Friday, July 8, 2011

Pablo's Mom's Roast Pork and Puerto Rican Rice.

This is Pam's Son Dallas again. One of my very best friends is a great operatic tenor named Pablo Veguilla. Right now he is singing with the Paris opera, and is really loving France. He is of Puerto Rican descent, and comes from a very rich culinary heritage. Pablo's Mom is one of the sweetest human beings walking the planet right now, and I wish that everyone on the face of the earth could meet her and taste her cooking at least once in their lives. They would be the better for it. Pablo was my roommate for many years in Philadelphia, best man in my wedding, and we went to Florida State together. His Mom would make occasional appearances in our home and always make her roast pork. It was a must, and I'm sorry to say that no matter how many times I've made it, I never have quite gotten it right. It never tastes the same. I have a feeling that there is some kind of magic weed she sneaks in with the oregano. Or perhaps, and it probably is this, it's just the love. It always tastes better when someone you love, and someone who loves you makes it. So, in honor of Mrs. Veguilla, here is this recipe.

1 5 Lb pork picnic roast or Boston Butt
1/8 cup Dried Mexican Oregano
1 whole pod of garlic crushed and finely minced
5 Tbsp Spanish Olive Oil
several turns of black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 sweet Spanish yellow onions sliced
1 cup chicken stock

In a small bowl combine the oregano, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil. Make a paste out of it. Take your roast, and with a parring knife, stab several holes into the roast all over. Using your finger, push the paste into the holes all over the roast. Probably about 25 puncture wounds will do. Put the roast, onions, and chicken stock into a large dutch oven. Place in a 325 degree oven and cook for 3 hours or until the meat reaches an interior temperature of 165 degrees. When Roast is done, remove it from the oven. It should fall apart. Serve with yellow rice, or on hoagie rolls dipped in the juice. Enjoy!

****Gandules or pigeon peas, and sazon seasoning can be found in the Mexican section of your local mega mart as well as your local Mexican grocery store.

Puerto Rican Rice

1/2 lb salt pork cubed, or if pre sliced cut into strips
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro stems
****1 can Gandules (pigeon peas)
1 1/2 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
2 packages sazon seasoning
1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped

In a 2 quart pot, bring water to a simmer. Add the cubed salt pork and blanch for 2 minutes to remove much of the salt. Remove from water and blot dry with a towel. Discard the water. In a large pot add the olive oil and bring up to medium high heat. Add the salt pork and brown. Remove the pork from the heat. If there is a lot of grease left over drain all away except for a couple of Tbsps. Add the onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add the chopped cilantro stems and pigeon peas, and finally the rice. Continue to stir for another minute and then finally add the chicken stock. Add the sazon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cover for 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro leaves just prior to serving and top with the crispy salt pork.

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