Cuban Mojo Pork

 

This dish ticks all sorts of boxes for me – it’s tasty; uses a cheap cut of meat; the oven does all the hard work – and it has that mellow spiciness that fills the house with a tempting aroma raising everyone’s appetites!

I had this at a friend’s house for dinner a couple of years ago, and when I pressed her to share the recipe she confessed that it had been a jar of pre-prepared paste – but she had had to add a few ingredients! LOL.. A bit of research and this is the version I’ve come up with…

Mojo (pronounced Mo-ho) is actually a Cuban marinade/sauce of sour orange, garlic, oregano, sometimes tomato paste, and smoky pepper.  As we don’t have their sour oranges I up the acidity by adding some lime zest and juice; and in lieu of the smoky pepper I used a smoked Paprika.

I’ve made this into a stew, but it can also be used to marinade and slow roast a whole pork shoulder to be turned into a yummy pulled pork. I use Pork shoulder chops; after years of experimenting I’ve found that this is the cut that slow cooks the best, it retains its juiciness, and as a great flavour.

Traditionally it’s served with those  other traditional Cuban staples – Black Beans and Rice; and I add fresh diced tomatoes, cucumbers and shredded lettuce. with tortillas for building your own filled tortilla… Also, a quick charred corn Salsa – to add even more colour.. A brilliant sharing dish for hungry people..

Ingredients

1 K Pork Shoulder chops

Olive Oil

500ml chicken broth

½ C orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

¼ C lime juice

Zest of 1 lime

1 onion, diced

1 pepper cut into large pieces

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

2-3 sprigs oregano

1½ t cumin

1½ t smoked paprika

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

(optional 1 Jalapeno chilli just sliced in half)

2T cornflour

1/4 C water

Coriander leaves to serve

Method

Remove the skin and bones from the chops and cut into 1-inch pieces. (keep the bones).

Heat a large pan and add the olive oil and brown the pork in batches – if you put too many in the pan they won’t brown, they’ll sweat out the juices and stew rather than colour up. Lastly brown the bones – you’ll add them to the stew for cooking which will boost the flavour – just remove before serving.

Place the meat in a large oven safe dish. Add the chopped onions to the pan and gently fry until golden brown and sprinkle over the meat. Add the chopped peppers and garlic to the onions and meat. Pour the chicken stock into the saucepan and stir to get all those tasty bits off the bottom of the pan; then pour over the meat.

mojo ingredients 2

Mix the juices, zests, tomato paste and spices together. Add to the meat and then poke the herbs in and around the meat. Sprinkle over salt and pepper. The meat and veges should be almost submerged in the liquid. If using the Jalapeno, add it now. Cut in half and submerged. This gives an extra heat if you want it.

Cover with a double layer of foil – you want it completely sealed, so that nothing escapes. Place in a 150C oven and cook for 2 hours.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, and remove the bones, and Bay leaves, and spoon the meat into a serving dish and keep warm. Pour the juices in a saucepan and boil vigorously for 10 mins to concentrate the flavour. At this stage taste and check the seasonings. You might need to add more salt and pepper. I thicken mine with the cornflour mixed into the water, and then stirred through the sauce. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened and then pour over the pork. Sprinkle with Coriander leaves.

 

I cooked this in the oven, but it works just as well in a slow cooker.

Simply put the meat and all the rest of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 8 hours. I would still brown the meat and bones because it adds a depth of flavour to the final dish.

Quick Charred Corn Salsa

1 cob corn

1 T butter

¼ t chilli flakes.

Cook the corn in its husk in the microwave on high for 5 mins. Peel off the husks, and then char the corn – either on the barbeque, or if you have a gas hob, just use the gas flame.

Run a sharp knife down the corn to cut off the kernels and then mix with the butter and chilli flakes. Adds a nice sweet warmth to this meal.

pork dished

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