Cuban-Inspired Mojo Pork

Pork is a favorite in my family. Whether it’s bacon, chops, ham, sausage or chicharones, pork is delicious. You can have it on sandwiches or on its own, sweet or savory, hot or cold, or however you feel like. No matter how I eat it, I love it tender, juicy, and flavorful.

Pork is a popular meat in Latin American dishes. Every Latin American family has their tried-and-true recipe for pernil, a delicious pork dish. This is a slow cooker version where the pork cooks at a low temp for the long daytime hours. When you come home, the smell of the pork will invite you in. I promise that your mouth will water and you might just eat it straight from the slow cooker.

Jump to the Equipment List. Jump to the Ingredient List. Jump to the Recipe Instructions.

I judge Mexican restaurants by how well they cook their pork. Is it tasty or bland? Is it tender, juicy, and moist or tough and dry? My husband laughs at me because I never fail to eat carnitas as a way of sussing out how good the restaurant is. If they don’t make a good pork dish, I won’t eat there again.

I developed this recipe because it was time for me to have my own pork recipe to pass along to my kids. This recipe is of the dump-and-go variety, which – if you don’t want to work too hard to have a good dinner on the table at the end of the day – is the way to go. Although, I strongly recommend that you do marinate the meat overnight. It’s worth the ten extra minutes to do that.

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

This recipe makes good work out of a pork shoulder. The shoulder is a tough cut of meat with a good amount of fat marbled throughout. Between the acidic nature of the juice and the low and slow method of cooking, the meat finally gives way and becomes tender and flavorful.

Equipment List:

  • 7-quart slow cooker
  • Slow cooker liner
  • Juicer (optional, but helpful)
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Tongs to handle the meat
  • 2 1-gallon freezer safe Ziploc bags

Ingredient List:

  • 3 pound pork shoulder
  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • Oranges (enough for about 1 cup of juice) (See Notes below)
  • Limes (enough for about 1/2 cup of juice)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves removed, peeled, and smashed with a knife
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
Most of the ingredients for the recipe.

Note: if you wanted to cheat, you could use bottled orange juice, but I found that the extra sugar throws the flavor off for me. It’s worth the work to squeeze the juice yourself. You could also use bottled lime juice, but the flavor profile is off in my opinion.

Recipe Instructions:

  • Night before: Mix the 1 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of lime juice, olive oil, oregano, and garlic in a two cup measuring cup.
  • Salt and pepper the pork shoulder. If the shoulder is folded over, make sure to salt and pepper inside the fold as well.
  • Place the pork shoulder in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag.
  • Pour the juice mixture into the bag with the pork.
  • Remove as much air as possible and massage the bag to distribute the juices all over the meat.
  • I recommend that you add the marinade back into another Ziploc bag, just in case the first bag doesn’t hold.
  • Place the bag into the fridge for at least one hour. Preferably, you can do this for six to eight hours. If you can, flip the bag at least once.
  • Slice your onions. (Sometimes I add those to the marinade and sometimes I don’t. I don’t think it makes a ton of difference either way.)
  • The next day, set up your slow cooker. I usually line my slow cooker with a plastic liner made for this, which makes clean up super easy.
  • Add the sliced onions to the bottom of the slow cooker. If they are in the marinade with the meat, don’t worry about this step.
  • Add the shoulder and turn it so that the fat cap is on top. You want the fat to render through the meat if possible. If you have garlic or onions stuck to the top, try to move them to the sides of the shoulder.
  • Add two bay leaves.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I meant to try this as part of a Cuban Sandwich, but ate it all before I had the chance! This pork was fork-tender and so juicy. The flavors of the citrus and garlic make me hum while I eat it. And, my kids really enjoyed this as well. My littlest one likes this pork with white rice and sweet corn. How do you like your Cuban Mojo Pork?

Thank you for sharing some of your screen time with me! If you liked this recipe, please hit the like button so I know to make more content like this. Tell me what you want me to try making next in the comments below. Also, check out my Facebook and Instagram (tag me at @cookwithsamib) for more photos and my Pinterest for what inspires me. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for updates when I hang new posts!

Join 57 other followers

Buen provecho! – Sami B.

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Dominican-Style Chicken Fricassee

I was born in New York City, daughter to Dominican parents. Our dinners mainly consisted of white rice, pinto beans, and some kind of meat with a green salad. Very simple, but very flavorful.  It’s a meal known as “La Bandera” (the flag).  

