Okay, I needed room in my freezer to get things ready for all of our Christmas stuff late last week, so I knew it was time to make that pork shoulder that had been resting in the freezer. We had just had pulled pork on my birthday, so I set out to make something a little different with it this time and since I have been so busy with work and the holidays, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make use of the slow cooker and just do everything in there. I came across this recipe at My Recipes for a Cuban pork shoulder with beans and rice that fit the bill perfectly, so I gave it a try.
Cuban Pork Shoulder with Beans and Rice
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup fresh orange juice (about 4 oranges)
1 medium orange, quartered
1/2 cup chopped cilantro stems
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 (2 1/2-pound) bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed
1 pound dried black beans
2 1/4 cups chopped onion, divided
10 garlic cloves, crushed and divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano, divided
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 2/3 cup hot cooked white rice
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
Combine the chicken stock, orange juice, cilantro stems and orange quarters in a blender. Process until the mixture is smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl; discard any solids. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until it is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the pork shoulder with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the pork to the drippings in the skillet. Brown the pork on all sides, cooking for about 8 minutes. Add the pork shoulder to the slow cooker. Pour the uncooked black beans around the pork in the slow cooker.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 cups of the onions and 6 of the garlic cloves. Saute the mixture for 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the oregano, the paprika, the cumin, and the crushed red pepper to the pan and saute for about 1 minute. Add the orange mixture and the bay leaf to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring and scraping the pan to loosen any browned bits. Pout the onion mixture over the pork. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 hours or until the pork is very tender and the beans are done. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred the meat, and discard the bones. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the beans in the slow cooker.
Combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, the remaining 1/4 cup of onion, the tomato and the jalapeno pepper in a bowl. Chop the remaining 4 garlic cloves and stir them into the tomato mixture. Spoon 1/3 cup of the hot rice onto each of 8 plates; top each serving with 1/2 cup of the bean mixture, about 3 ounces of the shredded pork and 3 1/2 tablespoons of the salsa. Garnish with the remaining oregano and the chopped cilantro.
I did make a couple of changes to the recipe. Since tomatoes are not so great around here this time of year, I omitted the salsa completely from the recipe. I think the dish was fine without anyway, but it would make a nice addition if you have some good tomatoes. Also, the original recipe recommends that you use the whole orange, skin and all, in the blender. Personally, I thought it would be too bitter and peeled the orange. You still get good orange flavor. I do have to say the beans and the mixture they were in is delicious, but they get a lot of heat from the red pepper flakes, so next time I might cut back on that, but if you like the heat, then it would be perfect for you. The pork was done perfectly and had great flavor and since it was in the slow cooker, it is basically a one dish meal (except for the rice) and clean up was really easy. I would make this one again since it is so easy to do.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I will try to get one on tomorrow early for Christmas Eve and then I have to prepare for Christmas day cooking. I’ll be sure to post recipes and pictures from that. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!