Anyone who has lived in Utah, knows this place!
It's a delicious Mexican restaurant that, I swear, they put some kind of 'crack' in their pork salads to make people come back for more. It was only a matter of time, after Josh and I moved away from Utah that we were craving that 'crack'.
So.... I went on a search and found MANY "Cafe Rio" mock recipes. I printed them all up and over time, made them all, but this stack of recipes FINALLY fit the mold for me and tastes the CLOSEST to the real thing. Keep in mind, I do not make it with the beans. I make this entire pork salad sans beans.
So, you be the judge.
You make it and let me know what you think.
Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo salad dressing:
1 packet dry hidden valley ranch dressing
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Mayo (do not use miracle whip)
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 cloves garlic, I use 2. (use real garlic, not from a can/jar)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
juice from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)
salt & pepper to taste
Cafe Rio Lime Cilantro Rice:
2 cups uncooked brown rice (you can use white rice, but if so, reduce the chicken broth to just 4 cups)
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic
3/4 bunch of fresh cilantro
3/4 tsp. salt
1 chicken bouillon
2 tbsp lime juice
2 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp butter
Place ALL ingredients in blender. Except rice and butter. (I use my Blendtec blender because it hold 5-6 cups of liquid and I can do this in ONE shot). It will make a nice green broth. In a large pan, saute' butter with the rice and lightly toast the rice. Once toasted, pour all the broth over the rice. Bring to a boil. After it begins to boil rapidly, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Let simmer for 20-30 min.
*the more often you lift the lid, the longer the cooking process will take. The steam within the pan cooks the rice.
Pork Barbacoa: (**this would require an overnight marinade**)
2 pounds pork
3 cans coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 small can ortega sliced green chilies
3/4 can (regular sized) Las Palmas RED enchilada sauce (at least that's the brand I use)
1 c. brown sugar
Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about 1 1/2 cans of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade OVERNIGHT.
The next day, drain the marinade and put pork, 1/2 can coke, water and garlic salt in crock pot on LOW for 5-6 hours. (I have a crock-pot that has a 4, 6, 8 and 10 hour cooking range). I push the 8 hour (low setting) button and then set a timer for 5.5 hours. It makes for a VERY JUICY and mouth watering pork. So you may need to adjust the cooking time based on your crock pot.
Remove pork from crock pot, and shred pork.
In a blender or food processor, blend 1/2 can coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about 1 cup). If it looks too thick, add more coke...little by little.
Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on a LOW setting for 2 hours.
Recipes above courtesy of Jessica Christian
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup WARM water
Combine all the flour, salt, vegetable oil and water until it forms a dough.
Roll the dough into a big ball and take about a 2 in. piece off. Pat the dough flat with your hands and take a rolling pin and roll into circles.
Put the dough on a flat pan on the stove and let the sides cook until there are little brown specks on both sides like you would see on regular tortillas.
Tortilla recipe courtesy of Sheri Bird and Cooper Family
NOW ONTO FINAL PREPARATION:
Pico de gallo
Cotija cheese (optional)
Lay out lime cilantro rice, top with shredded romaine lettuce, followed by shredded pork and then all the toppings.
Dribble as much or as little dressing as you'd like and enjoy!
You won't be sorry you took the time to make this!