With all of the recent talk of the United States normalizing relations with Cuba, my memory takes me back to several deliveries where I stopped in Cuba en route to Latin America. I have always found the officials and people of Cuba warm and inviting, but what I remember most is the food.
Luckily, living in South Florida affords me the opportunity to revisit this style of cooking. Here is one of my favorite dishes. It is important to cook this with lard, which is rendered from pork and thus enhances the flavor of the masitas. Enjoy, JW.
2 pounds pork shoulder
2 cups Cuban marinade
2 cups water
1/4 cup lard
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 onion, chopped coarsely
Cut pork into 2-inch chunks. Place chunks into a bowl and add 2 cups Cuban mojo marinade. (Store bought is fine or use my recipe below.) Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
In a skillet, add water, lard, salt and pork chunks. Over medium-high heat, bring to boil. Reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered, about 40 minutes. The water will evaporate leaving only the lard and pork chunks.
Once the water has evaporated, bring the heat up to medium-high and sauté onions until translucent, about 2 minutes. Serve as a main dish with rice, black beans and fried plantains.
Cuban mojo marinade
20 garlic cloves (yes, 20), pealed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 cups sour orange juice (substitute 1 cup OJ and 1/2 cup lime juice)
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp oregano
With a mortar and pestle, work the garlic, salt and peppercorns into a paste. Add juice to the paste followed by the onion. Mix well and let stand at room temperature for at least an hour before using it as a marinade for pork, chicken or fish.