I confess-- I'm one of those OCD folks who doesn't like to run out of my pantry and refrigerator staples. I do shop once a week, and I always carry a list. The only thing I needed to buy for this menu was the pork butt roast...
Melissa's recipe calls for 2 pounds of pork butt roast. Fine, I'll freeze the other half for either a BBQ pulled pork recipe or even a Mexican themed pulled pork. So that means, I had about $3.50 invested in a meal for four. Not bad!
...like this. I cook these for about 5-7 minutes, until softened. Ready to build up more flavor? Garlic is always a great way to start. I used to burn garlic, until I learned to add fresh garlic at the end. Burnt garlic is bitter.
Next, the flour is added and cooked for a couple of minutes-- to get rid of the raw flavor.
This really smells fabulous! Next, the beef broth is added...
NOTE: You could, very well, use a slower cooker (or a pressure cooker) at this point. I happened to be home all day, so I didn't mind using my oven. I added a little more water, per Melissa's instructions-- just until the liquid reached the top.
Now, here's where I deviated from Melissa's entire menu. Melissa made black beans (kicked up with vinegar) and drop biscuits with green onion to go with this. I found this to be an "odd" combination. I admit, that I'm not a huge bisquit fan-- but I'm also not from the South. I nixed the biscuits, and opted to make rice, flavored with fresh cilantro and fresh lime juice.
I read the reviews on her black beans, and they were so-so. So, I went back to my fool-proof recipe for black beans that are a little spicy. I was guessing that Melissa was trying to do some sort of Cuban/Latin menu-- so I figured that cilantro and lime would tie in well.
For the beans you can soak them and cook them according to package directions. Or, you can used canned black beans (and these are always in my pantry)...
Drain them, reserving about 1/4 of the liquid. Rinse them well and put into a pot.
For the rice, I cook white (or brown rice) according to package directions. When it's cooked, about the juice of 1-2 fresh lime juice and about one cup of fresh chopped cilantro.
...2 1/2 hours later, the house smelled like something really good was happening.
OMG! This is comfort food! It's time to eat, and we're hungry.
You can see the rice peeking out from underneath this tender plate of braised pork.
The beans deserve a little Lite Sour Cream...
The sauce is amazing and non-greasy. My husband is anxiously awaiting...
Mmmmmmmmm. This reminds me of Osso Bucco... only it's a lot less expensive. In fact, I do think this entire meal stayed within $10.00-- excluding my pantry items I already had on hand.
I think that the braised pork dish would pair perfectly with polenta. It would soak up the sauce (and I would double it, it's that good) and that is exactly what I will do the next time I make this-- and I shall. Craig, who is stingy with rating recipes as "five stars" gave this one two eager thumbs up!
The black beans are delicious, but I don't think I'd pair them with this with this dish, next time. I think they are polar opposites-- the pork has a Parisian Bistro theme and the beans are more Latin inspired. But, that's me... maybe you'd like to try Melissa's version of black beans and drop biscuits. You can view her entire menu here.
What really made this dinner special is that-- after my whining that I didn't want summer to end-- we got a little unexpected rain. I have to say, that the sweet sound of rain made this wonderful meal really feel like a comfort food dinner. I hope that you try this dinner and that you enjoy it as much as we did-- and we shall, again and again.