Puerto Rican Pork Chops with Rice and Beans

     Today is cooking day - my day off when I spend a portion of the day preparing meals for the next 3 or 4 work days. In my 'fridge, I had a pork roast that needed to be used. I remembered seeing Daisy Martinez of Daisy cooks the other day on PBS. She was cooking pork chops that looked very good. Thought I'd try a similar recipe made with my pork roast.  I found her recipe for "yellow rice", which was her suggestion for a side, and made my recipe for beans as a second side. The house smelled wonderful with all the aromas in the air. I also made a dish from Ivory Coast using chicken that I will post later. And I made my version of French Onion Soup, also to be posted later. Tonight, it's all Latin flavors - mainly Puerto Rican.
     To begin, there are 2 recipes that need to be made ahead, sofrito and achiote oil. Both are easy to make. There are almost as many recipes for sofrito as there are cooks. This is the recipe I used.

Sofrito - a recipe that might be compared to the Cajun trinity. It goes into so very many dishes.

1 small sweet onion
2 cubanelle peppers
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 aji dulce pepper - I have never seen these in any store - perhaps a Latin American grocery would carry  
      them. O raise mine. These peppers look like a Habanero, but are sweeter, sometimes hot, sometimes
      not,  and have a fruity taste. They are great and well worth growing .
1 paste tomato, peeled
1/4 bunch cilantro
1 red bell pepper, seeded

Dice everything in a fine dice. Refrigerate unused portion up to 3 days or freeze.

Achiote Oil

I found my achiote (or annato) seeds in a world foods market.

1c olive oil
2T achiote seeds

Heat oil and seeds over medium heat in a skillet - don't use a pan. As the oil heats, the seeds will begin to sizzle. At this point, watch carefully. When there is a steady sizzeling, remove from heat. DO NOT OVERHEAT!!! You will know if you do - things will be bitter and ugly. Store oil at room temp for just a few days. Use a tight fitting lid. When ready to use, strain what you need.

                                     Pork "Chops" made from Pork Roast

serves 3
1.5# pork roast - this size allowed me to cut 3 "chops" that were the approximate equivalent of 1" thick
        pork  chops that the original recipe recommends.
Make a dry rub of::
       1T salt
       1T onion powder
       1T garlic powder
       1T black pepper (or to taste)
       1/2 tsp oregano

Make marinade of:
        juice of 1 orange
        juice of 1/2 lime
        11/2tsp cider vinegar
        1 clove garlic, mashed

Pat rub into meat on all sides. Place in a close fitting deep casserole. Pour marinade over meat and let sit at least 1 hour up to 24.
Pour enough oil into a skillet to film the bottom. Heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Remove meat from marinade and discard marinade. Place meat in pan without touching. Cook until the meat is well browned on all sides., about 6 minutes. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on medium heat an additional 8 minutes or so until done.
( I added a bit of cooking wine about 5 minutes into the final 8 minute cooking portion - I was afraid that by using a roast, perhaps things should be cooked with a moist heat for a bit longer and at a lower temp. So I turned heat down to not quite medium low and cooked a total of about 15 minutes. Meat was not fall apart done, but was not tough, either. And an added bonus was scrapping the fond out of the pan and adding it to the beans.)

Serve immediately.
carla5 030

Along with the pork, we had Daisy Martinez' "Yellow Rice" and red beans.

Yellow Rice from Daisy Cooks by Daisy Martinez

serves 8
1/2c Achiote oil
1/2c Sofrito
1/2c pimento-stuffed olives
2-3T salt
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3c long-grain white rice
Chicken Broth

Heat oil in heavy 4-5 qt pot with tight fitting lid over medium heat. Stir in Sofrito and cook until most of the water has evaporated. Add the olives, salt, cumin, pepper and bay leaves, and stir to combine.

When the mixture is bubbling, add the rice, stirring to coat and fix the color to the rice. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rice by the width of two fingers. Bring to a boil and noil until the broth reaches the level of the rice.

Stir the rice once, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 20 minutes without opening the cover or stirring.

Gently fluff the rice by scooping it from the bottom to the top.

Serve hot.

Red Beans

Serves 4

!c red beans ( can use any bean, these are what I have on hand)
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 aji dulce
1/4 green bell pepper
1 seeded hot pepper, chopped or left whole (leaving whole, I think, means less heat)
1/2tsp coriander

Beans can be soaked ahead of time or cover beans with water and microwave on high about 1 minute. Let sit for 2-3 hours.    To cook. cover drained beans with water and add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until almost tender.

1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 onion, sauteed
a clove garlic, sauteed
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Add ingredients above to beans and finish cooking until tender. Mash a portion of the beans - I mash the beans in the pot with a potato masher.

Serve hot.

WE also had a side of corn relish (corn, onion, green peppers in  a vinegar-sugar "juice" seasoned with a tiny bit of pickling spice. Very tasty and I was pleased to see that it went very, very well with this meal. In fact, we liked the meat and rice better with a bit of relish juice dribbled over them.

Served this was, this is definitely a "keeper".