Caribbean Summer: Sweet and Spicy Pork with Coconut Rice and Mango-Cucumber-Lime Salsa

As the temperatures keep on rising here in Sacramento, I am discovering the true value of my slow cooker. Not only for simmering away while I’m at work or for making filling winter soups and stews, but also helping me avoid turning on my oven during 100+ degree summer days.

One thing slow cookers are fantastic for, no matter what the season, is tender, falling-apart meat. I gave shredded chicken a try a couple weeks ago, but I wanted more of a tropical vibe this time around. Enter my spin-off for jerk pork, nestled on top of fluffy coconut rice and garnished with a bright, vibrant fruit salsa. It makes enough for a satisfying lunch or dinner all week, or invite some friends over to celebrate the onset of summer.

Ingredients

2 lbs pork shoulder

7 cloves garlic

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tbsp crushed Marash chile

1/2 tbsp New Mexican red chile powder

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp cumin

1 tbsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 cup orange juice

1.5 cups jasmine rice

1 cup water

1 can light coconut milk

2 ripe mangos (or other sweet summer fruit, such as white nectarines)

1 english cucumber

Directions

Peel garlic cloves and slice in half along the long side. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2 – 1 inches into the pork in several places. Stuff each slice with a piece of garlic. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar and spices (Marash chile, New Mexican red chile, cloves, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper).

Rub spice mixture into pork, then place inside a Ziploc bag. Add 1/4 cup lime juice and the orange juice to the bag, seal, and lay flat in fridge overnight or for 6-8 hours, turning once.

Pork after rubbing with spice mixture.

Pork after rubbing with spice mixture.

Remove pork from bag and lay in the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Pour remaining marinade over the top. Set slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours.

After pork has finished cooking, shred inside of the slow cooker using a fork, then mix pork shreds with remaining juice and let sit on the “keep warm” setting until rice and salsa are prepared.

Pork after cooking on low for 8-9 hours.

Pork after cooking on low for 8-9 hours.

Shredded pork.

Shredded pork.

Wash the rice in cold water, rubbing the grains between your hands until the water runs clear. Add to a medium pot, then add coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until coconut milk is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with a fork, then let sit with the lid on for 10 – 15 minutes while you prepare the salsa.

Peel and dice the mango (or other fruit), then add to a medium-large bowl.

Peel and dice the cucumber. Add to the mango. Pour remaining lime juice over the fruit, then stir to coat the fruit with the lime juice.

To serve, layer rice, pork, salsa, and enjoy!

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