Real Food for Real Life

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I forgot about the Jarritos!!

Jarritos al Pastor

As you may (or may not) recall, I received 11 bottles of Jarritos soda back in June to do a product review.  After preparing one chicken dish and one cocktail, the box got tucked away in the pantry and forgotten about (sigh).  Reminded by the little guy that I still had the soda (HE didn't forget),

I drug the box out of the pantry.  I took the bottle of Piña (pineapple) and used it as the base of a marinade for al pastor (yeah, I know, this isn't a big stretch).  Remembering the delicious result the long marinade of the chicken produced, I decided to let the pork experience the same long bath.  The pork turned out scrumptious, tender, and moist, just as the chicken had, and the depth of flavor was incredible.   While not everyone may like a fruit flavored soda, Jarritos has proved itself to be a wonderful marinade base for meat...I'm thinking a Latin/Asian fusion dish for the mandarin :)

I also took the opportunity to break out the jalapeños en eccabeche that I had made at the beginning of the month.  These turned out every bit as delicious as I had hoped.  I had had a nagging fear that the processing time would overcook the veg, but this was not the case, and they were still nice and crisp.  Unfortunately, Ben and I ate half a jar in this one sitting (I guess there are worse things to over indulge in :), so I shall need to make some more of these before summer's end.

Jarritos al Pastor

2 to 2 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 bottle Jarritos Piña
1 large onion, cut into a large dice
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 can chipotles in adobo, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 20oz. can pineapple chunks
1 tbs. olive oil 
Slice the tenderloin into one inch slices, don't worry about trimming off the fat unless there is a lot (there usually isn't).  Mix the remaining ingredients, except the pineapple and oil, in a gallon zip lock bag; add the pork slices and stow in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days (Mine was 3 days), turning occasionally.

When you are ready to cook, remove the pork from the marinade to a foil lined serving platter (easy cleanup).  Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice for another use, and place in a medium bowl.  Remove the onion chunks from the marinade and add to the pineapple; drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and toss to coat. 

Light your grill (I used gas) and once it is hot, grill the pork until it is just cooked through; throw away the foil, revealing a clean platter, and remove the pork to rest for 5-10 minutes.  While grilling the pork, cook the onion and pineapple in a grill basket until tender and starting to brown (this actually took longer to cook than the pork).

 Once the pork has rested, cut it into thin slices and pile in the middle of the platter.  Spoon the cooked onion and pineapple around the outside and serve (if someone doesn't want the pineapple, they can easily get just the pork).  Serving suggestions:  warm corn and/or flour tortillas, grated queso cotija (or other cheese), chopped onion with  fresh cilantro, diced avocado, salsa of choice (I used salsa ranchera), and lime wedges...we had all of these :-)

Other stuff...

I like to make my own salsa ranchera, but as this can be a bit time consuming, I have also found a favorite to purchase at the grocery.  I like the Herdez brand, available in the Latin section of most groceries.  All the salsas are good, but salsa ranchera, of medium heat, is, by far, my favorite.

I decided to use the reserved pineapple juice in a riff on the classic margarita.  This was the perfect cocktail to go with the spicy complexity of this meal.

Pineapple Lime Margarita

1oz. tequlia blanco or plata (white or silver)
1oz. triple sec
1 oz. pineapple juice
1oz. lime juice

Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour over ice.  Garnish with a wedge or slice of lime and a pineapple chunk.  Makes one drink.

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