Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork Roast
This dish is so completely tied into my culinary reawakening. I first heard of Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork Roast from the 2014 film Chef, which was written, directed and starred Jon Favreau. It told the story of a chef whose abilities had languished due to his creativity being hampered by the restaurant’s owner. The dish that started his path to redemption was the Cuban sandwich. The base for that sandwich was Cuban style mojo marinated pork roast. The roast is made by the main character’s sous chef. This film had parallels with my experience. I was limited to what and how I could cook by my ex. I had become stagnant and too reliant of pre-packaged foods.
Whole mojo marinated pork shoulder roasts
In the second month of my culinary reawakening, June 2015, I went looking for mojo recipes online. I found one by Roy Choi. That is an important detail. Choi had a small role in Chef, but he also was a Co-Producer as well as Culinary Consultant on the film. This was the recipe I wanted to make. I made a few mistakes making this the first time on June 28, 2016. First I used a 6-7 lbs bone in pork shoulder roast, not the 3 ½ lbs boneless the recipe called for. Second, I paired the dish with Zatarain’s Caribbean rice, a rice dish with coconut and pineapple. Third, I discarded the marinade and re-made the sauce without olive oil or mint.
Cuban style yellow rice
The roast was moist, but I did not take picture. I was bad and ate too much of the fatty bark. I ate it, because the roast took longer to cook due to the doubled sized of it and I was so hungry. The rice and the sauce were too close in flavor profile, so it felt one note. They both had sweet and sour notes to them. I decided next time to make classic Cuban side dishes to go with the roast. Cuban style yellow rice and Cuban style black beans were at the top of my list.
Puerto Rican chayote hash
At the beginning of 2016, I decided to go back and make dishes I made prior, but did not take photos of. I also started taking photos of dishes that were my staples that I had not photographed before. Mojo Marinated Pork Roast and Enchiladas Suizas were at the top of the list. For March 2016, I decided to make the Mojo Marinated Pork Roast. I found boneless roast, but not in one piece. Instead I had two 1 ½ lbs small pork roasts. I also had a huge pot of beans at the end of February 2016, so making the black beans seemed like too much beans too soon. I decided to make Cuban style yellow rice (from The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith) and Puerto Rican chayote hash (from A Taste of Puerto Rico by Yvonne Ortiz) as my sides. The hash was because I wanted to try chayote, a squash found in Mexican and Caribbean cuisines. I also wanted the chayote to aid in my increasing of vegetable dishes in my diet.
Sliced mojo marinated pork roast
On March 17, 2016, I made the planned Caribbean meal. Yes, I know that was St. Patrick’s Day. Since I am neither regular Irish nor Catholic, I did not really care. I staggered the sides while the roast was cooking and resting. The roast was flavored beautifully, but I think it may have been slightly overcooked. The yellow rice, which included onions, garlic, red bell peppers, and peas, came out the best of the rice dishes I made so far without rice cooker. The chayote hash was originally a breakfast dish that included eggs. I removed the eggs from the recipe. Next time I am going to double the amount of seasonings. I used the marinade with the roasts’ pan drippings and cornstarch to make a sauce. Due to my mom still being at the house, I used parsley instead of cilantro. She is allergic to cilantro. The sauce was great. I was very pleased how this meal came out. Next time I will shop around for a single 3 ½ lbs boneless pork shoulder roast.
This dish will always have fond memories for me. It is most assuredly in my menu rotation. The new side dishes paired so much better with the meal than the Caribbean rice. I am always game to try new foods, recipes, and ingredients.