Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - Squirrel's Cajun Pork and Beans

Pork & Beans are one of those “comfort foods” that just always hits the spot. Whether it’s at a picnic on a hot summer day or on a cold winter day, Pork & Beans is always good. Sure, a can of “Beanee Weenees” is tasty, but home-made is so very much better. This recipe is easy, but does take some time; about 3 hours total, and is great for family dinners, and it also works well for pot lucks.

Most of the time when you cook with dried beans; you have to soak the beans for 8 to 10 hours. But, by using the pressure cooker, we don’t have to do that. The

Our ingredients are:
1 pound of pork cut into ¾-inch pieces
½ large white onion, sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
2 cups of hot water
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 cups of dried pinto beans, cleaned and rinsed
2Tablespoons of olive oil
2-4 Tablespoons of Squirrel’s Low-Sodium Cajun Spice Blend
2 Tablespoons of yellow mustard
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Coat the pork with a liberal amount of Squirrel’s Low-sodium Cajun Spice, and add the pork to the pressure cooker and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the pork from the cooker and set it aside.

Now add the onions to the cooker and sauté until tender and translucent. Next, deglaze the bottom of the pressure cooker, making sure all the ‘bits’ are loose, and nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pressure cooker. (The flavor of ‘burnt bits’ really detracts from the overall tastiness of the dish.)

Add the beans and the two cups of hot water and lock the pressure cooker lid in place. Bring to pressure & cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cooker to return to normal pressure on its own. Remove the lid, being careful of the hot steam. [Note: There is a lot of liquid in the cooker, so it will take a long time to cool. Be patient, but plan for a total cooking time of 2 to 2 ½ hours.]

Now add in the pork, the tomato sauce, tomato paste, yellow mustard, maple syrup, and chili powder & stir well. Lock the pressure cooker’s lid in place, bring the cooker back up to pressure, and cook another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and once again allow the pressure to return to normal naturally. Unlock and remove the lid.

Bring to a simmer and add the black pepper. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Serves six. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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(Recipe modified from "Pressure Cooker Pork & Beans" from the cookbook New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.)