Monday, March 19, 2012

Spicy Mexican Pork & Rice

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In our house, nothing is more comforting than rice. Even little Joel can't say no to a rice dish! There are plenty of ways to enjoy rice as a side dish but this time around, I've made it into the main dish with this Spicy Mexican Pork & Rice. Pork is slow cooked in a braise of chicken broth, tomato sauce, chipotles and herbs before adding rice and beans. It's comforting, filling and feeds a party all in one pot!...

If you're familiar with the Latin dish, Arroz con Pollo, consider this as the pork version. In fact, this one is made similarly to this Arroz con Pollo recipe. For this dish, pork is browned and then baked with an aromatic mixture of broth and tomato sauce. Once the pork is tender, rice and beans are added to cook in the sauce while in the oven. It does take some time to prepare but the wait is certainly worth it. Let the magic happen in the oven! Alternatively, you can do this in a crockpot, although it  might mean using more than one pot depending if your slow cooker/crockpot insert is ovenproof. Be sure to check beforehand before attempting to prepare this recipe for the crockpot! Otherwise, transfer the dish to an ovenproof baking dish when you get to the step of adding the rice and beans. I've included the crockpot directions below after the recipe...

Spicy Mexican Pork & Rice
recipe from Cooks Illustrated
2-pound boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 fresh lime

Garnish or for serving:
fresh chopped cilantro
lime slices or wedges
shredded cheese
sour cream
fresh chopped avocado

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork and brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and remaining pork; transfer to bowl.

Add onion to rendered fat and oil left in pot and cook over medium heat until softened. Stir in garlic, chipotle, thyme and oregano and cook until fragrant.

Stir in broth and tomato sauce, scraping any browned bits. Add browned pork with accumulated juice and bring to simmer. Cover, transfer pot to oven and cook until pork is very tender, 75 to 90 minutes.

Remove pot from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Defat braising liquid by letting liquid settle for 5 to 10 minutes then skimming fat away with ladle or wide spoon.

Bring defatted braising liquid to simmer and thoroughly stir in rice. Cover and continue to cook in oven until all rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes, gently stirring rice from bottom of pot to top every 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir in cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, garnish with more cilantro, a sprinkling of cheese, lime and some freshly chopped avocado.


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