Southwest Cutlets with Calico Rice

The perfect one-pan meal - Southwest Pork Cutlets with Calico Rice.

Learn how to cook an easy one-skillet meat and rice meal – your family will love this fast pan of Southwest Cutlets with Calico Rice recipe.

Pork and chicken cutlets are an inexpensive cut of meat that are quickly sautéed until crispy on the outside, yet tender on the inside. We also like to cook pork or chicken cutlets made in the Instant Pot when dinner is needed in a hurry.

One-Skillet Southwest Cutlets Recipe

Enjoy tender pork cutlets over a bed of colorful rice.

Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’….Shall We? 🙂

Around here, we eat a lot of skillet meals and a lot of Mexican, Tex Mex, and Southwestern-flavored dishes such as this one.

The Chunky Chicken Burrito Skillet absolutely comes to mind for me right now, and so does another chicken casserole favorite – Tasty Tex Mex Chicken Cornbread Casserole. Both of these meals serve a bunch of people, too.

A couple of new favorites of late have become 6-Ingredient Baked Chicken Tacos and Oven-Baked Taco Quesadillas.

All About Pork Cutlets

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and versatile cut of pork, take note of pork cutlets. A pork cutlet is a thin, boneless cut of meat that comes from the loin or leg section of a pig. 

Because pork cutlets are flattened out to be thin with a mallet or tenderizing machine in the meat department, they are more tender and cook incredibly fast when pan-fried, oven-baked or grilled.

As another benefit, pork cutlets are very economical, just perfect for feeding hungry families. And due to the leanness and consistent size of pork cutlets, you can have dinner on the table in record time, making them ideal for a meal when time is of the essence.

All About Chicken Cutlets –

Chicken cutlets are more difficult to find at the grocer than pork cutlets, at least here in the central Midwest where eat quite a bit of pork.

If you see thin-sliced chicken, you can use that as your cutlet. Or, what I typically do is purchase boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slice them in half horizontally.

Next I place the sliced chicken breasts into a gallon freezer bag and pound them out nice and thin. Voila – you now have chicken cutlets!

What to Love About This Recipe –

  1. The southwest flavors of the rice medley really compliment the pork.
  2. Who doesn’t love a good speedy meal that’s filling?
  3. Just one skillet to wash after dinner – a definite bonus.

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make This Pork Recipe?

  • Pork or chicken cutlets
  • Oil
  • Spices – garlic, cumin, chili powder
  • Chicken broth
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Corn
  • Black beans
  • Instant rice
  • Your favorite toppings – sour cream, cilantro, more salsa, etc., optional

How to Make Southwest Cutlets with Calico Rice in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Dip the pork or chicken cutlets into the flour mixture, making sure to coat each side. Meanwhile, preheat the oil in the skillet, stirring in the spices.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the prepared cutlets, a few at a time, cooking just until they are golden brown on each side; remove to a plate. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet (but not the topping ingredients), stirring to combine; top with the browned cutlets, overlapping them a bit, then cover the skillet with a lid or foil.
  4. Simmer the skillet meal over low to medium low heat for 20-25 minutes until the rice is tender and the meat is fully cooked. 

Crank up your cast iron skillet to make this quick and easy pork dish.

 

Easy Recipe Tips for Making Pork Skillet Meals

  • How do I know when the cutlets are fully cooked and safe to eat? 

Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Since a cutlet is rather thin, you’ll want to come in the side to enter the center of the cutlet with the instant-read meat thermometer.  

Cutlets will cook very quickly since they are super thin. The hot and safe internal temperature for a pork cutlet is 140-145 degrees F. at the center. The hot and safe internal temperature for a chicken cutlet is 160-165 degrees F. at the center. 

On a dial-type thermometer, when the needle stops this is the internal temperature of the meat.  When using a digital-type of thermometer, the internal temp is when the numbers (degrees of heat) come to a halt.  

  • What do I need to know about using an instant-read meat thermometer? 

Using an instant-read meat thermometer is easy. For thin pieces of meat such as pork cutlets, insert the thermometer from the side, taking care to make sure it gets to the center of the meat. Don’t touch the bottom or sides of the pan as this can give a false read. 

  • Can an instant-read thermometer be used for temping other foods besides just meat? 

Besides just for meat, using an instant-read thermometer is super handy for checking the internal temperature of my casseroles. Since it can be rather difficult sometimes to tell when the center is good and hot, using an instant-read thermometer is ideal.  If the temperature reading is 160 degrees F. at the center, I know the casserole is hot, ready, and safe to eat. 

  • Is it okay if the pork is slightly pink in the middle? 

