An old friend described for me years ago the flavors that he missed most from time spent in Jamaica–the combination of warm and hot spices. In his view, no other combination was as comforting. Growing up, my daughters both grew to agree with him, although one favors the warm spices while the other likes a bit of heat. This recipe combines both in one of our favorite weeknight meals.
This recipe can easily be doubled or even quadrupled to feed a crowd.
1-2 boneless or bone-in pork chops, or one half of a small pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
2 T. olive oil or vegetable oil
1 small onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 jalapeno pepper (optional if you object to a little spice)
2-3 cloves of garlic
3 T flour
2 cups white wine, preferably dry (if it is sweet you can skip some of the brown sugar)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
⅛ t. cinnamon
⅛ t. ginger
1 T. brown sugar
sturdy pinch of red pepper flakes
cayenne or hot sauce to taste
- Place trimmed pieces of pork and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with flour (and salt and pepper) and toss to coat.
- Chop onion and red and green peppers into approximately one-inch squares. Finely chop the jalapeno (use gloves if possible) and the garlic.
- Heat oil in a large fry or sauté pan that has a lid available over medium heat. When oil is hot, add pork and cook until very brown on all or most sides, turning occasionally. Some of the flour will stick to the pan, don’t worry about it. Remove pork to a dish and set aside.
- Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook until wilted. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two until you can smell it.
- Add the wine and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, stirring vigorously.
- Add the tomato sauce, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar and pepper flakes/cayenne/hot sauce. Mix well and return the pork to the pan. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the Jamaican pork to bubble slowly until the pork is very tender when you pierce it with a sharp knife or the tines of a fork (20 minutes to 35 minutes depending on the size of the pieces).
- While the pork is cooking you can make the rice–see below.
- When the pork is tender, remove the lid and turn up the heat so the sauce boils and becomes thicker. Turn it off when you reach the thickness you like. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
¾ cup of long grain rice
1½ cups of water
pinch or two of salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a pan with a lid.
- Place the pan uncovered on a burner set to medium-high until the water begins to boil.
- Turn the heat to medium-low or low depending on how hot the burner, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Check at ten minutes, if the rice is not tender and there is still some water, recover and cook for 3-5 minutes more, checking after a minute or two. If the rice is not tender but the water is gone add a few more tablespoons of water.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and leave covered for 2-5 minutes. If you do not want sticky rice, fluff the grains with a fork to separate them.
Makes 2 servings