Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fiesta Fiesta! A Taste of the Caribbean.

When I hear the word "Caribbean" I think of so many wonderful things. The Pirates of the Caribbean was always my favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom as a child. I can still remember each section of the ride and the nice cool caves the line for the ride takes you through so that you get to escape the heat for a short (or long) time. Some of the movies were great and some not so great. But who doesn't love Johnny Depp as a pirate?! But even better than a ride is the actual Caribbean. What I would give to be on an island with clear blue water and a tropical drink right now... I would love to go back to Bonaire, Curacao, St. Kitts, Grenada or St. Maarten. But for now, some Caribbean-inspired cooking will have to do. Speaking of Caribbean food, there is a place you need to check out if you are local. Caribbean Fiesta on Old Milton Pkwy in Alpharetta makes some damn good chicken and sides. It's definitely not a fancy restaurant but they know what they are doing for sure.

I found the recipe below in Cuisine At Home magazine. It was pretty amazing if you ask me! I also opened a bottle of Chestatee White Wine from the Three Sisters Vineyards in North Georgia. It was a nice wine to go with spicy foods but wasn't amazing overall. Their more premium wines are much better.

Caribbean Pork Bowl with Black Beans and Rice
Makes 4 large servings (pic after recipe.) Source: Cuisine At Home 

For salsa:
4 -6 tomatillos, quartered
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped

1/2 cup white onion, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 jalapeno, chopped

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 lb smoked kielbasa cut into slices

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice


  • Blanch tomatillos in boiling water for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften.  Remove husk, drain and rinse in cold water.

  •  Pulse tomatillos with pineapple, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, sugar, and salt in a processor or blender until finely chopped. Cover and chill. 

  •  Blend spices.

  • Toss trimmed pork with spice mixture. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute pork for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  •  Stir in kielbasa and garlic. Saute an additional 5 minutes or until kielbasa begins to brown, stirring to keep the garlic from burning.

  •  Deglaze with lime juice and boil until syrupy, 1-2 minutes. Serve with black beans and rice, and top with tomatillo salsa.

    Black Beans and Rice
    1 cup long grain rice
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 cups chicken broth
    1/2 cup white onion, chopped
    2 cans black beans (15 oz. each), drained and rinsed
    1/2 cup chicken broth

    Saute garlic in oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add rice and saute a minute until golden. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

    In another pan, saute onion in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add beans and broth, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until hot. Add broth if necessary. 

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