So the other day I was reallllly craving something new and zesty. We had just gone to Costco, so after spending a couple of hours vacuum-sealing all of our meat purchases (which is totally the way to go), I remembered a Caribbean pork bowl I had once, and I couldn’t stop drooling. It had zesty beans, perfect rice, and the juiciest pineapple I ever had on top. It was spicy, fruity, and hearty. I knew I wanted to recreate it, so I spent quite a bit of time scouring the web for some new recipes. After tweaking and perfecting them, I finally came up with mine. You guys, I can’t wait to share it with you!
This round kind of happened by accident because we had to go pick up a coffee table from someone in downtown DC, and we were rushing to eat. So, at first I was just going to grill some pork loin chops, veggies, and pineapple… throw it in a bowl and call it done. However, our grill area was shut down for the week (which I discovered after spending an hour getting everything together to take downstairs). After a minute of freaking out, I had to improvise and do it on the stove and in my scurry, I really didn’t think this would be bloggable. I. Was. So. Wrong.
Y’all. Let me tell you. This dish is so flavorful, and the mojo sauce is one of the best things I have EVER tasted, and I do not say that lightly. I had some leftover even after throwing it on everything I made for two days — I didn’t have the heart to toss it…. So I drank it. No regrets, it was that good. You’ll see what I mean when you make it yourself!
For those of you who don’t know what Mojo sauce is, I am so so sorry you haven’t discovered it until now. But, I’m thankful I get to share it with you! This is more of a variation of a Cuban or more broadly of a Caribbean Mojo sauce, but its fairly common and can be found throughout Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands as well There are MANY different variations, But one thing that they all share is LOADS of garlic and oil. With this sauce in particular, the citrus, cilantro and mint are sure to remind you of salty island air. It’s tangy, sweet, savory, and absolutely amazing. It’s also so easy to whip up and is extremely versatile – It can be used as a marinade, as a dipping sauce, or even as a topping. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to play with it by adding different herbs! For this recipe, as you can see, I used it as a marinade, but I also set some aside to mix into the rice, and served some on the side with the main meal.
Speaking of rice and beans…. I have found that in most recipes they are often neglected components, and are often left as is. I can’t stand for that, and found that adding a bit of pizazz to the basic rice and beans took this dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Instead of using my handy-dandy rice cooker (which is one of the best purchases ever) I cooked the rice on the stove with garlic and chicken broth. It gave it a more savory flavor, and added some much needed depth to the overall bowl. Before fluffing and serving, I also stirred in a couple of spoonfuls of left over Mojo sauce, and it really helped to tie the whole thing together.
As for the beans, they certainly aren’t pretty, but my goodness they are good. All you have to do is dice up some bell peppers, jalapeño, and an onion. Add it to the beans and simmer slowly as your rice is finishing up and meat is resting. If they start to get thick, just add in some more broth until you’re ready to serve. Also, since you’re only using a little bit of the peppers and onions for the beams. chop the rest of the veggies, add some olive oil, and put them in a grill basket and on the grill (or under the broiler as in my case). I did the same with the pineapple (with a dash of cayenne, of course!), but it would have been even better on the grill!
One thing that was awesome about this dish is the fact that not only was it easy, you can double or triple it to make some awesome leftovers. We threw some of the pork and beans on nachos for lunch the next day, and I used the mojo sauce to marinade some fish too. The sauce is also good tossed with greens! So, without further ado, I present to you the recipe. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
Drink with: Pineapple Mojito
Eat with: Grilled corn and tortillas
Pork and Bean Bowls with Mojo Sauce
Fruity, Spicy, Sweet, and Savory - these bowls are sure to transport you to a warm breezy night on an island!
- 4 Pork Loin Chops (2 inches thick)
- MOJO SAUCE
- 10 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 C Cilantro
- 1/4 C Mint
- Zest from 1 Orange
- 2 t Cumin
- 2 t Oregano
- 1 t Salt
- 1 t Pepper
- 1 1/2 C Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- 1/2 C Lime Juice
- 1/2 C Olive Oil
- 2 t Honey (for cooking)
- BLACK BEANS
- 1 t Vegetable Oil
- 2 Cans Black Beans, (1 drained, 1 not)
- 2 T diced Peppers
- 2 T diced Onions
- 2 t minced Garlic
- Broth as needed to thin
- 1 t Vegetable Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 1/2 C Long Grain White Rice
- 3 C Chicken Broth
- GRILLED VEGGIES
- Chopped peppers, onions, corn, etc.
- Step 1 1. Make the Mojo Sauce: Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor, and whiz until diced. Add spices and mix while slowly pouring in juices. Once everything is combined, slowly add oil. Set aside.
- Step 2 2. Clean pork if needed. Mix the pork with 1 cup of marinade in a dish or in a gallon sized bag. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to overnight). Store remaining mojo sauce in the fridge.
- Step 3 3. Prepare beans: Add vegetable oil in the bottom of a pan and heat over medium heat. Add in peppers and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for two minutes, and then add 1/2 can of beans.
- Step 4 4. Mush the beans with the peppers and cook for a minute. Add the rest of the beans and juice. Bring to a boil before dropping the heat to a slow simmer. Continue cooking on very low until serving.
- Step 5 5. Prepare rice: Add oil and garlic to the bottom of a pot, and sauté until garilic begins to turn brown. Add rice and cook for a minute or two (until rice starts to lightly brown) before adding the chicken broth. Bring rice and broth to a boil and then drop the heat to low, put the lid on, and cook for at least 25 minutes. You can lift the lid and check if all of the water is absorbed. If it isn’t, continue cooking.
- Step 6 6. While rice is cooking, cook pork. If you aren’t grilling, preheat oven to 400*
- Step 7 7. In the bottom of a cast iron skillet, add 1 T olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is sizzling, add pork one at a time while removing excess marinade. Cook each side for 5 minutes so a brown crust forms.
- Step 8 8. After both sides have been seared, add honey to excess marinade and baste the tops of the pork. Move pork to the oven until internal temperature reads 140. About 5-7 minutes.
- Step 9 You want a thick crust. 9. Once pork is complete, let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Your rice should be done by this point. Add a few spoonfuls of Mojo sauce to rice before fluffing.
- Step 10 10. Add rice, beans, and any roasted veggies to a bowl or plate. Top with sliced pork, extra mojo sauce, and a sprinkle of cilantro and fresh jalapeños.
- Step 11 11. Serve with hot sauce, tortillas, or roasted/grilled pineapple on the side!