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My sister made these before we left last Christmas and I fell in love.  I call them sweet pork and cilantro salad but they’re really a Cafe Rio salad–a restaurant I’ve never patronized.  If this is the kind of food they serve, I sure would.  Though most recipes call for Coke to flavor the meat, I worked around that (I never have pop on hand anyway).  It is a more intensive dinner than I usually make, but it was well worth it (and we enjoyed leftovers for several additional meals).

Sweet Pork and Cilantro Salad
(a.k.a. Cafe Rio Salad)

Sweet Pork

2 to 4 pound pork roast
2 cups brown sugar
2 packages taco seasoning
1 can Coke (not diet but can be caffeine free) and 1 Tablespoon molasses

3 Tablespoons molasses, 1 teaspoon root beer flavoring, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Place meat in crock pot.  Combine all other ingredients and pour over meat.  Cook on low 4 to 6 hours or until tender and shreddable (or high for 2 to 4).

Cilantro Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lime juice plus 1 Tablespoon
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a large saucepan, combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 teaspoon lime juice, broth and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender.  Remove from heat.  Stir together remaining lime juice, sugar and cilantro.  Pour into rice and fluff with fork as you mix.

Black Beans

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a frying pan, brown garlic in the olive oil and cumin.  Mix in beans, tomato sauce and salt, heating thoroughly.  Stir in cilantro just before serving.

Additional toppings

Tortilla, cheese, lettuce, tortilla strips or crushed chips, sour cream, guacamole, salsa,  Ranch or cilantro dressing

Assembly (this is pretty flexible–it’ll taste the same regardless of how you pile it)
Place Tortilla on a plate or bowl

 Place meat on top of tortilla


 Next, add rice…


 …followed by beans.


 Sprinkle with cheese.


 Add any additional toppings.


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