Thursday, January 10, 2013

Caribbean Pork & Coconut Rice

I know we’re all of two weeks into winter, but I’m already dreaming of warm weather. Despite being raised in the north where snow, ice and freezing temperatures were the norm for four to five months each year, I HATE winter and loathe its arrival. Even here in Tennessee where our winters are rather short and mild, I still dread when the temperature drops below 60 degrees.

Since I can’t change the weather and can’t snowbird in Mexico quite yet (trust me, I’m saving for it), about the only thing I can do is try to bring warm-weather, vacation-like flavors to our winter-chilled home.

This recipe is super simple, has fantastic flavor and takes me back to vacations in Jamaica. Plus, all of the ingredients are right off the grocery shelf, so there’s no worries about buying flavorless, out-of-season items to create a summer taste. Cheers to warmer weather on the way! 

Caribbean Pork & Coconut Rice
From Weber’s Big Book of Grilling

4 pork chops
4 tbsp. dark brown sugar
4 tbsp. orange or pineapple juice
2 tbsp. Jamaican rum
1 tbsp. dry unsweetened coconut
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Coconut rice
1 c. basmati rice
2 c. water
2/3 c. coconut milk
4 tbsp. raisins
4 tbsp. roasted peanuts or cashews
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. dry unsweetened coconut, toasted

Trim any excess fat from the pork and place the chops in a shallow, nonmetallic dish. Mix the sugar, fruit juice, rum, coconut, and cinnamon together in a bowl, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixtures over the pork, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Preheat the barbecue. Remove the pork from the marinade, reserving the liquid for basting. Cook over hot coals for 15-20 minutes, basting with the marinade.

Meanwhile, make the coconut rice. Rinse the rice under cold running water, place it in a pan with the water and coconut milk, and bring gently to a boil. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for 12 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff up with a fork.

Stir the raisins and nuts into the rice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the dry unsweetened coconut. Transfer the pork and rice to warmed serving plates and serve immediately.
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