Monday, September 21, 2009

Cuban Style Roast Pig

Sharon came back from music camp last winter with a hankering for a new pork dish that the cheif at Bishop's Ranch had prepared for diner on Saturday evening. She asked for the recipe and he referred her to this book on cooking pork, Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat. We read some yesterday and decided to make the lechon for Sharon's birthday meal on Saturday (or did I just want an excuse to cook this weekend?)

His essay on ham was quite informative and entertaining. Made me want to read the book chrome://foxytunes-public/content/signatures/signature-button.pngcover to cover and to explore his culinary world of pork. I have made a couple of pork recipes that I love, pulled pork and pepsi pork, so I expect to find more winners here.

Of course there is a more authentic/Cuban Lechon Asado recipe for suckling pig if you want to go whole hog. (-8 pun intended :-)

Roasted Pork Shoulder, Cuban Style (serves 8)

1 bone-in (or boneless) Boston butt (pork shoulder cut), 5 to 7 pounds

For marinating and cooking:

1/4 cup triple sec or Grand Marnier
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried oregano
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

1) Make the Cuban Marinade by combining all ingredients, except pork, in bowl and mix well. Set aside/refrigerate 1/3 cup of the marinade for the Citrus Sauce.

2) Place pork in 2-gallon zip-lock plastic bag and pour in remaining marinade. Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days, turning bag occasionally to redistribute marinade.

3) When ready to roast, remove pork from marinade, shake off excess and discard marinade. Let meat sit at room temperature 1 hour.

4) Preheat oven to 325° F. Place roast in roasting pan and begin cooking. After 2 hours, begin checking roast for doneness. When meat is fork tender in several spots, remove from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 15 to 30 minutes.

5) While roast is cooking make the Citrus Mojo Sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and bloom the garlic and cumin for 30 seconds.

6) Pour most of the remaining ingredients except the cilantro and dissolved cornstarch into saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Adjust acidity and sweetness to taste with additional lime juice and sugar.

7) Stir in dissolved cornstarch, bring to boil 30 seconds to thicken slightly then set aside.

Citrus Mojo Sauce (for serving):

3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
1 T olive oil
1/3 cup reserved marinade
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste (omit if you used sweet oranges)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

8) Right before serving pork rewarm the Citrus Sauce and add in the cilantro.

9) Carve pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices, arrange on a platter, drizzle with a little sauce and serve remaining sauce in gravy boat at the table.

Note 1: Alternatively you can grill the pork on a BBQ with indirect heat at about 300° to 325° F oven instead of using a oven. Use a drip pan under the grill to catch the fat and juices. The cooking time and range for doneness are roughly the same. Use some hickory wood for that outdoorsy flavor.

Note 2: For bigger parties use a whole pork shoulder (butt and picnic as one big hunk of meat). Just double the marinade and sauce recipes. Grill/roast the shoulder for 3 to 4 hours. Serves 12 to 16 folks.

Jaya's Citrus Mojo Sauce:

Before serving add 1 to 2 parts Joe Caribe' Caribbean To-go's Habanero sauce to 6 parts Citrus Mojo Sauce. Nice heat but not recommended for most people.

Nude Descending Staircase No. 2 Aside: This painting is what I first thought of when Sharon started talking about the Cubist pork she had for dinner; Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) by Marcel Duchamp, 1912.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Vincent: Want some bacon?
Jules: No, man. I don't eat pork.
Vincent: Are you Jewish?
Jules: Nah, I ain't Jewish, I just don't dig on swine, that's all.
Vincent: Why not?
Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals.
Vincent: Yeah, but bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good.
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eatin' nothing that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
Vincent: How about a dog? Dog eats its own feces.
Jules: I don't eat dog either.
Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy, but they're definitely dirty. A dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
Jules: Well, we'd have to be talkin' about one charming motherfucking pig. I mean, he'd have to be ten times more charming than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm saying?
Vincent: [laughing] That's good.

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