Mojo Criollo Sour Orange Mojo
8 navel oranges
1 cup sevilla orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 4 Seville oranges)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 TBL whole cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 cup garlic, minced (about 2 whole heads)
8 shallots, thinly sliced
2 TBL oregano, fresh, minced
2 TBL flat leaf parsley, fresh, minced
2 TBL cilantro, fresh, minced
4 scallions, (white and green parts)
- To segment the navel oranges, use a large sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tops and bottoms so that the fruits will stand upright on a cutting board. Stand an orange on the board and slice away the peel from top to bottom, following the curve of the fruit and removing the pith along with the rind. Trim away any remaining white pith. Holding the orange in your hand, cut each fruit segment out from between the dividing membranes with a paring knife into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oranges. Squeeze the juice remaining in the segments into a bowl and set the segments aside.
- Combine the Seville orange juice, oil, cumin, garlic, and shallots in a small bowl and mix well.
- Heat a stainless-steel sauté pan over high heat. Pour the juice mixture into the hot pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange segments, oregano, parsley, cilantro, and scallions.
The potent flavors and acidity of a Cuban mojo sauce make it the perfect marinade and barbecue sauce for both pork and chicken; if you have some left over from the pig roast, serve it with crispy grilled chicken or with scrambled eggs and tortillas. There are as many variations of mojo as there are of American barbecue sauce, and it’s also a traditional dressing for yuca, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.
Yield: Makes about 1 quart
Lechón Asado Achiote- and Citrus-Marinated Roast Suckling Pig
Brine4 gallons water
4 cups salt, kosher
2 cups sugar, granulated
1 WHOLE SUCKLING PIG, (ABOUT 20 POUNDS) CLEANED, DRESSED, AND BUTTERFLIED
Marinade1/4 cup achiote paste
1 cup garlic, (2 heads) minced
1 cup oregano, dried
1 quart vegetable oil
2 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup salt, kosher
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
To taste salt, kosher
To Serve1/4 cup olive oil, Arbequina
2 cups Mojo Criollo, (recipe linked below)
As needed black beans
As needed rice
- To brine the pig, in a nonreactive container large and deep enough for the pig to be submerged (such as a clean plastic 30-gallon trashcan), combine the water, salt, and sugar
- Mix until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Slide the pig into the brine, cover and refrigerate, fully submerged, for 24 to 48 hours.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To make the marinade, combine the achiote paste, garlic, oregano, vegetable oil, orange juice, and salt and mix well.
- Lift the pig out of the brine, discard the brine, and pat the pig completely dry.
- Place the pig on the baking sheet or in a large nonreactive container and pour the marinade over it, using your hands to rub the marinade all over, inside and out, to completely coat.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the pig from the marinade, discarding any marinade left in the container.
- To roast the pig in a Caja China or other roasting box, set up the box and preheat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Season the pig inside and out with the extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt. Arrange the pig skin-side down in the cooking cage, place it in the Caja China, and cover. Roast the pig until cooked through (the meat will be falling off the bone), 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn the cage over and continue to cook the pig until the skin is crispy, about 30 minutes more.
- Carefully the remove the pig from the roasting box, take it out of the cage, and set it on a carving board. Allow the pig to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- To roast the pig in a conventional oven, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil and set a heavy-duty rack in the pan. Place the pig skin-side up on the rack and brushthe skin with the extra virgin olive oil and salt.
- Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast the pig for 1 hour.
- Lower the heat to 325°F and continue roasting for 1 hour more.
- Remove the foil and roast until the skin is crispy and the meat is falling off the bone, about 1 hour more.
- Remove the pig from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- Once the roasted pig is properly rested, carefully remove the skin in its entirety, one side at a time, using a pair of tongs and a kitchen knife; cut or tear the skin into individual-size portions.
- From there, simply pull the meat away from the bone. Season the carved pork with Arbequina olive oil and sea salt. Serve with beans and rice and Mojo Criollo sauce, and garnish with crispy skin.
If you are new to roasting a pig, here are a few tips to guarantee your first venture is a hit. First and foremost, fully submerge that pig in the brine! Brining from snout to tail, ears to hoofs in a combination of salted water and sugar is triply essential: It seasons the meat through and through, bringing out flavor; it tenderizes the meat by beginning to break down the proteins; and it ensures moisture retention so after hours over the fire the pork is not only tasty and tender, but also juicy (rather than dried out). Brining requires 24 to 48 hours, and an additional overnight soak is needed for the marinating step. Also essential is the mojo, because it brings all the delicious flavors of the citrus, garlic, cumin, and herbs (especially oregano), but most importantly because its pronounced acidity is a perfect counterbalance to the fattiness of the meat. Have your butcher clean and dress the pig, and be sure to ask that it be butterflied, so you don’t have to do the work of splitting the animal’s backbone yourself. The Caja China is on my list of great culinary implements of all time, but you don’t have to have one to make yourself a great roast pig; instructions are provided for an oven method as well.
Oven-Roasted Pork Loin With Chanterelle-Mustard Sauce
- Hands On Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
For the Pork1 tablespon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher Salt and black pepper
1 3-POUND BONELESS PORK LOIN BREAST
For the Sauce6 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, stems trimmed
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1/4 cup cognac
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare the pork: Whisk the thyme, rosemary, garlic, mustard and vegetable oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Rub the pork liberally with the herb-mustard mixture, then place fat-side up on a rack set inside a heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Roast until the pork is caramelized and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 145 degrees F, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from the roasting pan, then heat on the stove over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until caramelized, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 2 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cognac, then return to the heat and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Whisk in the stock, mustard and thyme. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cream and butter and gently boil until thickened. Add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.