I just love a good smothered burrito. And even though there are about a million versions of sweet pork burritos floating around the internet, I had to lend my voice to the one we like best.
It’s simple. It’s uncomplicated. It’s delicious.
I’m not even going to compare it to the sweet pork at the Cafe Rio’s of the world (do you know Cafe Rio?) because there isn’t a Cafe Rio within 15,463 miles of where I live and I’ve learned in a long, sordid history of trying every variation of sweet pork under the sun that nothing can live up to the legend of Cafe Rio’s sweet pork (trust me, I’ve tried that recipe, I promise!).
So consider this variation different. But still very, very amazing.
Making use of a slow cooker puts the easy-peasy stamp on this meal especially since the cilantro lime rice (don’t even think about not making it) can be made ahead and used when you are ready to assemble the burritos.
Basically what you’ll get when dinner rolls around is a hearty tortilla smothered in green sauce and cheese wrapped around succulent, sweet and savory pork, tender cilantro lime rice, black beans and a few tasty, simple spices.
As my old roommate Kate (who gave me this recipe) was wont to say: “Yum, yum, give me some.” She also
liked likes to say: “Love your buns tons” but I suppose that doesn’t really apply to these burritos.
Now if dinner was hamburger night? Totally appropriate usage, I’d say.
- 2 1/2 pounds pork roast like pork shoulder or butt roast
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 (15-ounce each) cans green enchilada sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Dash of hot sauce (optional)
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (or a combination), grated
- 6-8 whole wheat or white flour tortillas, burrito-sized
For Cilantro Lime Rice:
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Trim any excess fat pockets from the pork roast (it's ok to leave a bit here and there just trim the large pieces off). Cut the pork into 2-3 large pieces. Season each piece on all sides with salt and pepper.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until rippling and hot. Add all the pieces of pork and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes total. Transfer the pork to the insert of a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
- Add the liquid smoke and 1/2 cup water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- While the pork is cooking, prepare the rice. In a skillet or medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the rice. Stir, letting the rice and butter cook for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (broth, salt, pepper, lime juice and zest, cilantro and cumin) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-16 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. This can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to assemble the burritos.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred into bite-sized pieces (discarding the bone, if needed, or any large pieces of fat). In a large bowl, toss the shredded pork with the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the green sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper (add more salt and pepper to taste if needed). Add the hot sauce, if using.
- Stir in the beans, rice and cilantro to the pork mixture.
- Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the green sauce on the bottom.
- Warm the tortillas lightly in a skillet or in the microwave. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into each tortilla and sprinkle with a bit of cheese (you'll want to leave some cheese for the top of all the burritos before they bake). Roll up burrito style (folding the ends in and rolling).
- Place the burritos seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the burritos and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until heated through and the top is bubbly and slightly golden. Serve immediately.
You'll get more flavor if you use a pork roast that has a bone in - it can easily be removed once the pork is done cooking; however, this could also be made with boneless pork loin or a leaner cut of pork. Just keep in mind that it might not be quite as tender as a roast that has darker meat also.
A note about the enchilada sauce, not all brands are created equal. I love the Herdez brand of green salsa or enchilada sauce (which I use interchangeably) so make sure you find a brand that tastes good (with a heat level you prefer).