Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pina Ranchera- Home style!

A friend of mine went to a cozy Mexican restaurant near where she lives and told me about this dish. I've never tried it, nor have I been to that particular establishment. But the dish sounded intriguing.

I asked her to send me the pictures she took, and anything she could remember about the dish.

My parameters were-
  1. Cooked in a pineapple
  2. Name of it was Pina Ranchera
  3. Had steak, chicken, shrimp and chorizo, with onions, red peppers and banana peppers topped with Chihuahua cheese.

That's all I had to go on. It took me a minute (or 70) to realize that it wasn't adobo sauce my friend was describing, it was ranchero sauce....as in the name Pina Ranchera.
And I had none. I had adobo, but no ranchero. So I also had to set out and make my own ranchero sauce.

So- here's what I did:

I used half a LARGE can of diced tomatoes (ranchero sauce is traditionally roasted tomatoes, but I had no tomatoes at the time). Tossed them into a small pot on the stove. Added a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of cumin (in retrospect, I should have gone with 1 or 1.5 tsp cumin). Cooked that until hot. Used a blender and blended it till smooth.
 Put 1/4 cup oil in the same pot, added 1/2 a diced white onion, cooked for three minutes then added the tomato mixture back in.  Let it simmer for 20 minutes, adding a teaspoon of water every now and then so it didn't get too thick.

 For the Pina Ranchera part itself, I halved a pineapple and scooped out the inside, leaving a 1/2 inch around the sides of pineapple.

Cooked 2 skirt steak on the grill, 1 chicken breast, 1 chorizo, and 1/2 pound shrimp. I cooked and diced all the meats, then kept them warm in a frying pan.

 I put oil in a frying pan, added 1/2 a diced white onion, 1/2 a banana pepper, cut into 1.5" strips, and 1 long sweet red pepper, also cut into thin strips about 1.5" long.

Added the ranchero sauce to the meat mixture, filled the pineapples-

 added Oaxaca cheese and baked at 400 for 20 minutes, then broiled the tops for 10 minutes.

Done. Add shredded lettuce and sliced tomato for presentation. And the pineapple gives it a *hint* of sweetness without being overpowering.

You can even eat the pineapple as a 'dessert' when you're done with the meal. Of course, I couldn't. I could barely finish one. Grau ended up eating his and the second half of mine. He's such a keeper!

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