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!

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Buen provecho! – Sami B.

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Instant Pot Dominican Beans

Rice and beans with meat and a green salad was almost always on the dinner menu growing up. As the daughter of Dominican-born parents, it’s hard to imagine a childhood without it. It’s part of La Bandera, which is arroz con habichelas y pollo guisado – rice with beans and stewed chicken. It’s also cheap eats. A heaping serving of rice and beans with a green salad probably only costs about $2-$3 a person to make. Not bad if you’re trying to save some money.

Latin rice and beans is similar to New Orleans red beans and rice but with some distinct differences. Both the New Orleans-style recipe (check out my “Inspired” recipe here) and Dominican version cook over a low heat for hours, melding the flavors of the seasoning into the dish itself. Both dishes are typically served over rice and may or may not include meat. Dominican habichelas themselves do not contain meat. They are also not spicy.

My recipe below produces a delicious steamy bean stew that goes well over rice and your choice of meat. Check it out!

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!

Some of the cast of characters. Not pictured: chicken stock.
Pinto beans in water.
I always pre-soak my beans to soften them and remove any sugars that can cause digestive issues.

Equipment List:

  1. Instant Pot. I used my 3-quart for this recipe. You can easily double it but go for the 6 quart instead.* (See tips below.)
  2. Chef’s knife.
  3. Cutting board.
  4. Wooden spoon.
  5. Ladle for serving.
  6. Small bowl.
  7. Measuring spoons and cup.

Ingredients List:

  1. 1 pound of pre-soaked pinto beans (for this recipe, I pre-soaked 8 ounces’ worth of beans, which became about 1 pound after soaking).
  2. 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  3. 1 bunch cilantro.
  4. 1 green bell pepper.
  5. 4 cloves garlic.
  6. 1 white onion.
  7. 3 cups chicken stock or water.
  8. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  9. 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
  10. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: You can double this recipe, but keep in mind that you should keep the combination of ingredients lower than the 1/2 way mark on the pot. Beans foam and could clog the sealing valve.

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Pre-soak your beans. (Cover the beans with about an inch of water in a bowl and allow to soak overnight or for 8-10 hours. No need to add salt. Drain, rinse, then set aside.)
  2. Measure out the oregano and tomato paste, set aside.
  3. Wash half the bunch of cilantro and pat dry.
  4. Dice the green bell pepper, garlic, and white onion to make about a half cup.
  5. Rinse and pat dry the cilantro bunch. Keep it tied together.
  6. Set the Instant Pot to saute and more to adjust the heat level.
  7. Once the display reads “HOT,” pour in the vegetable oil.
  8. After a minute, sweat the bell pepper, garlic, and white onion in the hot oil. Sauté for about three minutes, taking care to not let the aromatics burn, but become translucent and fragrant instead.
  9. Stir in oregano.
  10. Pour in the beans.
  11. Stir in the tomato paste and quickly add the stock or water until the beans are covered by about 1/2 inch to an inch of liquid. (Note, don’t go over the 1/2 line!)
  12. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more if needed.
  13. Add in your bunch of cilantro on top.
  14. Close and lock the lid. Make sure the knob is set to sealing.
  15. Push the Bean/Chili button and adjust to 40 minutes at high pressure.
  16. After the cooking cycle, allow the pot to rest for about 10-15 minutes then carefully release any remaining pressure in the pot.
  17. Remove the bunch of cilantro. Discard.
  18. Stir the beans. With the back of a spoon, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot. This will naturally thicken the broth to your liking. Keep in mind that a little mashing goes a long way. You can quickly go from soupy to gloopy with too much mashing! You’re looking for the consistency of a thick barbecue sauce – not too runny, but not like molasses either.
  19. Serve over rice and with your choice of meat!
Nicely thickened and ready for some rice.
White rice, stewed beans, and chicken breast.
All that’s missing is a nice green salad.

I had mine a couple of days later with rice and chicken breast, both of which I made in my Instant Pots! Stewed beans are always better the next day and keep in the fridge for up to a week. They also freeze well and will keep in the freezer for 6 months to a year.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you did, let me know in the comments below. If you make stewed beans, let me know your recipe and what you like to have it with. Don’t forget to subscribe and if you have any suggestions for what I should learn to make next, let me know!

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Buen provecho! – Sami B.

New Orleans-Inspired Red Beans and Rice

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!

New Orleans has a special place in my heart. I’ve been there twice with my husband: once around Saint Patrick’s Day (when he proposed) and then the following year during the summer. NOLA is a place full of soul, cobblestone-lined streets, parties, raucous visitors, and the sound of music spilling out of every bar.

NOLA is a place full of magic. There were so many wonderful shops to walk through. There was a store solely dedicated to Christmas decorations and several others that sold only masks.

Exhibit A: There is legitimately a store called “Santa’s Quarters” on Decatur Street that sells Christmas stuff. All. Year. Round.
Exhibit B: Mask Factory, one of many shops in town dedicated to masks.
Exhibit C: I became a snow leopard that day…

A favorite memory – aside from getting engaged after the Saint Patrick’s Day parade – is of us wandering Bourbon Street late into the evening after a nap and dinner. I don’t remember where we were going or why, but I recall the NOPD mounted police trotting along. Once we got to one end of Bourbon Street at the corner of Canal behind Walgreens and across from Krystal, a band took up their instruments and started to play. They were jamming out beautiful jazz music and a crowd formed to watch. NOPD mounted police took up a stance at the intersection of Bourbon and Canal to detour traffic. It was amazing. I remember dancing along and laughing, wishing that we never had to leave.

