Wednesday, March 10, 2010

meat + sugar + caffeine ... in a healthy salad!

My saintly mother gave each of her children a binder full of favorite recipes for Christmas. I've added a few of my own to the binder and find that I'm using it almost every day. What a great gift, right?

One of the recipes in the binder is a copycat of the Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad from a wonderful Tex-Mex restaurant called Cafe Rio. I've tried other copycat recipes and, sister, this is the best one. I'm sure it has everything to do with the 2 cups of Coke, not to mention the brown sugar AND molasses. I'm using my own rice recipe--a favorite for years. This is a great meal for serving a crowd, especially a crowd who wants a meat, sugar, and caffeine rush all at once.

Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad

Sweet Pork

4 lb pork roast
1-2 cans tomato sauce
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/2-2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cumin
2 cups Dr Pepper or Coke
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Spray crock pot with Pam and place pork roast inside. Mix remaining ingredients until sugar has dissolved. Pour over roast and cook on low until pork can be shredded with a fork (8-10 hours). The finished meat/liquid mixture can be frozen for later use.

Cilantro Rice

1 cup fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh jalapeno chilie, stemmed, or ½ can green chiles
2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup grated carrot

In a blender, whirl cilantro, garlic, chilie, and 1 cup broth until smooth. In a 3-4 quart pan over medium heat, stir oil, rice, onion powder and cumin until rice is a pale golden color, 5-8 minutes. Stir in cilantro mixture, remaining broth, and carrot. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. If desired, season to taste with salt.

Creamy Cilantro Dressing

2 cups Ranch dressing
1 cup salsa verde (La Victoria or other store brand is fine)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped or snipped with kitchen scissors
salt to taste

My favorite way to put this meal together is as follows: make a bed of delicious cilantro rice on a plate. Top with a scoop of black beans and a scoop of sweet pork. Cover with romaine lettuce and drizzle with Cilantro Dressing.


Patty O. said...

Wow, that sounds delicious. I am going to have to make this recipe next week. I just bought a bunch of pork loin on sale, so this is just the ticket. I'm salivating as I think of it.

pianogal said...

My mom forwarded this recipe to me after she and Dad had it at your parents' house. It has now been served at a family reunion, a Stake R.S. luncheon, and (of course) our dinner table. I love it!