Thursday, July 10, 2014

Leftover Makeover: Jamaican Jerk Pork Stew

As a blogger, when a company named Buncha Jerks sends you an email, your ears perk up. No matter what the product is, the name lends itself to a whole buncha jokes when it comes to writing a post. And then the package arrives.

Buncha Jerks!
I mean, seriously... there must be a buncha them there. And then ...

They sent me their Jerk Seasoning Sampler, the hot version. They have three different jerk seasonings, Jamaican, Mexican, and Indian, in mild, medium, and hot versions.

Weird, right? When you think jerk, right after you think about that guy who stole your parking space, you probably think about Jamaican food. Not Mexican or Indian.

Since Jamaican jerk is traditional, I dove into that first, using the seasoning to reinvent a pork roast. I love making roasts, but since there are only two of us, a roast can last a little too long. So I'm always thinking ahead. Sandwiches? Tacos?

In this case, I decided to make a pork stew. Like this:

Jamaican Jerk Flavored Pork Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, cut in medium dice
1 small zucchini, cut in medium dice
Left over pork roast (about 1/2 of a 4-pound roast), cut in bite-size cubes
1/2 teaspoon Bunch Jerks Jamaican Jerk seasoning
1 bottle beer (I used Corona)

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or in a slow cooker that has a sear/bottom heat setting. I use a Ninja.

Add the onions and zucchini and cook, stirring as needed, until the onions soften a bit. Add the pork roast cubes, seasoning, and beer.

Cook on low until the vegetables are cooked through.

Taste for seasoning and add salt, if desired, or more Buncha Jerks seasoning.

I served these with cubed potatoes, but it would also be great over rice.

And now for a second opinion...

I had a few thinner slices of the pork that weren't suitable for the stew, so I cut them into thin strips and cooked them with a pinch of the Buncha Jerks Mexican seasoning.

I wasn't trying to create a recipe, I just wanted to try the seasoning. And the pork was perfect for tacos, so that's what I made.

The flavor was interesting. It wasn't completely Mexican, like an adobo or a taco seasoning or a salsa or a mole. It had definite Mexican flavors, but also hints of Jerk flavoring. It was really interesting. And tasty.

And just like the hot Jamaica Jerk Spice, it was pretty hot.

One great thing about these spices is that since the flavors are so strong, you really don't need a lot. And I don't just mean the heat - the spices are very flavorful.

Since I wrote this, I tried the Indian Jerk Spice on a pork tenderloin, and I really liked it. So that's three winners out of the three.

Have you tried these? Do you think you'd like them? What would you use them on.