Lechon Asado

In Cuban cuisine, Lechon refers to a whole pig marinated in mojo and cooked either over a fire or, as is more common now in Miami, in La Caja China. Now a days, however, the name is used as a sort of blanket term for any pork roast cooked in mojo. It is the main dish at almost every Cuban party and it is what my family and I ate at almost all our family gatherings. The smell of this roasting in the oven transports me back to my childhood and the happy times when my grandparents and father were still alive and I didn’t have a mortgage and a job. This particual roast I made for a dinner party I had at my house last weekend with some dear friends of mine Rachel and Omeed. They had taken me to a “Cuban/Puerto Rican” restaurant in Seattle and after tasting the food there I told them I had to make them proper Cuban food so they’d know what they were missing. The recipe I present to you below is what I made for them. I learned this recipe from my mother and grandmother and I have adapted it to make up for the unfortunate lack of sour orange in the Pacific Northwest. If you are somewhere were you can get Sour Orange replace 4 limes for two sour oranges.

Ingredients:
5-6 Lbs Pork Shoulder Roast with Bone and Skin still on
16-18 Limes
1 Head of Garlic Minced (2 tablespoons)
1 Onion Sliced
2 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper

24-36 hours before you plan on having dinner:

Slice the skin on the pork so that you slice through the skin and expose the fat. It’s best to not cut all the way to the meat but don’t worry too much if you do. Pierce the flesh with a knife 8-12 times.

Rub the roast well with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic. Rub it in well, making sure that you get it all the cuts and piercings you have made in the roast. Once it’s had a good massage, place it in a large baking dish with a sliced onion, squeeze the limes over the roast, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.

Remove from fridge 2-4 hours before cooking, uncover and allow the skin to dry and the roast to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 and cook for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 275/300 degrees and cook for 30 minutes a pound. If the skin starts to get too brown cover with aluminum foil and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees. If the skin has yet to turn brown and crispy turn the oven to broil. Watch it very carefully as it goes from brown to burnt in minutes.

Once the roast is done allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with and avocado and tomato salad, rice and beans** and apply to face.

Picture by Rachel Freeman

*I am not being paid to link to La Caja China’s site and I have no relationship with this product or it’s owner/inventor.

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