Friday, December 2, 2011

Penzeys Peachy Pork Picante

by Sheila Connolly

Here's one more recipe celebrating Penzeys Week!

When I was young, my family used to get the F.A.O. Schwartz catalog each holiday season (catalogs were few and far between back then), and my younger sister and I would pore over it, marking our choices—lots of them.

That's how I felt when I discovered the Penzeys spice catalog.  So many wonderful choices!  So many new spices to try!  It was hard to restrain myself, and my spice rack overflowed.  I even bought a jar of galangal once, just because the name was so lovely (and, yes, I've used it, in a ham glaze that was delicious).  I've bought bags and bags of their dried chile peppers and never been disappointed. I currently have five kinds of Penzeys cinnamon in my pantry, and I've been having a ball comparing them.

So it was hard to settle on one recipe here.  In the end I went with one of my family's favorites—another one of those dishes that is quick to make and tasty.  It's also one that gets share a lot—I first had it at a friend's house in Ohio several years ago, and I think it sneaked into The New Yorker once (not a typical place to find recipes!).

It's a great showcase for Penzeys Taco Seasoning.  Most often you see taco seasoning in the form of a small packet in the "foreign" food section of your grocery store.  You'll find several brands, at a range of prices—and usually it's barely enough to make one meal.

At Penzeys it comes in a 4-ounce bag, so you can use as much as you like.  What's more, it's the best I've found.  It's flavorful, well-balanced, and not too spicy (you can always add a little chile or cayenne if you prefer it hotter).

For this recipe you can use whatever kind of pork you have on hand—it does not have to be expensive, as long as you trim off any fat and gristle.  Nor does it have to be cut in tidy, precise cubes!  This is supposed to be easy.


1 pound pork, cubed
3 Tblsp Penzeys Taco Seasoning
1 14-oz. jar of salsa (or more)
6 Tbsp peach preserves

Toss the pork cubes with the taco seasoning to coat them.  Use as much as it takes to lightly coat the pork pieces.  Sauté the seasoned pork pieces in hot oil. 

Add salsa.

A note about salsa:  like the taco seasoning, you can find many brands on the shelf.  For this dish I prefer one that's chunky, because it makes the texture more interesting.  A full jar is about right.  Of course you can use a more liquid salsa, but then it's more like a sauce.

Add the peach preserves.  This may seem unlikely, but the preserves dissolve nicely in the salsa.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes, over very low heat.  You don't want to overcook the pork because then it becomes too tough and chewy. 

Serve over cooked white rice.

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  1. Nifty idea! I usually make salsa chicken in the crock - the notion of using peach preserves and pork is a great notion.

  2. Also - I have a bag of Penzey's sanaam peppers (I can't remember why I bought them). If anyone has any idea what to do with them it would be appreciated!

  3. Sheila, be still my heart--- I still have some old Penzeys galangal amongst my spices--for one of the same reasons, and it was also to make some curry or Indonesian dish, can't recall now. I've used it a few times and liked it--kind of a peppery ginger flavor.

    Love your easy pork recipe. I always have peach preserves on hand, and needless to say, since I live in the southwest, all kinds of salsas and taco seasonings! You always amaze me with your varied tastes, in food and book subjects--I like that in people!

  4. Lynn, my daughter and I sat down in the kitchen last New Year's, with a naked ham in front of us, and said "what do we do for a glaze?" Then we started experimenting, adding one ingredient at a time and tasting after each. It was eye-opening to see what a difference even a small amount of one spice can make. Looking back, I think the galengal kind of brightened the mixture, if that makes any sense. Too bad we didn't write down the recipe!

  5. I am swooning. I have the taco seasoning and the pork. This is right up my alley. What a great idea. A little spice, a little bit of sweetness -- yum!

    ~ Krista

  6. This sounds terrific!!! Now I need to grab my Penzey's catalog and place an order!!

  7. Oh, this sounds like an amazing combination. And easy, too. Thanks, Sheila!

  8. Oooh, Sheila, this looks delish!