After my visit to Caribe in Eureka Springs, I’ve had a little bit of a fascination with Caribbean food.
Today, I got a little bit of Caribbean foodie-ness out of my system with another marathon adventure. You know, for your enjoyment. And mine.
KJ over at Caribe used a lot of a spice mix called adobo, which actually varies across Latin countries. The Mexican version has more dried peppers and such, and the Caribbean version is more like, well, this:
I found the recipe for the adobo mix here, so I recommend buying up some mid-grade spice tins (you know, not the high-end stuff in jars like I usually get, but not the cheapo generic plastic bottles, either) and whip some up. I doubled the recipe because I was pretty sure I’d be doing the adobo thing a lot.
Kroger has pork loins on sale this week, so I opted for that. You can go with a lesser quality, tougher pork roast, though, because the long braising time breaks it down to tender deliciousness. But, since I didn’t even go to the store until 3 p.m., bonus. Long braise not necessary.
I cut the loin down into large chunks and made a sort of wet rub with the adobo and the juice of one lime. While it did a super-fast marinade (as I said, I started late), I made a salsa.
This salsa was born of generosity and challenge. My husband has a new job, and his new co-workers have made it a game of sorts to give us produce from their gardens and see what I can do with it. This week’s bounty: banana peppers. And a few jalapeños. Add a little rice wine vinegar, salt, garlic and onion…voila. (Recipe below)
I’ll run down the details of the pork in the recipe (also below), but basically, you sear the stuff in oil, then braise it in a delicious mixture of coconut milk, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and such. Definitely different, but sooooo good.
Serve with plain white or Jasmine rice with some green onions mixed in. The sauce from the pork is totally bomb with it.
Banana Pepper Salsa
- 3-4 small hot peppers, such as jalapeño (nice to have a mix of colors)
- 1 T. rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 medium white onion, small dice, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, rough chop, divided
- 12-15 medium-to-large banana or other mild peppers
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. kosher salt
Wearing gloves (I didn’t…ouch), remove seeds and ribs from the hot peppers and roughly chop. Place in a food processor with the vinegar, half of the diced onion, and one of the garlic cloves. Process until you get nearly a paste.
Slice the remaining peppers and pop the seeds out of the rings. Place the pepper slices, the remaining garlic and onion and the salt in the processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Save a few pepper rings for garnish if you like.
If possible, keep overnight in the fridge so the flavors can get all friendly before using. We didn’t today, so I’m looking forward to trying it again tomorrow.
- Pork shoulder roast (or loin, or whatever)
- Adobo seasoning (see link above)
- 1 lime
- Vegetable oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves, rough chop
Trim as much fat as possible from the pork, and cut it into large chunks, about 2″ across. Place in a bowl with the juice of one lime (use two if you don’t get much juice out; I used this and got a lot out of just one) and a good dose of the adobo seasoning. I used a few tablespoons for a 4 pound loin. Mix with your hands or a spoon until everything is well coated. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and preferably 2-4 hours.
Get a large braising pan ready (I used my Lodge cast iron Dutch oven) alongside your favorite frying apparatus. Heat enough oil in your frying pan to just cover the bottom, then sear the pork in small batches. The goal is to get a brown crust on it, although I wasn’t always successful due to overcrowding. (In a hurry!) As the pieces are browned, move them to the braising pan.
When the pieces are all seared and moved into the braising pan, add one can of coconut milk, and then a little water to loosen up what was left in the can. Throw in the tamari/soy, vinegar, bay leaves and garlic. Bring it up just to a boil, then cover and reduce to low heat.
The longer the meat can braise, the better. If you’re using a loin, you can remove it from the heat on the earlier side, before it gets tough. Otherwise, slow and steady, for 2 hours or so.
Remove the pork from the sauce and place it in a warmer or warm oven. Meanwhile, skim the remaining sauce if necessary, and boil to reduce to a thick gravy. Start some white rice during this time, too, and slice some green onions to stir into it when it’s done.
Pour the reduced gravy over the pork. Serve with the white rice/green onion mixture. Garnish the pork with some of the banana pepper relish. Take photos and send them to jealous friends and relatives. Pretend you’re in the tropics!