I found a full leg of pork the other day and decided I just had to have it. Didn't have a clue what I was going to do with it but I had to have it. So I researched online and found this fabulous Cuban recipe by Martha Stewart. With that settled, what to have on the side? Well Cuba Libres and Mojito as cocktails for sure :0) That was easy!!
How about Black Beans and Rice! What else would go with it? . . . Twice fried Plantains!
OMG was that a great meal if I do say so myself :0) The flavours with fabulous and everyone left happy.
To quote Martha: "Not to be confused with ham, a fresh leg of pork is relatively uncommon today, despite its sumptuous layer of excess fat and accompanying flavor. This natural cushioning is rendered during roasting, enveloping the meat in goodness and allowing the skin above to crisp into the best cracklings you'll ever encounter. The traditional Cuban way with pork is to dress it with oregano and lemon, an apprach that couldn't be easier -- or better!"
Not one word of a lie nor exageration!!!
Roasted Leg of Pork with Cracklings - Serves 10
- Mix minced garlic, lemon zest and juice, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, and the oil in a medium bowl.
- Using a sharp knife, make parallel cuts all over pork leg, cutting through skin and fat (but not meat), spacing cuts 1/2 inch apart. Using a paring knife, cut ten 1/2-inch slits into meat (between parallel cuts). Stuff each slit with a halved garlic clove.
- Pat garlic mixture all over pork, pushing paste between each parallel line and covering pork. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large plastic bag set in a pan (such as a turkey roasting bag), leaving top open to let skin dry. Refrigerate overnight (or up to 2 days).
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Position rack in lower third of oven. Remove pork from bag, and place in a large roasting pan, skin side up. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature. Season again with salt and pepper, and pour wine in pan. Roast for 45 minutes, reduce heat to 350, and continue roasting until thickest part of pork registers 145 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 3 hours. (Check temperature every 15 minutes during final hour of roasting.) Let rest at least 1 hour before serving. Being so large it will remain warm for serving.
Then was the side dish of Black Beans and Rice. You can make it the long way or the quick way. I chose quick!
Black Beans with Rice - serves 6
- Chop onion and green pepper. Mash the garlic with salt and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.
- Sauté the onions and green pepper in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add mashed garlic and sauté another minute or so.
- Add the cooked beans, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, vinegar, and wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf.
- Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the sugar; then drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the beans. Immediately cover the pot, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve the by now fantastically prepared black beans over white rice. You may garnish the beans with cilantro and chopped white onions. Not only do they look good presented this way, they taste even better than they look.
Twice Fried Plantains
- Peel the plantain: Cut the ends of each plantain off with a sharp knife. Use the knife to cut through the peel only the entire lenth of the plantain. Loosen the peel along the cut and remove peel by hand.
- Cut the plantain into slices, about 2" to 2 1/2" wide.
- Fill a large skillet a third full with oil and heat over medium-high heat to a temperature of about 300 degrees F. Once the oil is hot, fry the plantain slices for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, just long enough to make them soft.
- Remove the plantains and drain on paper towels. Use a plantain press or a brown paper bag folded over (or wax paper) to smash the plantains to about half their thickness.
- Let the oil come back to a higher temperature -- this time about 375 degrees F. Fry once again, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides.
- Remove and use paper towels to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and serve.
I hope you enjoy this Cuban meal as much as we did. If you try it, please come back and share the experience.
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