Tuesday, January 17, 2012

South of the Border Pork and Beans for the Icy North

I had been considering making a Cuban black bean soup in the crock pot with some of my dwindling supply of precious Rancho Gordo beans. But then I was shopping at Sam's Club on Sunday, and I found this interesting product (under the brand name High Plains Farms), a hickory-seasoned, marinated pork shoulder that you can roast in its own plastic bag in the oven. So I surmised that maybe these two things could be deliciously combined.

Now, I did not cook the roast in its bag, because I wanted the meat to flavor the beans. And since beans take SO much longer to cook than the roast, I started the beans on low overnight, added the pork the next day, and cooked it slowly until dinner time. Then I shredded the pork (which was tender, juicy, and very flavorful, by the way--shout out to High Plains Farms!), and fashioned some FABULOUS Cuban black bean and pork tostadas. MUY BUENO!

Crock Pot Cuban-Style Black Beans and Pork

1 lb. dry black beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
a few hot chilies (to taste), de-veined, seeded, and chopped
(I used one long hot and one Fresno, and the heat level was about "medium")
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground celery
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chicken soup base
1 tablespoon beef soup base
1 quart water
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used a roasted garlic & onion variety)
3-4 lb. seasoned pork roast* (or marinate in a homemade mojo)

Soak the dried black beans covered with cold water for 7-8 hours, then drain. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute the onion and peppers until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute or two.

Add the soaked beans, sauteed veggies, vinegar, spices, soup bases, and water to the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (If there is too much liquid at this point, scoop some out before proceeding.)

Add the (drained) can of diced tomatoes to the beans, and then tuck in the pork roast. Cook for another 6-8 hours on low until the pork is tender enough to be shredded.

Serve tostada-style with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, guacamole and/or sour cream, and salsa or hot sauce. A squeeze of fresh lime and some chopped cilantro would not be unwelcome either.

*As I stated above, I used a pre-marinated pork roast that I found at Sam's Club the other day. But of course, you can marinate a plain pork shoulder overnight in the mojo of your choice if you prefer.

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