Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cafe Rio anyone?

I am not normally a salad person. In fact, it is very rare that you will find me eating a salad, but here is one that I will eat all the time. There is a Mexican food chain restaurant nearby called Cafe Rio. They have a great pork salad. In it you have: pork barbacoa, black beans (or pinto beans), rice, cilantro, tortilla strips, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a tomatillo dressing that is great. These are the recipes for the dressing and the pork. There are a lot of copy cat recipes out there for these items, but I think these come the closest.

Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa
5-6 lb. pork roast
21 oz. Dr. Pepper (or Coke, do NOT use diet soda)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
7 oz. can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
6-ish oz. red taco sauce (I used hot)
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Place roast in crock-pot, cover half-way with water and cook on low for 12 hours. (I started my Pork Adventure at midnight and everything worked out perfectly for Sunday dinner at 6:00 pm.) After 12 hours, drain pork (retain liquid if you want sauce for burritos, simply mix with a can of verde enchilada sauce and away you go).
Mix remaining ingredients until sugar dissolves. I didn't keep the actual chilies, I dumped the can into a bowl and added enough Dr. Pepper to get all the sauce off of the chilies, then I tossed them. I also rinsed out the can with Dr. Pepper for more adobo goodness. My version had a fairly good kick to it, but if you LOVE hotness, then blend everything + 2 or 3 chilies in the blender. (Also, the adobo sauce tends to stain plastic, using a glass or metal mixing bowl will make your clean-up of adobo sauce considerably less frustrating).
Add Dr. Pepper mixture to the roast and cook on low an additional 4 hours.
Take out roast and shred, add back into sauce and cook for 2 more hours. At this point the meat was so tender it practically shredded itself.

Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
2 tomatillos, quarter
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
1 cup milk
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 tsp garlic, minced
pinch cayenne pepper
1 large jalapeno
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 cup mayo
Blend tomatillos then add all the ingredients except mayo and blend together. Stir in mayo, chill and serve.

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