Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My version of pigs in a blanket...This is not what you think


We had our friends over for dinner on Saturday night. We had grown banana peppers (sweet not hot) just for this dish. We have made it before and this time it came out just as great as the first time we made it. The second time we made it we used the wrong peppers and our mouths almost exploded (We like HOT but this was too much). The dish is Rick Bayliss's Pot Roasted Pork with Yellow Chiles, Plantains and Piloncillo.


This recipe takes some effort but it is well worth it. Of course it entails browning some onions.


We found the banana leaves at the Brazilian market near our house. You can find them in many ethnic grocery stores.


The dutch oven is lined with the leaves and the meat is covered and cooked in there with the plantains, onions and liquid made of piloncillo (or brown sugar).


And here ya have it. Pig in a blanket. Tricked you didn't I?

We also had a surprise guest named Sam. Sam was a charming dinner guest to put it mildly. I tried to take Sam's picture so I could give credit where credit is due for his excellent culinary expertise. He wouldn't hear of it. He prefers to stay anonymous. He turned his nose up at our dinner but he dined to the tune of his own drummer.


Sam knows what he likes. He isn't a guy that is swayed easily into going with the crowd.

I wish I could make my own kids 5 again.


When the kitchen looks like this I know it was a successful dinner. How could it not be when dining with Sam.

Pot Roasted Pork with Yellow Chiles, Plantains and Piloncillo
Recipe from Rick Bayliss's Season 5 of Mexico--One Plate at a Time

1 small cone (about 1 ounce) piloncillo
OR 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound (about 6 medium) fresh yellow chiles (I prefer hot Hungarian wax or banana peppers here)
A 2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
One 18-inch section of banana leaf, hard spine cut off, plus an extra piece to line the serving platter
1 large (10-ounce) ripe plantain (it should be noticeably soft and yellow splotched with black), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small red onion, sliced into rings 1/8 inch thick
2 limes, cut into wedges

Fill a microwaveable measuring cup with 3/4 cup water. Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and let stand until piloncillo dissolves, about 5 minutes. (The brown sugar will dissolve more quickly.)

Roast the chiles over an open flame or 4-inches below a preheated broiler until blackened and blistered all over. Place in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let cool until handleable. One by one, clean the chiles: Cut off the stem-end, slit down the side from seed pod to point, and open out flat. Gently scrape out the seeds and discard. Flip the chile over and, scrape off the blistered skin. Cut the cleaned chile flesh into 1/2-inch slices.

In a large (7-quart) Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Brown the pork on all sides—it’ll take about 8 minutes—then remove it to a plate. Add the white onion to the pan and cook until richly browned, about 8 minutes. Scrape it into a bow; set the pan aside.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. If a strip of the hard central rib is still attached to one side of the banana leaf, cut it off with scissors. Then use the leaf to line the unwashed Dutch oven (it will spill over the sides). Lay in the pork. Strew the onions over the pork, followed by chile strips and plantain. Drizzle everything with the piloncillo water. Fold the ends of the leaf in to cover the whole affair, secure the lid and bake until the pork is fork tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Line a warm serving platter with a fresh banana leaf. With the aid of two spatulas, transfer the pork to the platter. Use a pair of tongs to break it into small chunks.

Remove the banana leaves from the pan, scraping any clinging goodness back into the pan. If there is a lot of fat on top of the juices, spoon it off. Taste the juices and season highly with salt. Spoon everything in the pan over the pork. Garnish with red onion rings and lime wedges, and carry to the table, along with plenty of warm tortillas for making very delicious tacos.


  1. Oh my goodness!! I absolutly have to try to make these! I sure hope I can track down some banana leaves! hmmmm, a friend of mine here usues them to make tamales from her central Mexican hometown, I'll ask her!
    thx for sharing!

  2. OH i like this recipe. Homegrown peppers for this dish, how awesome is that!

  3. This looks absolutely FAB!!! I have to get a dutch oven and I love the idea of wrapping the pork in a banana blanket. You had me at plantains

  4. The banana leaves sound like a wonderful idea. Sam seems like a character too. Just so you know, when I saw the title, I first thought of Shrek Christmas. :)

  5. Ha... what a cute name. I was definitely tricked. ;)

  6. Great idea - can't wait to cook it.

  7. Ya know, sometimes my kitchen looks like that for no good reason at all!

    Meanwhile, this dish looks spectacular! Email me the leftovers, when you have a chance. ;)

  8. Healthy M: I want to try tamales with the leaves. I have never done that.

    Lisa: The peppers were fun to grow and easy.

    Kathy: YOU don't have a dutch oven? I can't believe that. You can make it in a clay cooker. I KNOW you have that.

    Mom: You are such a mom. Of course you thought "Shrek Christmas"

    Penny: I am a tricky one.

    Hester: Let me know when you do and how you like it

    Diva: I would email you the leftovers but there were none :--)

  9. Fantastic! I am not sure I can say more... absolutely fantastic :)

  10. Great idea - can't wait to cook it.