The Cuban Mojo Pork Special.
You guys remember these sweet coconut balls from last Friday?
And do you remember how I said that I was researching some Cuban food?? While here it is, and I could not be more pumped to share it with you guys! For starters, Cuban food is where it’s at. Citrus, lime cilantro, rice, pork, plantains, beans, PINEAPPLE?!? Yes, all my favorites.
You should have seen me trying to narrow down exactly what I wanted to make. Tacos, sandwiches, fajitas, soup, burgers, etc. I think I text my mom like ten different options, but in the end I decided to combine some of my ideas and make my version of a Cuban Special.
Ohh this recipe, I LOVE this recipe! I know, I say this a lot, but I REALLY love this recipe. This is so completely lame, but this is like soul food. It just makes you all happy inside, and like I said, the flavors are killer.
Ok, and any plate with a giant pile of pork, rice, beans and plantains (FRIES) is obviously going to be high on my list.
So I feel like I should start with the inspiration for this post. Whenever Easter rolls around I always think of Florida, and when I link of south Florida, I think of Cuban food. I mean, hello, have you ever had a Cuban Sandwich in Miami?! It’s everything… just saying.
Anyway, it’s a bit early for my Cuba cravings to be kicking in, but with Easter being in March, that’s how things are going down. And also why today we get to chat about this deliciousness!
For the recipe, I went pretty dang traditional. Cuban flavors are spot on, so for the most part I really don’t want to mess with them. The pork gets marinated in a mojo sauce, which is basically a whole bunch of orange juice, lime juice, spices and olive oil. This recipe is REALLY simple, but it takes time to prepare because marinating the pork and then slow roasting it (or slow cooking it in the crockpot) really are a must. So for this recipe, you’ll need to plan ahead!
Okay, so that’s the pork. It’s juicy, tender and perfect.
Let’s talk about the rest of the meal though. It’s no secret that I really love to send you guys off with a FULL meal. Yep, I’m talking the works and that’s what this Cuban special is. Mojo sauce for serving, rice and black beans, plantain “fries” caramelized in coconut oil and brown sugar (can’t decide if this is a dessert or not, but I went with savory…clearly), and all the pineapple you can eat. 🙂 Oh, and I can’t forget the avocados!
YUM, right?!? What more could you ask for?
Oh wait, I guess maybe a mojito. YESS. definitely a mojito. Virgin or not so much, whatever works for you.
Oh and real fast, I just wanted to thank you for all your “where to go in Chicago” suggestions. As it turned out, we had barely any time to just hit up fun spots, but we did make it to the Magnificent Mile. And as I write this post I am still here enjoying the windy city (not really that windy, the weather has been pretty chill so far), planning how on earth I am going to fit in yet another churro before I hop on a plane home this afternoon.
Umm, wait, NEW PLAN: Mojitos for drinks, Cuban Mojo Pork Special for dinner and all the churros I can cram in my suitcase for dessert. I think my Monday game is pretty on point today, wouldn’t you say??
The Cuban Mojo Pork Special.
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice + the zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup lime juice + the zest of 1 lime
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried
- 6 cloves of garlic chopped or grated
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt + pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2-3 pounds pork shoulder or butt
- 1/2 cup fresh orange or grapefruit juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 jalapeno seeded if desired + finely chopped
- salt to taste
Brown Sugar Plantain Fries
- 3 ripe plantains cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
- 2-3 cups steamed white or brown rice
- 1 1/2 cup cooked black beans
- 1/2 a ripe pineapple cut into triangles,
- 1 avocado mashed with salt + lime juice
- fresh orange wedges + cilantro + tortilla chips for serving
- Place the pork in a large zip-top bag. Combine all the remaining ingredients for the pork in a blender or food processor and blend until everything is finely chopped and combined, about 30 seconds. Alternately you can finely chop everything and mix in a bowl. Pour the marinade over the the pork. Allow the pork to sit, at room temperature for 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge (remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to roasting).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (crockpot version in the notes).
- Heat a heavy bottom dutch oven or oven safe pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, remove the pork from the marinade (reserve the marinade for cooking) and add to dutch oven. Sear on all sides until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Remove the pot from the heat and let the pork cool down slightly, then pour in the reserved marinade + 1 cup of water. Place a lid on the pot and place in the preheated oven. Roast the pork for 3-4 hours or until the pork is falling off the bone and shreds easily. Shred the pork in the pot and toss with the sauce. Discard any fatty pieces. If at any point throughout the cooking process the liquid in the post gets lower than 1 inch, add about 1/2 cup water to keep liquid in the pot.
- Combine all the ingredients in bowl. Taste and add salt as needed. Alternately, if you have a mortar and pestle, mash the cilantro, jalapeno and salt together and then add the remaining ingredients.
Brown Sugar Plantains
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil to melt. Add the plantains and sprinkle with brown sugar, cook until the plantains are caramelized and soft, but still firm enough to pick up once cool. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with salt.
Let's Assemble Already!!
- Toss together the hot rice with the black beans and a handful of chopped cilantro. Divide the rice among bowls or plates and top with shredded pork. Add some plantain fries, pineapple, mashed avocado and fresh orange slices. Serve with the Mojo Sauce.
The most special of all “specials” right there. I’ll take that times two please!
P.S. I really wasn’t joking about those Churros…or the mojitos. 🙂