It is fine for cooked pork to have a tinge of pink now.  Formerly, it was recommended that pork should be cooked until it had an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Pork cooked to this internal temperature will be gray in color, overcooked, and usually tough.

Cooking the pork cutlets to the internal temperature of 140-145 degrees F. produces beautiful, slightly pink pork – delicious! 

  • Is it true that I can pound out chicken breasts to make chicken cutlets? 

How to turn a chicken breast into a chicken cutlet: Place the chicken breast flat onto a cutting board.  Starting at one side, slice the chicken breast in half horizontally, slicing it so that it opens up like a book;  you will wind up with two flat pieces. Place each piece of chicken into a gallon freezer bag, use a mallet to flatten each one into approx. 1/2-inch thickness – you’ve just made chicken cutlets. 

  • Does this recipe make good leftovers? 

This skillet meal makes fantastic leftovers. As it rests, the flavors of the rice medley intensify, infusing themselves into the cutlets. Because the cutlets are thin, the flavors can really penetrate the meat much more easily. 

Pork Cutlets with Calico Rice make a yummy meal with flavors of the Southwest.

More Delicious and Fast Recipes to Enjoy – 

Printable Southwest Pork Cutlets with Calico Rice Recipe 

The perfect one-pan meal - Southwest Pork Cutlets with Calico Rice.

Southwest Pork Cutlets with Calico Rice

Learn how to cook this easy one-skillet meal - your family will love this Southwest Pork Cutlet with Calico Rice recipe. Pork cutlets are an inexpensive cut of meat that are quickly sautéed until crispy on the outside, yet tender on the inside. We also like to cook pork cutlets in the Instant Pot when dinner is an emergency!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 cutlets
Calories: 392kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. each: granulated garlic, cumin, chili powder
  • 1-2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 6 thin pork cutlets
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 14 oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • your favorite toppings - sour cream, cilantro, salsa

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and granulated garlic; dredge each pork cutlet on both sides in the prepared flour mixture, shaking off the excess flour over the bowl, placing the cutlets onto a plate in a single layer. Discard the flour mixture.
  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed skillet that is oven-proof (I prefer a 12" cast iron skillet), heat 2 Tbs. of vegetable oil over medium high heat; add the garlic, cumin and chili powder to the oil, stirring to combine.
  • When the oil is nicely hot, add the prepared pork cutlets to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes per side, until nicely golden browned, working in batches as to not over crowd the skillet. Remove the browned cutlets from the skillet as you work; reserve.
  • In the same skillet, whisk together the broth, vinegar, salsa, corn, black beans and rice; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the prepared pork cutlets directly on top of rice mixture overlapping them a bit on top of each other.
    Cover the skillet with a lid or foil, cooking over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and pork cutlets are cooked to 140 degrees F. internal temperature.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest for 8-10 minutes, covered, before serving. Check the rice to see if it needs additional broth stirred in; garnish with extra salsa, sour cream, and cilantro, as desired.

Notes

 
Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork. When the needle stops (for digital, the final temp is when the numbers stop) this is the internal temperature of the pork. 
Using an instant-read meat thermometer is easy. For thin pieces of meat such as pork cutlets, insert the thermometer from the side, taking care to make sure it gets to the center of the meat. Don’t touch the bottom or sides of the pan as this can give a false read. 
Besides meat, I’ve found that using an instant-read thermometer is super handy for the checking the internal temperature of my casserole at the very center where it’s rather hard to tell.  If the temperature reading is 160 degree F. at the center, I know the casserole is hot and safe to eat. 
It is perfectly fine for cooked pork to have a tinge of pink now.  Formerly, it was said that pork should be cooked until it had an internal temperature of 160 degrees which always produced gray, overcooked pork that is usually tough. Cooking the pork to the internal temperature of 140 degrees F. with a 3 minute covered rest produces beautiful, slightly pink pork – delicious! 
Chicken cutlets can absolutely be substituted pork in this recipe – I do this all the time with great success. 
Here’s how I turn a chicken breast into a cutlet: Place the chicken breast flat onto a cutting board.  Starting at one side, slice the chicken breast in half horizontally so that you wind up with two flat pieces. Place each pieces of chicken into a freezer bag, using a mallet to flatten it into about 1/2-inch thickness – you’ve just made chicken cutlets. 
This pork dish makes great leftovers. As it rests, the flavors of the rice medley intensify, infusing themselves into the pork cutlets, and because they are thin, the flavors can really penetrate the meat much more easily. 
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southwestern, Tex Mex
Keyword: cast iron skillet, easy skillet meal, one pan meal

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 872mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 4mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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