Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Pork Salad

I had a sweet pork salad at Costa Vida last week and was determined to find a way to make this delicious dish at home.

Prep: 30 minutes (plus 6-8 hours to slow cook the sweet pork)
Yield: 6 Salads

* 1 head of Romano lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces.
* 1 can Black or Pinto beans
* 3 Cups of Sweet Pork (recipe below)
* Cilantro Ranch Dressing (see recipe below)
* 6 flour Tortillas
* Pico de gallo (see recipe below)
* Tortilla strip crunchies
* Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below)

Place a warm tortilla in a bowl or on a plate. Place approximately 1/3 cup of warmed sweet pork and 1/3 cup of warmed Bush’s beans on the tortilla. Place a portion of rice on top of the beans. Place lettuce over the meat and beans. Sprinkle ¼ cup of pico de gallo over the salad as desired. Drizzle with cilantro ranch dressing and top with a healthy amount of tortilla strip crunchies. Serve and enjoy.

Mexican Sweet Pork

* 4 lb pork shoulder roast (the more fatty the roast, the better)
* 1 Cup of Pace Picante sauce. (Medium heat is best, but the mild version will work)
* 2 Cups brown sugar
* Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove pork roast from packaging, and wash. (Avoid cutting the roast to expedite cooking time)
2. In a separate bowl, mix picante sauce and brown sugar and whisk until sugar is mostly dissolved.
3. In a crock pot or slow cooker, place the roast in the cooker and cover the roast with the mixture of picante sauce and sugar.
4. Place on medium heat, cover and simmer. Check it every hour or so to rotate roast in the juices. The roast will eventually produce enough juices to make the right consistency, so do not add water.
5. Once the roast is fully cooked, it will begin to fall apart. Use a fork to separate the meat into smaller segments. Cover and continue cooking.
6. After 8 hours, continue to shred the meat until no chunks remain.
7. If it appears to be too juicy, turn slow cooker down to its lowest setting, remove the cover and let it reduce as needed.

Cilantro Ranch Dressing

* 1 package of Hidden Valley ® buttermilk ranch dressing, prepared to pkg directions
* 3 Tbsp of prepared salsa verde
* cilantro (1/4 bunch)
* 2 cloves of garlic
* ¼ cup lime juice
* 1/8 tsp Tabasco

Clean and rinse cilantro and remove large stems. Pour prepared ranch dressing in a blender, and add cilantro leaves, salsa verde, garlic, lime juice and Tobasco. Blend until cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until dressing has thickened.

Pico de Gallo

* 1 cup diced tomatoes (remove seeds)
* 1/3 cup diced red onion
* 1 Jalapeno diced (at least a Tablespoon, but more if you prefer)
* 1 Tbsp minced garlic
* 2 limes juiced (about 1/3 Cup of lime juice)
* 1 Tbsp cilantro, plus extra for garnish
* Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and stir well. Chill.

Cilantro Lime Rice:

* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 cup basmati rice
* 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
* 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
* zest from one lime
* 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
* 1 tsp. salt

Add the oil to a sauce pan and heat on low. Add the garlic and rice to the oil and saute for 2 minutes on medium heat stirring frequently.

Add the chicken broth, salt, lime juice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes or according to rice package directions.

When the rice is done, add lime zest and chopped cilantro and stir to mix in. Serve immediately.

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