Monday, July 7, 2008

Mexican Pork Casserole

We are working on our food storage, which means our food budget is stretched a little tight. I have been trying to combine meat with stretchers, like rice or pasta, so that I use less of it.

I had some pork that was a week away from frostbite in the back of the freezer, just 3 pieces, not enough for the 5 of us to have, and I like to have leftovers for Mark's lunch the next day. So I figured I would cook it up and make a casserole of some sort. I also had a partial bag of tortilla chips that had been left open during our weekend away and gone somewhat stale. Black beans I have been meaning to use, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce begging to be used sparked an idea!

3 pork chops
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried cilantro
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt

Sprinkle the salt over the pork chops. Rub in the cumin and cilantro. Melt butter in skillet and add chops. cook until done and browned. Let cool a bit and cut into cubes.

I used 2 cups cooked rice: 2 cups boiling water + 1 cup rice. Bring back to boil, simmer covered for about 10 minutes or until water is gone. I used chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor.

Add pork back to skillet. Mix in:

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped (be careful, it's hot)
1/2 onion, chopped

Cook for about 10 minutes to let onion get kind of tender. Add rice and a little water if needed. You want it to be a little wet, as the rice will absorb the water in the oven. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish, grate some cheddar on top.

I placed the tortilla chips in a bag and smacked them to pieces with a rolling pin. (Stress relief.... seriously) I sprinkled the resulting crumbs with salt, parsely, and some olive oil and tossed them in the bag. Shook around to mix, and poured them on top of the casserole.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until you remember it's still in there, like I did. My cheese was way over cooked, but at 15 minutes it wouldn't have been.

Mark liked it, I liked it, all the kids liked it. It had plenty of flavor, and not a lot of heat since I limited the chipotle peppers. I may use 2 next time and serve with a little sour cream. This would also be good with some bell peppers chopped small and cooked with the pork/onion/tomato stuff. All in all, a successful experiment!

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