Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Latin-Inspired Feast

I am getting ready to make an amazing meal for my dinner guests on Sunday night.  I decided that Cuban shredded pork would be perfect.  And it seriously could not be easier.  A special shout out to my main Cubano, Ozzie Lastre, who prepared this amazing dish for me originally.

Cuban Pork

1 pork shoulder, preferably bone-in
1 bottle of Mojo Criollo (I use the Goya brand easily found in the  Latino aisle of the grocery store)

Marinate pork shoulder overnight in the marinade.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place pork and marinate into a roasting pan and cover.  Roast 4-5 hours until the juices run clear.  Let rest 15-20 minutes and shred the pork.  Serve on a platter with black beans and rice.

Now, you can certainly just open a couple cans of black beans and boil some plain white rice, but livening them up would be preferable.

Refried Black Beans (recipe adapted and adjusted from the Real Food Daily cookbook)

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile, minched
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil (or one teaspoon dried)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, or until tender.  Add the jalapeno chile and sauté 1 minute longer, or until tender.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute being careful not to burn it.  Add the beans and coarsely mash them with a fork or potato masher.  Add a few tablespoons of water if needed to get a creamy consistency.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and basil.  Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until they are heated through.

See?  That wasn’t hard, now was it?  You can always substitute your own simmered black beans from the dried state if you’d like – that’s what I prefer to do.

As far as rice goes, boil up 2 cups of long grained white rice.  Rule of thumb for perfect rice is NOT a 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice.  Use 3 1/2 cups of water for 2 cups of rice.  Trust me, it works and you’ve not had more perfect rice.  My best advice is don’t leave the rice unoccupied while it’s coming up to a boil.  As soon as you see bubbles, put a lid on it and turn your flame as low as it will go and time it for 20 minutes.  Turn off the flame.  Fluff the rice with a fork and re-lid it for another 5 minutes.  And, for the love of all that is holy, PLEASE salt your water when you put your rice in!  There is NOTHING worse than flavorless white rice.  Just a teaspoon will do.

To jazz up that rice, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 large clove (or 2 small cloves) of garlic.  Season to taste, meaning add more salt if you feel it needs it.  This rice is simple, but extremely delicious, especially paired up with that pork and those beans.

I’m also going to make a Tres Leches Cake this weekend.  It’s not Cuban, but Mexican, and it’s muy delicioso!  I’m taking a recipe from my old pal, Alton Brown.  Here’s the link to the Food Network site for the cake:

Okay, my culinary friends, I’m off to bed to dream of meals yet to come.  I hope you’ll try these recipes soon!

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