Monday, June 7, 2010

The Weekend Dish: Pork Menudo

This dish serves 6 to 8 and takes 45 minutes to prepare.  This looks much more daunting than it actually is, so don’t fret.  Well, it looked daunting to me at first glance but it came together rather easily.  Oh, and this is a perfect recipe to use a Vidalia Chopper for the veggies.  I have one and it’s by far, my favorite kitchen gadget.

 Here are your ingredients:
Pork Menudo-1 
  • 4-5 cups of pork, cut into small pieces, cubes preferably
  • 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of annatto water (See recipe below. They are also known as anchuete or anchiote seeds. I found these in the Latin aisle of my grocery store with other spices and seasonings. You can omit if you can’t find it)
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes or 1 large, cubed into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cubed into small pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of rice (cooked according to package directions)
Annatto* water:
  • 1 Tablespoon of annatto
  • 1/2 cup of water
*The Annatto water will stain your fingers, so be sure to wash your hands immediately after you squeeze the seeds.  To help, you can coat your hands with a little vegetable oil prior to squeezing.

Soak seeds in water 15 to 20 minutes.  Using your fingers, squeeze the seeds in the water to release its color.  The water will turn orange or red, depending on how much you get squeezed out and how long you let it soak.  Using a fine mesh colander or a couple of cheese cloths carefully strain the liquid into a container.  Here’s how it comes out before straining:

Pork Menudo-3
Pork Menudo-2 

Menudo:

In a covered pan over medium heat, bring the pork, soy sauce, vinegar, annatto water, tomatoes, salt and pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer 20-25 minutes or until meat is almost tender.

In the meantime, in deep non-stick  pan, fry potatoes in 2 tablespoons of oil until lightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan over medium heat, sauté garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 30 seconds.  Add onion and red pepper and stir for a minute.  Add browned potatoes and cooked pork mixture.  Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Stir occasionally.  Serve over cooked
rice.

This recipe didn’t call for the raisins I’m used to, which I was okay with since I just pick them out anyway.  You can add raisins to the last simmering step.

I’m sure you can convert this to a slow cooker recipe, saving the potatoes, onion, garlic and red pepper for when you get home.  I would cut back on the 1/2 cup of water the recipe calls for down to 1/4 cup, or omit it completely and just add the annatto water.  You can leave it in the slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours or low 5-7 hours.  Proceed with pan frying the potatoes and the remaining steps.  Your end result may be more “saucy”, but that’s okay.  It will still be yummy!

Pork Menudo-4

This turned out great.  It didn’t taste quite like the Menudo I’m used to, but I think that’s because the raisins were missing.  Regardless, everyone loved it.  Maybe next time I’ll add the raisins and pick them out.

Pork Menudo-5
Happy cooking (and eating)!

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