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Pulled pork in a mild, smoky chipotle sauce.
Vegetables 37% (Tomato & Tomato Paste (Tomato, Acidity Regulator [Citric Acid]), Sweetcorn, Onion, Carrot, Celery, Red Capsicum, Garlic), Water, Free Range Pork 10%, Cooked Black Beans 7% (Black Beans (contains Soy), Water), Cooked Kidney Beans 5% (Kidney Beans, Water), Black Rice, Sunflower Oil, Lime Juice, Spices, Sugar, Salt, Corn Starch, Chipotle Pepper Sauce 0.3% (contains Soy), Coriander.
I love pulled pork and the sound of these heat and eat meals sounded amazing to me, I often find myself getting side tracked in the morning and running out of time to prepare myself any lunch, often which ends in a quick rush to the bakery in my lunchbreak which isn't ideal, otherwise at dinnertime I often just have a quick easy something if Miss 4 and myself are the only ones home as she has a hot meal for lunch at daycare which is where these meals come in perfectly, ready to heat and eat, packed full of flavours and meat and loaded with vegetables.
The Mexican Bean and Pulled Pork Chilli was really easy to prepare all I had to do was peel off the plastic film from the bowl and then replace the lid loosely before popping it into the microwave to heat for 2 minutes, after this I gave it a quick stir and then heated it for a further minute, to which the meal was pipping hot and heated through. It couldn't have been simpler as there was no mucking around with dishes as this can be eaten straight from the bowl and to make it even better the meal comes complete with a spork.
I decided to use my chilli as a base for nachos and so I served it up with some nacho cheese flavoured corn cheese and sprinkled some grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream over top. The chilli worked great for this purpose and saved em a heap of time compared to if I was cooking nachos from scratch. I was rather pleased to find that the chilli was not overly hot and spicy as I don't really cope to well with spicy foods, and when I offered Miss 4 a try she could also tolerate it and didn't complain about the spice level. There was a nice smoky flavour to the dish which I really liked, the black and kidney beans and vegetables were plentiful and I loved that I could distinguish the carrot, corn, onion, celery and capsicum in the dish, that package states it contains to serve of vegetables and I really believe this in the truth, the only let down to me was that I didn't come across any pork which I guess is due to it being in tiny pieces to ensure it heats through?
This is something I would gladly eat and purchase again especially on a day I was out of time or if I couldn't be bothered cooking, the price is relatively good if you think about it as a complete meal. I look forward to trying out some more flavours in the range.
I shared this product with a friend who was around for lunch as I wanted to get a second opinion on it. Of the three products in this range that I tried, I found this was the least successful. Having said that, it was still good value for money insofar as it is a good sized meal for one person, and certainly provides a reasonable balance of food groups.
So why did I find it less successful? I think it was partly the name. Something called Mexican Bean implies heat - I think of chilli peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, beans. It certainly has plenty of beans and tomatoes, but there just isn't enough of the hot stuff. This is a shame as just a little more spice would work so much better, Even my friend, who always goes for extra mild curries, said that she would prefer a little more heat.
We also had difficulty finding any pork. Possibly it was diced after the pulling so the pieces were too small to see, but I was able to identify only two very small pieces and my friend could not find any at all. In fact she asked if it was a vegetarian meal - she had not seen the outer packaging and was surprised when I told her it was 10% meat.
I ate half of my share, and then added some leftover cooked bacon pieces and a little chilli sauce. This made a world of difference; suddenly the entire meal came alive and was utterly delicious. A simple solution, and one which instantly transformed a plain dish into one much closer to that suggested by the wrapper. The addition bulked out the meal but not so much that it significantly increased the helping size.
My friend said that this product would be really nice served in a taco, with some rice added to make a drier mix. I have eaten tacos in the past which have had a relatively mild filling and have been then topped with avocado and cheese with a sprinkle of paprika. I would have tried it this way with our review packet but by the time we had thought of it we had finished it all. However, I think the flavours would work really well served this way so it is something to think about next time.
So on balance, I would buy this product again but then add some precooked meat or rice to enhance the ingredients. There is lots of scope to be creative, and the basic product is certainly nutritionally sound as well as being reasonably priced.
These products look appealing as they seem to be a simple heat and eat product. Which is ideal for those that are on the go, and have limited time to prepare meals. Myself, I hate getting out of bed in the mornings, and will wait until the last possible moment before I have to go to work. No chance I'd get out of bed earlier for breakfast, or to prepare lunch. So that's where these pitango products come into play.
The product is incredibly easy to prepare; heat for two minutes, stir, heat for a further minute, and let it rest. So I removed the lid to remove the plastic film, before loosely replacing the top lid and heating accordingly. The plastic film is well manufactured. It is held securely in place, but removes cleanly and without too much effort. No need to worry about little plastic bits burning up in the microwave. Included is a little spork, which is very useful in the "ease of use" category, as you don't need a plate or cutlery. All you need, is a microwave, and four minutes, and you have a meal ready to eat.
The name of the variety is quite fitting; Mexican Bean and Pulled Pork Chilli. As Pork only constitutes 10% of the meal, compared to the beans taking up 12% and the 37% for the remaining vegetables. Whether this means the remaining 40% is iin the form of water? not too sure, but the meal is rather fluid. As far as vegetables go, the main noticeable vegetables are sweetcorn, onion, carrot, and celery, but the flavour doesn't change much from mouthful to mouthful, the difference in vegetables only really change the overall texture of each bite.
With only 0.3% Chipotle pepper sauce, this is definitely on the mild side of things. Personally I found the beans mute a lot of the flavour, and would much prefer it to have a better bite to it. But I love spice, and would add chillis and chilli sauce to nearly every meal. At 350g and 378 calories, this is a good sized meal, for a lunch or dinner, and the tiny spork, does mean it takes you longer to eat (I used my own larger spoon). While I'm normally not a fan of things taking longer to eat, I do recognise that it takes a while for the stomach to tell your brain it's full, so a longer meal is a good thing, as you are less likely to overeat.
Overall it was tasty, but lacked strength of flavour and spice that I would require to be a regular meal for me. For a full meal, the price is decent value for money.
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