Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crockpot Wednesday: Mexican Rice & Carnitas

 Rating: 3.5/5

Most of you know that I'm one of the organizers of SactoMoFo (Sacramento Mobile Food Festival). As we get closer and closer, (10 days to go) it is no wonder that my mind is on pretty much nothing else. Suffice it to say, I'm not guaranteeing any Crockpot Wednesday next week. We will be on a week's run of publicity up to the event. Honestly, as much as I'm championing the food trucks, I'm about food trucked out for a while.

But I'm giving you a two-fer this week anyway. Problem is, with one crockpot, it takes two separate days to make them.

First up is Mexican style brown rice. I decided to use some more of the rice that the California Rice Commission sent me to do another dish. As I mentioned last week, rice does best when it is done on high setting for only 2-3 hours. It is also very important that you pour in boiling, already hot water. You cannot start rice in a crockpot from cold water, it doesn't come out well because it takes forever for the water to heat up. This rice is simple and has few ingredients.

The second is an easy take on carnitas.  I happen to like carnitas that has been done the two-cook method. That is, first you braise it to get it shredding tender and render out the fat, and then you roast it in the oven so that you get nice crispy bits. You can use any salsa you like, but I used green salsa this time.

Mexican Style Brown Rice

1 c brown rice
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/4 c boiling water
4 oz of tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
cilantro for garnish

Spray your crockpot with vegetable spray. Add rice, chili powder, salt, boiling water (important that it's hot!), tomato sauce and garlic. Cover and set on high for 2 1/2 hours.

When it is done, mix in chopped scallions. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro when serving.

Easy Carnitas

4 lbs pork shoulder or butt
12 oz jar of salsa
1 t garlic salt
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin

Trim the pork of as much fat as possible. Place in cooker. Pour over the salsa. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.

In a small bowl, mix together garlic salt, chili powder, and cumin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the pork and shred using two forks. Spread the shredded pork on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the pork and toss to mix. Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes or until it reaches desired crispiness on the surface layer. Serve with tortillas, rice, beans, and salsa. 

Note: Cooking times may vary depending on your slow cooker. 
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