Monday, November 24, 2014

Puerco con Mojo y Arroz Amarillo

Puerco con Mojo y Arroz Amarillo
The starter in Ann's Jeep decided to crap out on Saturday, effectively quashing any plans we may or may not have had to get out and about on Sunday. And so we planned to stay home and cook. First, we went up to the grocery store in my beater truck to score some turkey thighs for Thursday: they're not super popular and so the store never orders many of them, making them difficult to come by. But score we finally did. And while we were there, we starting surfing the aisles for some inspiration for dinner. Nada.

So off we went to FoodMaxx where we do the bulk of our shopping, hoping to see something that would trigger an idea for dinner. As we were turning into the parking lot for FoodMaxx, Ann asked, "What about that Cuban pork you do and arroz amarillo?" Done!

To be fair, the dish I do is no longer strictly Cuban, but a hybrid of Cuban puerco con mojo and Mexican (or New Mexican) chile verde, in that my sauce is a mash up of mojo and salsa verde. We got some garlic, a pork picnic shoulder, tomatillos, limes, orange juice, and culantro.

Pork Shoulder in the Slow Cooker
Without my good knives at home, skinning and boning out the pork shoulder was nearly impossible, but after 15 minutes of struggle, I managed to get most of it "cubed" and into the slow cooker. The skin and bones will go into my stock for Thursday's gravy, along with a couple of chicken carcasses that I have stashed away and a bunch of turkey necks.

Veg Ready for Roasting
Roasted Veg and Fresh Culantro, Ready for Blender
I roasted some yellow onion, tomatillos, poblanos, and garlic and then transferred them to the blender along with the bunch of culantro that you see in the photo above. I added lime juice and orange juice, my hack to replace the sour oranges that we almost can never get here in Virginia, cumin, lots of oregano, salt, and a few red pepper flakes (this is not a spicy dish).

Pork and Sauce Ready for Cooking
About five hours in the slow cooker while we watched movies and the pork was done. I removed the mojo to a pan and reduced it until it was thick and then put it back over the pork. Meanwhile, I made a little achiote oil and then cooked a little diced onion, diced poblano, thinly sliced culantro, and minced garlic in it. Then I added salt, rice, and water and 15 minutes later: arroz amarillo. To make achiote oil, warm a few achiote seeds in oil until the oil is strongly colored and then strain the seeds out. There is no reason to ever use prepackaged junk (such as Goya Sazón) to make arroz amarillo.

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