Thursday, March 8, 2018

Braised Adobo Pork with Polenta

Dinner the playbook has a lot of simple, family-friendly meals that aren't boring.  The flavor of the meat, and polenta, from this recipe was great!  But next time I will the same amount of meat and double everything else (except polenta) to have more sauce.  The meal seemed a little dry, but I'll give it another try soon.

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2½-pound pork loin, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • bay leaf
  • chipotle in adobo (not the sauce, just the dripping single pepper; you can freeze the rest)
  • ½ cup cider vinegar (or store-bought vinegar-based barbecue sauce such as Shealy’s)
  • garlic cloves, halved
  • medium onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 cup medium or fine cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides in the hot oil, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the pork and add the tomatoes, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, chipotle, cider vinegar, garlic, onions, and ¼ cup water to the pot; it should be about two-thirds immersed in liquid. Bring to a boil, cover, and place in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours. (The pork should be practically falling apart when finished.)
While the pork is braising, make the polenta: Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Pour the cornmeal into the pot slowly, whisking as you go. The mixture will thicken after 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and let the mixture bubble on the stovetop for another 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and adding water if it becomes too thick for your liking. Before serving, remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter and Cheddar.
Remove the pork from the pot to a cutting board or platter, shred with two forks, and toss back in the braising liquid. Remove the bay leaf.
Sprinkle the cilantro over the pork and serve with the polenta.

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