I’m a huge food movie junkie. Some of my all-time favorites are “Ratatouille”, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, “Chocolat”, “Julie & Julia”, “No Reservations” and most recently, “Chef”. A common takeaway I have with all these movies is – by the end of the show, I SO want to eat whatever they cooked in the movies.
If you have watched “Chef”, then you must know this Cuban Mojo Marinated Roast Pork is from that movie. The consultant chef in that movie is super generous to share his recipe! If you haven’t, I strongly urge you to buy the Blue-Ray/ DVD or download it (legally). I wouldn’t spoil the plot for you but a piece of warning – don’t watch with an empty stomach.
Whenever someone mentioned Cuban food, the first thought that came to my mind is Mojito. Okay, that’s more like a cocktail. Truth be told, the only time I was exposed to Cuban cuisine was at this Cuban restaurant at Clarke Quay (Singapore). Cuban cuisine could be labelled as a melting pot fusion between Spanish, African, Mexican and Caribbean.
The Mojo marinade used in this recipe is a popular sauce for roasted pork, made with garlic, oil, spices and bitter orange. When I made it the first time, the crust on the pork was beautifully charred to the right perfection and the meat was moist and juicy. The only improvement I thought needed was, it could do with a little sweetness as the overall taste was hovering on the sour/tangy side. But that is just my own personal preference. The recipe also did not really specify the amount of salt required to coat the pork so after 2 rounds of testing, I came up with my own measurement. It might seem like a lot of salt but if you want a piece of flavorful roasted pork, that is the way to go.
This roasted pork is the star for that signature Cuban sandwich in the movie, which I will be sharing soon! On its own, it is perfect to serve over dinner, at dinner parties or even as a Christmas roast, which is just what I’ll do this year.
3 ½ lb (1.5 kg) pork shoulder – one piece
8 cloves garlic
1 cup (loosely packed) coriander / cilantro
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
¾ cup (200 ml) fresh orange juice (approx. from 4 oranges)
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice (approx. from 6 large limes)
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tbsp soft brown sugar (not in the recipe)
2 tbsp sea salt (not in the recipe)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper (3 tbsp each)
Cooking / baking twine
Serves 6 – 8
Recipe source: people.com (slight modification)
Add in brown sugar, salt, garlic, orange juice, coriander and mint into the food processor. Pulse until the garlic and herbs are finely chopped.
Add in lime juice, oregano, cumin and extra virgin olive oil and give it a quick pulse.
If you do not have a food processor, chop all the ingredients finely and mix everything in a large bowl.
Pour the marinade into a large Ziploc bag and carefully put in the pork shoulder. Seal the bag and squish it around so the marinade is well distributed all over the pork.
Place the bag in a deep dish or baking dish and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F.
Take out the pork. Optional: Reserve some of the marinade for later.
Depending on the size or cut of your pork shoulder, you might want to tie up the pork to ensure even cooking and shape. For a step-by-step guide to tying a piece of meat, please refer the video above.
Place the meat on a wire rack set on a baking tray lined with 2 sheets of aluminum foil. This way, it will catch the drippings from the pork.
Rub the pork generously with salt and pepper. I used about 3 tbsp equal amount of salt and pepper. The level of saltiness is up to your own preference.
Place the tray into oven and bake for 15 mins, until it is slightly browned.
Turn down heat to 180°C/350°F and bake for another 40 mins or until an inserted thermometer into the meat registers 70°C/160°F.
Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 mins before cutting away the string and slicing.
Cook the reserved marinade in a small sauce pan and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 mins and you are able to use it as a dipping sauce.