Saturday, January 7, 2012
Hope everyone is starting the New Year with committment to their resolutions. I am an Anderson Cooper addict. I always respected his unbiased reporting on CNN, but now I really enjoy the human side of him that is visible on his talk show. Watching his show always puts me in a good mood. Most of his guests are people that have had to overcome amazing challenges, but end on a positive note. Anyway, he has been promoting Sunday Night dinners. No matter how busy are lives are, it is important to spend time with your family and no what is going on in their lives. I support this and I think it is a wonderful initiative. Even if you cook quick meals during the week, I think this is a great excuse to all of you who love to cook out there, to spend a little extra time and make some amazing meals for your family. I think nothing tastes better than food prepared with love.
Here is a delicious Mexican meal that you can have ready for Sunday night dinner, if you start off by doing a little prep on Saturday night. I have even included a Vegetarian variation, so anybody can make this meal!
We are going to start by making the salsa. This is a very chunky, very hot salsa. The reason I make it so intense is that I use it as a base for other dishes. I will later thin it out with water or chicken broth, depending what the use is., or use as is, if applicable.
4 poblano peppers
8 serrano peppers
1 large red bell pepper
1 onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic
1/4 pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 11 oz. can of corn
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
The first step is to roast all of the peppers. I remove the grate from my stove and place the peppers directly over the open flame, until the skin of the peppers are charred on all sides.
Also, to be done the day before is to prepare the pork.
1 pork tenderloin (to make vegetarian, you can do this with soya chunks)
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Place all ingredients in a ziploc bag and marinate overnight.
To prepare the beans that will be cooked on Sunday, soak 16 ounces of black beans overnight in cold water.
Now it's Sunday and time to finish prepare the meal. First, let's get the beans cooking.
16 ounces soaked black beans
2 tablespoons epazote, chopped finely
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt, to taste
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer, until beans are tender. You may have to add more water,if water dries up. Check beans periodically, but cooking time should be about 30-40 minutes, depending on how long the beans were soaked.
Now to cook the pork. Since I used pork tenderloin, which can dry out quickly, we need to add a little fat and cook slowly, so that the meat will be moist. Here are the ingredients for the braised pork tenderloin:
1 marinated pork tenderloin
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon ground cumin
5 tablespoons chunky salsa
In a pot, start to cook bacon. Do not add any oil. The bacon will give off the fat. Once the fat has started to come out from the bacon, add the scallion.
Fry until the bacon is about 50% cooked.
Add tenderloin to pan and sear on both sides. By the time the meat is seared, the bacon will be cooked.
Add salsa and salt, if necessary.
VARIATION: To make vegetarian, cook soya chunks in same way, however, to get the smoky flavor that the bacon gives, use about 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika.
You've done all the prep now to make delicious Pork and Black Bean Tacos
Shredded Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper Salsa and/or cooked Soya
Cooked Black Beans
Queso Fresco (Mexican fresh cheese)
Heat tortillas over open flame on stove.
Garnish with additional queso fresco and chopped cilantro.
If you would like a fresh salad to go with this, using ingredients you will already have on hand like the black beans and extra pineapple, this is a delicious one from Vardhini's Zesty Palette blog.