The rice was perfectly fluffy and salty.  The meat was juicy and tender.  The beans were a delicious sauce that brought it all together. I didn’t eat salad much growing up. I probably should have. I’m sure the coolness of the tomato and the lettuce works really well with the rest of the meal.

Chicken fricassee, also known as pollo guisado is the perfect recipe that hits all of these highlights.  It’s flavorful, forgiving for the average cook, and softens tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions just enough. Pollo guisado is generally done on the stove top and simmered until the chicken becomes fall off the bone tender. As soon as it was ready, you’d call your other half, kids, and the neighbor kids over for a nice meal and enjoy the deliciousness.

This recipe requires a little prep work, but you can skip searing the chicken to cut back on time when you need to get dinner on the table ASAP. Depending on how many batches of chicken you need to saute, you could save 6 minutes or more. When I made this recipe, I used nearly 4 pounds of chicken quarters which had to be seared one by one. Including the 25 minutes or so it took to do that, plus 10 minutes building pressure, 20 minutes at high pressure, and 15 minute natural pressure release, dinner was served in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Had I skipped searing, dinner would have been ready in 45 minutes.

Pollo guisado pairs nicely with my habichuelas guisadas, Jasmine rice, and a green salad. Read on for the recipe!

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

I love my Instant Pot. Mine is a 6 quart 7-in-1 multicooker that can saute, pressure cook, make yogurt, steam, cook eggs, among other things. I’ve had since 2016 when we bought our house and since then we bought a 3 quart and adopted another 6 quart. I love having multiple pots since I can cook so many things at once for meal prep or potlucks. If you haven’t purchased one, you should consider it!

Equipment List:

  • 6 Quart Instant Pot (I have a Duo 7-in-1)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Plate to hold the browned chicken
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tongs (to transfer the chicken)
  • 2-gallon zip top bags

Ingredient List:

  • 2 pounds of skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (I used chicken quarters)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small white onion sliced into strips
  • 4 plum tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and seeded
  • 1/4 cup pitted olives cut into halves with its juice (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 lime
  • Cilantro leaves chopped for garnish
Cast of characters for tonight’s recipe. Not pictured: olive oil and lime.

Recipe Instructions:

  • Mix the seasonings and set aside. (Note: the Adobo seasoning has plenty of salt, so no need for any in this recipe!)
  • Add the onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, olives with their juice, and garlic to a 2-gallon zip top bag. Set aside.
  • Prepare the chicken.  I wash my chicken, but you don’t have to.  Just be sure to pat it dry.
  • Add the chicken to the vegetable mix, include the seasoning and two tablespoons of olive oil and close the bag.
  • Thoroughly massage the bag to incorporate the chicken, vegetables, olive oil, and seasonings. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Decon all areas within ten feet of the raw chicken. Salmonella is no joke.
  • Set your Instant Pot to the sauté mode and press the adjust button to medium heat.  When the screen reads “HOT,” add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot.  (You may have to take the pot out and swirl the oil around due to the slightly curved bottom of the pot.)  Add the sugar and cook until caramelized – about two minutes. Watch to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn!
  • After a minute, brown the chicken on each side for about three minutes.  (Reserve the marinade.) After browning, place the chicken on another plate.
This is the color you’re looking for when searing the chicken.
  • Pour two tablespoons of water plus some of the marinade juice. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot, scraping up the browned bits to incorporate into the liquid.
  • Pour the remainder of the marinade into inner lining of the Instant Pot. Add the chicken on top, ensuring it’s in an even layer. 
  • Juice the like and pour it all over.
Look at that bed of delicious veggies and marinade!
The chicken, nestled on top of the veggie layer.
  • Lock the lid in place.  Set the knob to sealing.  Press the poultry button and set to 13 minutes at high pressure, if one layer, 20 minutes if you had to overlap meaty pieces.
  • After the Instant Pot completes the cooking cycle, let the pressure come down naturally for about 15 minutes then release any remaining pressure after that. 
  • Carefully remove the lid (make sure you keep away from the steam escaping!) and set aside. 
  • If you want, carefully remove the chicken and switch to saute mode to thicken the sauce.
  • Serve chicken over rice with a small bowl of stewed beans on the side.  I personally like the beans on the same plate, so I can get that perfect bite easily and every time!
  • Enjoy the savory flavors!
The finished plate. I smothered the chicken in the veggies, which added a nice pop of flavor.

What do you think of this recipe? I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! Give it a like, so I know to make more recipes like this.

Thank you for sharing some of your screen time with me! If you liked this recipe, please hit the like button so I know to make more content like this. Tell me what you want me to try making next in the comments below. Also, check out my Facebook and Instagram (tag me at @cookwithsamib) for more photos and my Pinterest for what inspires me. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for updates when I hang new posts!

