Monday, December 23, 2013

314 : Pierna de Puerco Asado a la Criolla


6 lbs fresh ham shank (Pierna de Puerco or Pierna de Cerdo)
1 whole garlic
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup juice from fresh sour oranges
1 pound white onions

1. Make sure the pork you buy is trimmed of any overly excessive fat but still has the skin intact, as the skin crisps during cooking to form a chicharrón (crackling).

2. Place pork inside a large turkey bag. Bag will be used during marination process, not during cooking.

3. Cut slits in the pork with a sharp knife, on both sides of the pork.

4. Using a mortar and pestle, crush all the garlic cloves.

5. Add the salt to the garlic and crush well, ending up with a paste-like consistency.

6. Add the oregano, cumin and black pepper, pausing between each spice to fully incorporate each one into the mix.

7. Pour the spice-paste into the sour orange juice and mix well, to create your mojo. Let it sit while you do step #8.

8. Slice up the onions into rings.

9. Rub the mojo, with your hands, all over both sides of the pork, making sure you get the juices and paste into all crevices. Pour any leftover liquid over the top of both sides and rub well with your hands.

10. Place the onion rings over, under and inside the pork. The littlest circles from the rings fit perfectly into the slits in the pork. Close up the bag and put away for 48-72 hours. Turn bag over after each 24 hours so that juices can cover all parts of the pork during marination.

11. When ready to cook, heat oven to 325 degrees and remove pork from bag, into a large roaster. Pour all juices from bag over the pork, into the roaster.

12. Cook for four hours. Check temperature using a meat thermometer. Pork is ready once the thermometer reads 185 degrees.

13. Slice and serve with black beans and rice, using the excess onions and salsita (sauce) as a dressing for the rice. Can also be served inside Cuban bread as a sandwich, in a Pan con Lechon, with the onions and salsita as a condiment for the sandwich.

Enjoy - and sop up any leftover salsita with extra Cuban bread.

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  1. I make my pierna every Noche Buena using the same recipe. The recipe (and the end product) is flawless in its simplicity.

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