Hey lovelies! Today I wanted to tell you about another one of the cooking adventures I had over my holiday break this year. I really revved up the engines in my kitchen over the holidays and tried my hand at some involved recipes. It was fun! (Did you see my Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls & Mushroom and Mustard Spaetzle post!?)
For some reason I’ve always liked challenging myself with complicated recipes. My mom could tell you that even as a kid I would rifle through cookbooks for the most complicated cookie recipe possible (Pinwheel Sandwich Cookies anyone!?). It is so satisfying when all your hard work pays off and the end product is amazing. (And so sad when it is not!)
As an adult, preparing labor-intense recipes isn’t something I necessary like to do all the time. After work, I do like to come home and cook, but would prefer something that doesn’t require too much effort. But when I have an entire day available, the possibilities widen! And that’s when I make dishes like this.
Cuban Pork Shoulder with Beans and Rice
So let me tell ya ‘bout it.
First, these four things in a blender:
- Chicken Stock
- Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice (Yes, I squeezed 1 cup of OJ by hand. That’s what we call dedication.)
- One Unpeeled Orange. (The whole dang thing, peel and all.)
Okay, I won’t lie. I was nervous about the “whole unpeeled orange” thing. Orange pith is fairly unpleasant. Bitter. I chickened out and removed about half the peel. (If you are braver than me and do use an entire unpeeled orange, make sure you choose a thinner-skinned Florida orange.)
Blend that stuff up.
Strain the mixture through a sieve, and discard the remaining solids. I felt kind of bad throwing it away a but what on earth with you do with macerated cilantro and orange peel? I almost started thinking “Cilantro Orange Cookies,” but stopped myself in time. That’s gross, Megan. Throw that ish away.
Meanwhile, we need to crisp a few slices of bacon. Can you handle that?
I hope you can handle it because that bacon is going someplace special. At the bottom of your crock pot. Um, yeah. You can thank me later.
Now, get the skillet nice and hot again.
I’m actually using a huge Dutch oven here which is a little weird and unnecessary in terms of bulk, because I made this BEFORE Christmas, also known as BEFORE I received an enameled cast iron skillet (which would have been much more appropriate) for Christmas. But this was my heaviest pan at the time, therefore the best for searing.
Stay tuned in the future for exciting skillet searing. I’m sure you can hardly contain yourself.
Once that pan full o’ bacon drippings is nice and hot, slap down that nice thick pork shoulder.
TSSSSS. Searing. You’re doing it right.
I’m going to need you to brown up all those sides for me, please. Then, get ‘er in the crock pot.
Prep these things.
Now we’re going to cook even MORE stuff in that used pan. You might think we’re being lazy here, using the same pan thrice, but no, we’re building up a magical layer of flavor. Trust me.
So, onion and garlic, into the pot.
Add fresh oregano, paprika, cumin, and crushed red pepper to the onion and cook for one minute. Not too long. We just want to open up the spices, not burn them.
Cooking with new-to-me fresh herbs – oregano. EXCITEMENT. Fresh oregano is really pretty, by the way. The leaves are so dainty.
Okay, it has been one minute. You still have that reserved liquid, correct? The chicken stock, orange, and cilantro “juice,” sans solids? I sure hope so, because we’re going to need it here. For some killer deglazing action.
Use a wooden spatula to scrape all those browned bits from the bottom of the pot now. See, I told you. Flava!
Bay leaf. Am I the only one who can never find the bay leaf after I’m done cooking something?!
Okay, now we need to get this crock pot set to go. You might remember the base of the dish is covered in cooked bacon (tee hee!). Atop that bacon is the seared pork shoulder. Around the pork shoulder we’ve poured one pound of dried black beans. (No soaking required!)
I kindly request that you use your imagination at this point because I needed two hands to pour the contents of the Dutch oven into the crock post and was unable to take a picture. But trust me when I tell you that I poured the contents of the above pot (seasonings, orange juice and chicken stock, onion) atop all the meat and bean goodness in my crockpot.
Eight hours later, remove the pork shoulder and shred it (discard the bone). The pork will be tender and falling apart, like this!:
…And the beans will look something like this! Yum! I love beans.
Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier, but hopefully you guessed from the title of this post that we will also be needing some cooked rice.
To serve this dinner, I prepared this gorgeous set of layers:
- Scoop of rice
- Spoon beans over rice
- Add shredded pork atop beans
- Fresh salsa on top
So I’m happy to say that this rather somewhat time-consuming meal was a big success! I just loved the depth of flavor in the pork and beans. The pork was so tender and flavorful.
Please do not skip the fresh salsa because it adds a much needed bright freshness to the dish. Also, it is pretty.
Now who wants to come wash my dishes!?
Cuban Pork Shoulder with Beans and Rice
Recipe from Cooking Light
- 2 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 cup fresh orange juice (about 3-4 oranges)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro stems
- 1 medium orange, quartered
- 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 4 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
- 1 (2 1/2-pound) bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 2 1/4 cups chopped onion, divided
- 10 garlic cloves, crushed and divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano, divided
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 2/3 cups hot cooked white rice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper.
- Place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat; cook 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. Place bacon in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add pork to drippings in skillet; cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add pork shoulder to slow cooker. Pour uncooked beans around pork.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 cups onion and 6 garlic cloves; sauté 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons oregano, paprika, cumin, and crushed red pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add orange mixture and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil and cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Pour onion mixture over pork. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until pork is very tender and beans are done. Shred pork; discard bones. Discard bay leaf. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, remaining 1/4 cup onion, tomato, and jalapeño pepper in a bowl. Chop remaining 4 garlic cloves; stir into tomato mixture. Spoon 1/3 cup rice onto each of 8 plates; top each serving with 1/2 cup bean mixture, about 3 ounces pork, and 3 1/2 tablespoons salsa. Garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon oregano and 1/4 cup cilantro.
Yield: Serves 8 <- aka a ton!
My rating: 8.4/10