Buen provecho! – Sami B.

Instant Pot Bone-In Chicken

I love chicken. Chicken is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other proteins such as meat, fish, and pork. Our local Safeway sells cut up chicken parts for about $2.99 a pound and whole chickens for $1.99 a pound. I will regularly see sales for whole chickens as low as 79 cents in the summer and 99 cents for cut up parts. The organic chicken is certainly more expensive. If you really want to save on chicken, buy a whole bird and learn how to chop it up for parts. Save the backs for chicken stock and freeze what you don’t use immediately so you can stock up on what you want for whatever meal you’re making.

Jump to the Equipment List. Jump to the Ingredient List. Jump to the Recipe Instructions.

I used to only eat white meat, because it was lean and I knew when it was cooked once it was no longer pink. But, as I learned more about cooking and watching the temperature of foods to determine when they were done, I grew an appreciation for the other cuts of the bird like thighs and legs. Thighs and legs work wonderfully for such creations as my Filipino-inspired adobo chicken or for barbecue recipes. Chicken breast can be a blank slate for your seasonings while chicken thighs and legs have a wonderful flavor and are forgiving for the average cook like myself.

There are various chicken recipes that are weeknight friendly. Bone-in pieces take longer due to the fact that the meat closest to the bone takes longest to cook through. Before I made this, I didn’t find bone-in chicken to lend itself to quick weeknight cooking.

In making this recipe, I took into account the fact that the kids were starting school up again (SUMMER WAS SO SHORT!) and that I wanted to make a meal that would be ready in under an hour.

Husband and I have started talking after-school activities for the kids. If we go this route, our time at home will be extremely limited. So, Instant Pot to the rescue! Read on for the bone-in chicken recipe that will change your cooking game.

I have a 6 quart 7-in-one Duo Instant Pot that I bought it just after we first moved into our house in 2016. One of my best friends wanted to buy me one because she loved hers so much, but the sale on Amazon was too good to pass up. Several years later, I bought a 3-quart Duo at a super cheap price to do things like sides, beans, and rice. When I told her this, she let me know she couldn’t use hers anymore, so I adopted her 6-quart.

Yes, we are an Instant Pot family. It isn’t the only thing we use to cook – our stove, grill, and smoker get exercised every so often. I love that the Instant Pot is a multicooker with the sauté function built in. I use that function in this recipe to great success.

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

Equipment List:

  • Instant Pot – I used my 6 quart.
  • Trivet with short legs (I used the one that came with my Instant Pot).
  • Measuring spoons.
  • Measuring cup (you don’t really need it, but if you’re particular like me, you may want it).
  • Cutting board.
  • Carving knife.
  • Food-safe rubber gloves (I use these Kirkland ones).
  • Decontamination wipes. Can’t be too safe with that raw chicken!
  • Wooden spoon.
  • Tongs.

Ingredient List:

  • Bone-in chicken breast halves. I used three from Sprouts.
  • 3 teaspoons Paprika.
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt.
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning.
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder.
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or water.
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil of choice, divided.
Cast of characters for today’s recipe.

Recipe Instructions:

  • Clean the chicken. I like to remove the sliminess from the chicken if it’s been in packaging. If I bought the chicken previously and repackaged it, I skip this step.
  • Decon everything within a million feet of where you washed the chicken.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  • Season liberally with the spices.
  • Push the sauté button on the Instant Pot and with the adjust button (or sauté button, depending on your model) set the temp to the highest setting.
  • Once the display says “HOT,” pour one tablespoon of cooking oil into the inner pot.
  • In batches, place the chicken skin-side down and do not disturb for three minutes. You’ll want to brown the skin to get the Maillard reaction. This adds depth of flavor to the dish. I recommend you don’t skip this step, but you could certainly dump and go if you’re really short on time.
  • Flip the chicken and brown the other side for about three minutes. (If you notice the pot getting a little dry, pour in the rest of the cooking oil, wait for it to heat up, and continue browning your chicken.)
  • Remove the chicken and allow to rest on a clean plate.
This is the color you’re looking for in browning the meat.
  • Pour about a 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and scrape up the browned bits with your wooden spoon. This performs two functions: 1. it mixes those delicious browned bits into the stock and 2. deglazing the bottom of the pan will prevent the dreaded “BURN” notice.
  • Pour in the rest of the chicken stock.
  • Push the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button to stop the sauté mode.
  • Place the trivet into the pot.
  • Put in the browned chicken on top of the trivet. Make sure all the chicken is in an even layer. If they have to overlap, do so with the thinnest side of the breasts. I place the thinnest side toward the middle, which is the easiest for me.
Browned chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.
This is how I layered my chicken in my 6-quart Instant Pot. Notice that the thinnest parts are toward the middle, which made nestling these pieces in very easy.
  • Lock the lid into place and turn the sealing knob back to the sealing position.
  • Push the “Poultry” button and set for 10 minutes (or you can use the Manual button if you prefer).
  • After the cooking cycle is over, let the pot rest for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.
  • Test the temperature to ensure that the thickest part of the chicken reads at 165 degrees for at least five seconds. If it’s not quite there, give it another minute or two in the pot, but for three large bone-in breasts, 10 minutes under pressure was plenty!
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy!