I also love NOLA for its food. The food has African, Latino, French, Spanish, and Haitian (among other) influences. You can see these influences in delicious dishes like etoufee, jambalaya, dirty rice, and gumbo.

One of my favorite New Orleans dishes is red beans and rice. Growing up, I ate my parents’ pinto beans and rice with meat, chicken, or fish, which was delicious. This is a New Orleans-inspired version which is spicier and includes meat cooked at the same time as the beans. I’ll post a Dominican beans recipe for those who still want savory beans but not the spicy. (Of course, you could always adjust the spice level in this recipe to suit your tastes.) For the New Orleans-inspired version, read below!

Today’s cast of characters photo only features the spices I used for this recipe. I find that these are the non-negotiables for my take on red beans.

Please note that my recipe ISN’T exactly dump and go. It can be if you put dried beans straight in to pressure cook with the rest of the ingredients, but I find the texture and overall flavor to be much better with pre-soaked beans. There are plenty of articles of you Google “should I soak my beans” that give you opinions either way. What’s more important is the receiving audience of your food creation. So, ultimately, you do you.

Soaking is easy. I pour a pound of dried beans into a medium bowl and add water until the beans are covered by at least a 1/2 inch. Then, I walk away for 8-10 hours. Afterwards, I drain the beans in a mesh sieve and set aside for the cooking process.

Equipment List

  1. Instant pot. I used my 6 quart Duo 7-in-1.
  2. Medium sized bowl.
  3. Wooden spoon.
  4. Chefs knife.
  5. Vegetable chopper.
  6. Cutting board.
  7. Slotted spoon.
  8. Measuring spoons and cups.
  9. Ladle for serving.

Ingredient List

  1. 1 pound of dried (or soaked and drained) kidney or small red beans.
  2. 1/2 to 1 pound of andouille sausage.* (See tips below)
  3. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  4. 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock.
  5. 2 cups of water.
  6. 3 stalks celery.
  7. 1 green bell pepper.
  8. 3 cloves (or more) of garlic.
  9. 1 medium white or yellow onion.
  10. Black pepper to taste.*
  11. Creole seasoning blend (I used Tony Chachere’s) to taste.*
  12. Cayenne pepper to taste.*
  13. 2 teaspoons dried oregano.
  14. 1 tablespoon smoked paprika.

Tip #1: You can use any sausage you like. Traditionally, this is made with the bone and bits of a ham hock from the previous evening’s meal. That imparts smokiness to the dish. You can also omit the meat entirely for a vegetarian-friendly version. If that’s what you are looking for, then swap the chicken stock for veggie stock.

Tip #2: The black pepper, Tony Chachere’s, and cayenne pepper amounts are all up to you. Want a mild heat? Go for 1/2 teaspoon each. Want to kick it up a notch Emeril-style, then “Bam!” your way to go spice heaven with a 1/2 a tablespoon or adjust as you go. Remember that you can always add more but not take away.

Tip #3: I did not add salt to this recipe because Tony Chachere’s contains salt.

Recipe Instructions

  1. Chop celery, onion, and garlic.
  2. Slice, remove the seeds, and chop the green bell pepper. (Note: I recommend you chop the veggies into uniform-sized pieces.)
  3. Cut your sausage into even sized medallions.
  4. Turn on your pot to sauté and “more” to increase the cooking temp quickly.
  5. When the displays “HOT” put in 2 tablespoons of oil.
  6. Sauté sausage for a few minutes until browned on both sides.
  7. Remove the sausage.
  8. Sweat the vegetables in the pot until they are translucent. Use the wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits and deglaze the bottom of the pot. The veggies will release their liquid and make it easier to do this.
  9. Add back the cooked sausage and their juices.
  10. Add the beans.
  11. Add the chicken stock and water to cover the mixture by about 1/2 to 1 inch.
  12. Season the mixture with the spices and mix. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings close to your preference.
  13. Close the lid and lock it in. Set the valve to sealing.
  14. Select the manual or pressure cook button and use the +/- buttons to set the cook time to 40 minutes.
  15. When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pot naturally release pressure for about 20 minutes. (The display will read “L 00:20.”)
  16. Quick release the remaining pressure and carefully open the pot.
  17. Stir the red beans, taste, and adjust seasoning (if needed).
  18. Remove about a 1/4 cup of beans and liquid and place into a bowl. Using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a ladle, mash the beans. Add the mashed beans back to the pot and mix to incorporate.
  19. If you want the red beans thicker, mash more beans and add them back in. Keep in mind that this will thicken up slightly anyway.
  20. Serve with hot rice and a scatter of green onion.
  21. You can dot it with hot sauce (Krystal) if you want some additional heat.
The result after mixing in some mashed red beans to naturally thicken this up.
Plated with some Instant Pot Jasmine rice and a scattering of green onion from my backyard garden. Yum!

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.

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.