Close, but no cigar

January 19, 2017

Kind of monochromatic dinner, it was.

Kind of monochromatic dinner, it was.

This should’ve been good.

And it wasn’t BAD. It just was a little…disappointing.

I have been craving Mexican food for a couple of weeks, which is not real common for me, because I’m not a huge Mexican fan. I mean, I like it, but (a) it doesn’t always like ME, and (b) it’s not something I want all that often. In any event, the craving caught up with me t’other night, and as picking up Mexican carryout would’ve involved major logistics issues, up to and including getting dressed, I chose to cook my own.

(NOTE: It is a hazard of working at home that unless there is something that specifically requires you to dress, you may wear your pajamas for three days at a time. It always secretly amuses me to be discussing multi-million-dollar business deals while wearing plaid flannel PJs and fuzzy socks. With a dog curled up beside me. But I digress.)

There was a package of pulled pork from a great big pork butt I’d slow-roasted a while back in the freezer, and it had been staring reproachfully at me every time I opened the freezer door. I decided I’d eliminate the problem, and make pulled pork enchiladas. With that, since I’d just picked up a bag of plain old white rice and I had the other makings, I’d make Mexican(ish) rice. And that would be the name of dinner.

Thawed out the pork, grabbed some tortillas out of the fridge, and set to work. And made an egregious error.

Normally, when I make enchiladas, I make chicken enchiladas. Chicken enchiladas call out for chopped green chiles. So as a matter of course, I got out a can of chopped green chiles. Topped each tortilla with some pork, some powdered pico de gallo seasoning, some chiles, some grated cheese, and rolled him up. Lined them up in a baking dish, topped with enchilada sauce, and more grated cheese.

Let it be duly noted that green chiles do not go NEARLY as well with pork as they do with chicken. The flavors just don’t blend, for some reason. I would have been, I think, much better served to have drizzled the pork with some iteration of salsa or some other not-real-hot chile sauce, then gone ahead with the cheese and finished the dish up.

Mexican rice was good, though. I love the kind of yellow-orangeish rice you get at a lot of Mexican restaurants, and this recipe comes as close as  I’ve come to recreating it at home. I took a couple of short-cuts with this batch — used home-canned tomato sauce, just sauteed the onions and garlic in the Instant Pot, then added the tomato sauce, chicken broth, and a little cumin. It’s not as dry and fluffy as restaurant rice, I think in large part because I DO use the Instant Pot, but it’s still better than any other recipe I’ve tried.

Had a couple of tortillas left over, and had grated more cheese than I needed, so I combined the two and made a cheese tostada with more of the powdered pico on it. (This seasoning, btw, is Good Stuff. I get it at WalMart, in the Mexican food section.) Over-toasted it just a tad, but it was still good.

All in all, it wasn’t a raving success, but it stood between me and starvation, and for the first meal I’d cooked all week, it’ll do in a pinch. I am, however, now craving a big bowl of potato salad, so I guess that’s on tap for tomorrow, with something yet to be determined. I have pork left, and I have tortillas left, and I’m thinking that may call for an impromptu batch of huevos rancheros one of these mornings.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em got any other great ideas, let me hear ’em.




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