This exotic pork and rice dish is well worth the effort to track down the specialty ingredients. Achiote seeds from the annatto tree blend with the earthy flavors of onion, garlic, olives and tomatoes. A handful of cilantro makes a refreshing finish.
INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings):
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 pounds pork shoulder, cubed
- 3 tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
- 12 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (15 ounce) can pigeon peas, drained
- 15 ounces black olives, pitted and halved
- 8 cups uncooked calrose rice, rinsed
- 9 cups water
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add pork and brown in oil. Meanwhile, place remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add achiote seeds. Heat until oil becomes very dark orange/red. Remove from heat and set aside.
To the browned pork add the onion, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook to reduce veggies, then add the tomato sauce, pigeon peas and olives. Mix well. Strain achiote/oil mixture into pork mixture and stir together. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add uncooked rice and water to pork mixture; stir well. Raise temperature to high, cover saucepan and bring all to a boil. Stir again, reduce heat to low and cover; let cook on low about 10 minutes. Remove cover, stir again, replace cover and cook another 10 minutes; stir again. Remove from heat and allow to stand 15 minutes.