice and Pickled Red Onions is the ultimate Caribbean comfort. Pork butt slowly simmers in a combination of orange, lime, and lemon juices, white vinegar, garlic, onion, and oregano until it literally falls apart. I removed the pork pieces to shred them, then strained the braising liquid to remove the chunks of onion and spices, then returned the pork back to the Crock Pot with some of the reserved braising liquid to keep the meat moist.




To accompany the slightly acidic, meltingly tender pork is an herbaceous cilantro lime rice and cumin-and-oregano-scented black beans with sauteed onion, garlic, and bell peppers.


The finished dish is served with pickled red onions, but alas the recipe in the cookbook left out any mention of them outside the actual title of the recipe, so I've simply linked to a quick pickled red onion recipe on my blog, but you can use any recipe you prefer. The slightly sweet, acidic onions pack a punch, and balance out the richness of the pork very nicely.


Although it's not quite a replacement for an actual trip to Disney, this mojo pork is delicious and satisfying. It will also make your entire house smell magical!


Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice and Pickled Red Onions
Serves 6
(From The Best of Epcot Festivals Cookbook--originally served at Islands of the Caribbean outdoor kitchen at the 2016 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival)

Mojo Pork:
3-to-4-lb boneless pork butt, cut into 4 to 5 pieces
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Cilantro Lime Rice:
2 cups long-grain rice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Black Beans:
1/2 cup olive oil (I only used about 2 tablespoons)
1 small white onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon oregano (I doubled this)
1/4 teaspoon cumin (I doubled this)
1/8 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (I doubled this)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pickled red onions, for serving

For mojo pork: Season pork with salt and pepper. Place all ingredients in slow cooker, mixing well. Cook 8 to 10 hours, or until pork is tender and easy to pull apart. Cool slightly and shred with two forks.

For cilantro lime rice: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, stir in rice, salt, and oil, reduce heat and simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Set aside and keep warm.

For black beans: Heat oil in a large saucepan and saute onion, red and green peppers and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add black beans, oregano, cumin, pepper flakes and cilantro and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in red wine vinegar. Simmer or keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve: Scoop serving of rice into bowl, spoon black beans on top, then shredded pork. Top with fresh chopped cilantro and pickled red onions.

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