Recipes: Pork Carnitas, Spanish Rice & The Best Beans Nearly Ever

There are some folks I’m going to miss painfully from this area when we move in a few months. One family in particular I just adore, and I wanted to do something nice for them- they’ve watched out for me and my kids since the divorce and move to Little House, their kids are wonderful to mine, and I just love them. So tonight, I was their personal chef- which might not be a biggie to some, but this friend HATES to cook, so it was a beautiful way to serve her and her family. Plus, it was super fun. I’ve had some requests on Facebook for the recipes, so I’m just going to put them up here for posterity.

To begin, I made the salad above. It’s a lot of work (all these recipes are, really, but they’re totally worth it to really treat someone).

Pork Carnitas

  • 3-5 pound pork loin roast
  • 1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 white onion, minced

The night before, on the lowest setting possible, I toss all this in my slow crock-pot cooker. Let it cook all night, and then a good part of the next day. It will be fall apart tender, and crusty on the edges when ready. One hour before serving, drain juices and shred the pork with two forks. It should be like buttah. Put back in the slow-cooker and add:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 small can green enchilada sauce

Toss to combine, and let warm for an hour. Alternately— and I love doing this— spread the pork on a rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler for a few minutes to get a crispy crust on the tops. Yummmmm….

Mexican Rice with Lime & Cilantro

I have to admit this is a recipe I springboarded from one I saw on Americas Test Kitchen. But if there’s a better place to start, I haven’t found it.

  • 12 ounces tomatoes, either ripe or canned. I usually use canned.
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, veined and minced
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice (you can use white, but I like the tooth of brown)
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • fresh cilantro, finely shredded
  • 1 lime, juiced

Preheat oven to 350* In your food processor, whirl up the tomatoes and onions to a smooth, uniform puree. This is part of your liquid for cooking the rice. Yeah, I know- crazy. But it works. Trust me— and totally gives major flavor payoff. Set aside.

Wash your rice. Yes. Put it in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cool water until the water is clear. The cloudiness you see when you start is the starch on the rice, and rinsing makes each grain separate and fluffy. It’s worth the extra step.

Add oil to a dutch-oven or other lidded oven-safe pot. Heat until shimmering, then add the drained rice. Stir for 6-8 minutes, while rice toasts and gets opaque. Add the jalapeno and garlic until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomato/onion puree and the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. It will sizzle like crazy when you first add it. No biggie.

When it comes to a boil, put the lid on tightly, and pop the whole thing in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until grains are soft and separate and unbearably delicious looking.

Pull from the oven and toss with the cilantro and the lime juice. Yum.

The Best Beans (Excluding Nana’s)

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans (okay—and delicious— to use black beans)
  • 1/2 minced white onion
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 for early, 2 to finish
  • 1 tsp fresh ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • shredded cilantro

The night before, rinse beans, and put in a pot covered with water. Bring to a boil, then turn off and let them sit over-night. In the morning, drain water and refill with fresh, making sure the water is a good inch or so over the top of the beans. Toss in the onion and two of the garlic cloves. Simmer on low all day, watching the water level. Add more as needed.

When beans are tender, drain off nearly all the water and add salt, tomato sauce, second garlic cloves, cumin and cilantro. Stir to combine, warm over low heat until all the flavors blend and you cannot resist eating them. That’s it.

I also served this with my homemade guacamole. Oh, and Crema Enchiladas. Have I given you all that recipe yet? I’m no Ree, but I do all right. Enjoy!

6 thoughts on “Recipes: Pork Carnitas, Spanish Rice & The Best Beans Nearly Ever

  1. Never had carnitas with those seasonings before, even living with my Mexican husband for 12 years….gotta try this!

    ps: Shared! Lots of Mexican food loving friends…..

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