I had my chicken with my Jasmine rice and Dominican habichuelas guisadas, both made in the Instant Pot. Delish!

Instant Pot Bone-In Chicken with some Instant Pot Jasmine Rice and Instant Pot Habichuelas Guisadas.
Small plate… because I was feeling fancy that day.

I really hope you liked this recipe. Please let me know in the comments below how you like to use your bone-in chicken breast. If you used different seasonings, I’m interested to know! Give this recipe a go, hit the like button, and please don’t forget to subscribe so you can get more recipes.

Buen provecho! – Sami B.

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Overnight Oats in the Instant Pot

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

I love my Instant Pot. Mine is a 6 quart 7-in-1 multicooker that can saute, pressure cook, make yogurt, steam, cook eggs, among other things. I’ve had since 2016 when we bought our house and since then we bought a 3 quart and adopted another 6 quart. I love having multiple pots since I can cook so many things at once for meal prep or potlucks. If you haven’t purchased one, you should consider it!

Recently, we went on a vacation to visit Yosemite National Park. We weren’t staying in an RV or camping. Instead, we rented a cabin in kinda-nearby Coulterville which is about an hour or so away.

While prepping for the trip, I decided to bring my 6 quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo along to make quick work of meals and snacks. I didn’t get to use it as much as I liked, but I did get a chance to make one of my favorite breakfasts: oatmeal.

Now, I think I know what you are thinking: “Sami, I can buy some instant oatmeal in a microwave pouch and be done.” I totally get it. Microwave oatmeal is quick and delicious. But I prefer the Instant Pot version. It’s easy to throw together the night before and insanely versatile as far as make ahead breakfast goes.

Buying bulk oatmeal is cheaper. And making it in the Instant Pot means you can pitch those instant oats that are insanely processed bits of cardboard and go for some nutrient-dense steel cut or rolled oats. Here’s a comparison of the nutritional value of each:

Groats are best, but you can still get a lot out of rolled oats. Way better than instant.

And what’s more? No babysitting! Whether it’s the microwave or the stove top, you have to watch it cook. You can’t set it up and walk away because you run the risk of the oatmeal frothing and spilling over. Ain’t nobody got time to clean up that mess! And ain’t nobody got time to watch something cook. The Instant Pot makes it perfect every single time and you don’t have to watch it.

So, the first night in Coulterville, I set up the pot and had oatmeal waiting for me the next morning. Read on for the recipe!

Ingredients and Equipment List:

For this recipe, you’re going to need a measuring cup (the rice cup is about 180 ml or 3/4 cup), measuring spoons, the Instant Pot, a wooden spoon or the rice paddle, and a ladle. Ingredients include rolled oats, table salt, butter (or margarine – you do you, boo), and water.

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Choose your measuring vessel. The trick to creamy, delicious oatmeal is a ratio of about 1:2.25 oats to water. Measure out 2 rice cups of oats. Pour into the inner lining of your pot.
  2. Measure out 4.5 rice cups of water. Pour that into the pot.
  3. Slice off a pat of butter. Drop that on top of the oats and water.
  4. Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix.
  5. Ensure the oats are completely submerged in water.
  6. Place the lid on, lock it in place and make sure you turn that sealing nob away from you to sealing, not venting.
  7. I preset my Porridge button to 5 minutes, but you can also select the manual or pressure cook button and use the +/- buttons to set it to 5 minutes.
  8. Press the Timer and using the +/- buttons, you can set how long of a delay you want before the pot starts the cooking program. Keep in mind that you need to account for the cooking time, about 10-15 minutes to build pressure before cooking, and about 10-15 minutes of natural pressure release. All told, this will go for about 35 minutes.
  9. Once the program concludes, let the pot naturally release pressure for about 10-15 minutes. Don’t release sooner, or else you’ll have a foamy mess on your hands!
  10. Mix on your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Pro-tip: Oatmeal expands, so don’t feel the pot more than half way.

