Thursday, 1 August 2013

Slightly Mexican spicy rice with pork

Blimey, hasn't the weather been nice!  Faced with this unaccustomed British summer, my girlfriend's parents invited us to a barbecue.  As is traditional, the MiL bought food for about three times as many people as were actually there so we came away with a good haul of leftovers, including a couple of cooked pork chops.  These particular ones had a Chinese marinade, making this a slightly bizarre but very tasty bit of fusion food, but that doesn't really matter - plain ones would be just as good.  What matters is not throwing away perfectly good food.

All the best recipes start by chopping an onion and sweating it over a low heat in a mixture of butter and oil, so let's do that.  Chuck in a crushed or finely chopped clove of garlic too, if you want.

While it's doing, we can cut the pork chops into fine strips, discarding any fat or gristle.  It helps all round to have sharpened your knives before getting to this bit.  Get the pork in the pan along with the onion.

That onion will need 10 minutes or so to soften, it's probably getting there by now so let's give it some flavour.  A bit of coriander and a lot of paprika, I think, along with the necessary twist of salt.

It needs heat as well, supplied today by a Wenk's Yellow Hot chilli pepper from the lovely people at the Real Seed Company.  My chilli peppers haven't done so well this year, due to neglect caused by moving house and a rampant attack of aphids, but the seeds are as always top quality.

When the onion's soft, add the rice to the pan and stir everything around so that it's coated in all that flavour.  Then immediately add a tin of tomatoes and a tin of black beans, including the water that they're preserved in.

Bring to the boil then back the heat right off to a gentle simmer - a bubble bursting the surface every second or two - and wait until the rice is cooked.  It'll take around twenty minutes and by the end there won't be much liquid left but take care not to let it boil dry - you can always add a splash of water from the tap if you think it necessary - and give it a good through stir every five minutes or so to prevent the bottom burning and the top from being undercooked.  Leave the lid off though, or you'll end up with a soggy dinner - you want it to be dryish by the end.

I had some mushrooms knocking around so I added them five minutes before the end of cooking time, as well as a good sprinkle of dried coriander leaves.  If you have a coriander plant, use fresh leaves instead.

We had this really simple tonight, just in a bowl with a spoonful of guacamole, but having given it some thought I reckon this is a really versatile dish.  We used pork, but chicken would do instead - and chorizo would be amazing

You could use it as a burrito filling in a tortilla wrap maybe, with cheese melted on top?  The possibilities are endless.

I haven't done this for a while, for which I apologise... I don't think the money-saving skills have atrophied too much, but the photography certainly has.  Forgive.

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