Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cuban-Style Pork Roast

Pork, in one form or another, frequently appears on my dinner table. Like chicken, it has the ability to be broken down into right-sized portions for two or four or more, and that makes it a positive gift for smaller family meals. You've long known of my habit of buying large single pork loins, that I then cut into meal-size portions for family or company dinners. Those loins can still be purchased for about $2 a pound and that makes it possible to prepare an entree for four or more that is really inexpensive. As a matter of fact, I do it all the time. My family will be visiting in August, so I've been experimenting with new ways to prepare these pork loins. I've decided that at least one of our meals should have a Hispanic flair and to that end I've been trying to recreate a meal we had in the Cuban section of Miami a very long time ago. Last night I finally got it right. The roast that I remember had been seasoned with a sour orange marinade that gave the glazed pork a really bright flavor that was assertive without being overwhelming. The authentic version of this dish is made with sour orange juice and that can be difficult to find. You can make a fair imitation of it by combining 2 parts of orange juice with 1 part lemon and 1 part lime juice. That's a bit too assertive for my tastes, so I use 3 parts orange juice to one of lemon. It is best to make the marinade and season the pork at least several hours before roasting. Overnight would be even better. I always tie the loins I plan to roast into a cylinder of approximately even circumference. That helps to assure even cooking of the meat. I cook my pork until its internal temperature measures 140 degrees F on a meat thermometer. At this stage, the meat will be a very pale pink and quite juicy. It is imperative that you allow the roast to rest in a foil tent for 10 to 20 minutes once you remove it from the oven. In keeping with the Cuban theme, I served the pork with a potato and carrot mash and a plain salad of iceberg lettuce and blood red tomatoes. When the children are here, I'll also add Cuban bread and a flan to the evenings menu. I hope you will try this. Those of you who do are in for a treat. Here's the recipe.

Cuban-Style Pork Roast...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


Orange Marinade/Glaze

1 cup sour orange juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pork Loin

1 center cut boneless pork loin (2-1/2 to 3 pounds)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided use

4 teaspoons coarse garlic salt

2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons dried oregano


1) Combine orange juice, sugar, ginger and cloves in a small saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes.

2) Using kitchen twine, tie pork loin at 1-inch intervals to form a cylinder of uniform circumference.

3) Combine garlic salt, pepper and oregano in a small bowl; toss to combine. Spread mixture on a work surface. Rub surface of meat with 1 teaspoon olive oil; roll in spice mixture. Wrap meat with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

4) Preheat conventional oven to 325 degrees F. or preheat convection oven to 300 degrees F.

5) Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Add pork; sear well, about 5 minutes per side, using tongs to roll meat until all surfaces are brown. Brush pork with glaze. Transfer skillet to oven and roast for 15 minutes. Brush again with glaze and roast for 20 minutes longer, or until pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Remove from oven. Brush again with glaze. Tent with foil; let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Yield: 6 servings.

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