When I made my Instant Pot oatmeal, I mixed in brown sugar and cinnamon. You can mix it with anything you want.

Instant Pot cooked rolled oats.
Delicious, filling breakfast made easy.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please give it a like and let me know in the comments below how you like your oatmeal. Share this with your friends and subscribe to this blog!

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Buen provecho! – Sami B.

Instant Pot Jasmine Rice

Updated August 3, 2019 with pictures and a little more backstory.

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

I love my Instant Pot. Mine is a 6 quart 7-in-1 multicooker that can saute, pressure cook, make yogurt, steam, cook eggs, among other things. I’ve had since 2016 when we bought our house and since then we bought a 3 quart and adopted another 6 quart. I love having multiple pots since I can cook so many things at once for meal prep or potlucks. If you haven’t purchased one, you should consider it!

One of the things I really enjoy making is Jasmine rice. It goes so well with chicken, beef, eggs, and can be a great base for other dishes. It keeps for about five days in the fridge and is relatively inexpensive to buy. I grew up on rice as part of dinner. I think it would be hard to find a Hispanic household that didn’t have rice with dinner.

My husband and kids love rice, too. I personally have to cut back on my rice consumption, because it’s so easy for me to have a huge bowl of rice just on its own! My waistline and my scale are complaining, haha!

The dinner I made using Instant Pot Jasmine rice as a base: fried egg over medium, seaweed seasoning, steamed veggies, and Sriracha.
And no wonder my scale is tipping. Tonight’s dinner: Jasmine rice topped with steamed carrots, asparagus, and corn. Add a fried over medium egg with some seaweed seasoning and Sriracha sauce dotted on top and I was done.

Rice is ridiculously easy to make in the Instant Pot. This recipe is so simple and it doesn’t involve babysitting like it would on the stove. My mom used to make huge pots of rice and would have to fill the pot to a certain level, stand over the pot stirring, boiling the water, salting the water just right, putting the rice in, make sure the metal spoon could stand in the rice and water (a very useful trick to know how much water is the right amount of water), stirring the rice, watching the rice, lowering the temp just so, putting the lid on the pot just so, etc.

In the Instant Pot? Stupid simple. So simple in fact, that I am pretty sure my Dominican mother was amazed with how good the rice was with minimal effort on my part.

Equipment List:

  • Instant Pot (I used my 3-quart)
  • Wire mesh strainer or sieve
  • Rice paddle
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons.

Ingredients List:

  • Jasmine rice
  • Water
  • Table salt
Picture of ingredients and tools: rice, salt, measuring cup, rice paddle, mesh sieve, and 3-quart Instant Pot Duo.
The cast of characters for this recipe. Not pictured? Those pesky measuring spoons.

Recipe Instructions:

  • Choose your measuring vessel. I use the rice cup that came with the Instant Pot, which is about 3/4 of a cup. Measure out at least a cup’s worth of rice and pour into a fine-mesh colander.
  • Add the same amount of water to the inner liner of your pressure cooker. Salt to taste.
  • Rinse the rice under cool water until it runs clear. If you wonder why you should rinse your rice, check out this TheKitchn link here.
  • Add the rice to the inner liner and stir to combine. Make sure all the grains are submerged in the water.
  • Line up the arrow of the lid with the arrow on the base and turn it an eighth turn clockwise to lock it in. I love the sounds my Instant Pot makes!
  • Make sure the sealing knob is set to sealing. On my Duo model, it’s a quarter turn clockwise.
  • Select “Manual” and make sure it’s on high pressure. Click the + or – button to set the time to five minutes.
  • After the cooking cycle is over, let the pot sit for about 10 minutes to release pressure naturally.
  • Open the pressure cooker, fluff your rice, and enjoy!
Fluffy, cooked Jasmine rice in the Instant Pot.
Come to Mamacita!

Nutrition Information:

One 1/2 cup serving of rice is about 102.5 calories, 0.2 g of fat, 22.5 g of carbohydrates, and 2.1 g of protein.

Let me know what you use your rice for in the comments below!

Thank you for sharing some of your screen time with me! If you liked this recipe, please hit the like button so I know to make more content like this. Tell me what you want me to try making next in the comments below. Also, check out my Facebook and Instagram (tag me at @cookwithsamib) for more photos and my Pinterest for what inspires me. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for updates when I hang new posts!

Join 57 other followers

Buen provecho! – Sami B