Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mexican Pork, Rice & Beans

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust 

Sometimes “value” shopping can get you into trouble, especially if it’s food and you don’t have a “normal” family of four. I usually buy several meat items when they're on sale and then promptly freeze them. My freezer is starting to look like my mother's. A place where things go to be forgotten (but with far more recent dates than in hers).

I found myself in that position the other day. I forgot to take something out of the freezer for dinner the other night. So down to the freezer I went. and at 5pm I was standing in front of the nuclear oven defrosting 2 lbs of pork loin chops. Finally, a use for that thing other than reheating leftovers.

The whole package was only $5. But I hated the thought of only using some of it and perhaps wasting the rest. I was to be away for a few days and it probably wouldn’t get around to using it.

Just before the rice went in.
So I had to cook all of it. But what to make that would last in the fridge and still be something I would want to eat? My pantry been getting pretty bare recently. This month has been one filled with design work as opposed to delicious meals. I have to work on that and re-stock...

Scrounging around the pantry I found a few ingredients that I could throw together with pork. Black beans, corn, rice, some tomato sauce I “put up” in July and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Things were shaping up, and sounding pretty Mexican.

I am always amazed at how even a partially empty pantry can lead you on a road to discovery if you only can see the possibilities. That’s the trick.

So that’s what happened. What also happened was dinner for four to six, with very little effort. Kind of like a Latin risotto, with “stuff” in it. Delicious stuff. Great food for the soul sucking greyness we call winter weather in Nova Scotia.

Use that nuclear oven to reheat any leftovers to steamy hot when you enjoy it again.

After adding the brand and corn heat through.
Mexican Pork, Rice & Beans
Prep: 5 min  |  Cook: 25 min  |  Serves 4-6
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lg onion, halved and sliced
2 lg garlic cloves
2 lbs pork loin, cubed
2 cups plain tomato sauce
2 cup chicken stock*
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced
1 cup long grain white rice
2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 can corn kernels
1 can black beans, rinsed
hot sauce, optional

Sauté the onions and garlic on medium high in the oil until softened and slightly browned. Add the cubed pork, sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook until browned as well.

Add the tomato sauce, stock, chopped chipotle peppers, cumin, thyme and oregano. You can add more chipotles if you wish. Bring to a boil over medium low heat.

Add the rice, stir well and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes, until the rice is nearly done. Stir the pot occasionally to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add more stock if required, but you probably won’t need it because you want the end result to be fairly dry.

Add the drained black beans and corn. Bring to a simmer and heat through. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with hot sauce at the table.

* If you wish, for a more complex flavour use half white wine and half chicken stock.


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