Rio Salad

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I was introduced to this salad when Tiffany and I were doing Freezer Meals.  I had never thought of putting pork on a salad, but this has to be the best-tasting salad I have ever tasted. Ever. 

It takes some planning because it has several steps, but each step requires very little effort.  With the pork cooked ahead of time, it’s the perfect weeknight 20-minute meal.

Sweet Pork:
2 lbs pork butt or picnic (trimmed of visible fat)
18 oz. of Coke
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
dash of garlic salt
1 can diced green chilis
3/4 (10-oz. can) red enchilada sauce
1 cup brown sugar

Salad:
8 cups lettuce
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or colby jack)
1 cup broken up Doritos, any southwest flavor
sliced cucumbers and carrots, optional

Dressing:
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not buttermilk)
1 cup mayo (I use low-fat)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 bunch of cilantro (1/2 cup basil will work, too)
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, seeded

1. Mix 6 oz. coke with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Place pork in zip-top bag and pour marinade over the pork.  Marinate in refrigerator a couple of hours to 1 day.

2. Drain marinde. Put pork, 6-oz. coke, water, and garlic salt in slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

3. Drain liquid off pork.  Shred pork.

4. In a blender or food processor, blend 6 oz. coke, can of chilis, enchilada sauce, and 1 cup brown sugar. Pour over pork and combine.  Cook on low for another 2 hours

**If you’re making this the same day, it will be ready to put over salad.  If you’re making it ahead of time, place pork in 2-quart dish and put in refrigerator.  When ready to eat, heat dish up in microwave until hot.  If you’re using this as a freezer meal, freeze meat now.

5. Mix dressing ingredients in blender or food processor.

6. Layer lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, pork, shredded cheese, and doritos on plate.  Top with salad dressing.

I specifically enjoyed making this recently because I was able to use my lettuce out of my garden and my cilantro and basil.  Cilantro definitely gives it a hint of more southwest flavor (though not overpowering at all), but if you aren’t a big cilantro fan, the basil is a good flavor alternative. 

If you like pork, and you like salad, but you’re not sure about the combination of the two, you have to try this recipe.

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