Food & Wine

Home-Style Lechon Asado

The cover of the Tri-City Herald's Food & Wine section Feb. 10 will feature ideas for romantic Valentine's Day meals and goodies. Inside you'll find more recipes plus buying, cooking and health tips on a variety of food-related subjects.

Home-Style Lechon Asado

Over the years Linda Cicero, The Miami Herald, has experimented with replicating lechon asado. For a crowd, try to find a leg of pork, which is often labeled fresh ham. You can also make a family-size meal with a pork shoulder. Fat is essential to a moist roast, so if you opt for lean loin or tenderloin, consider wrapping the meat in bacon.

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (or olive oil)

1 head fresh garlic, peeled and minced

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, or to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground bay leaf or 4 bay leaves (remove before serving)

1 (6-pound) leg of pork or pork shoulder or 2 (3-pound) pork loins

3 cups sour orange juice (or 1 1/2 cups each lime and regular orange juice)

2 large onions, thickly sliced

Instructions

Place the butter, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and ground bay leaf in a mortar and crush with a pestle into a paste. (Or process in a blender or small spice grinder.) With the tip of a sharp knife, cut small slits through the fat and skin of the pork and shallowly into the meat on all sides. Rub the paste over the meat, pushing it into the slits.

Place the meat in a food-grade plastic bag or covered container and add the sour orange juice. Seal the bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight, turning once in a while.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place meat in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Place the onion slices all over the top, and pour on half the marinade. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and roast about 6 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone and registers 180 degrees, basting often with remaining marinade and adding water to the bottom of the pan if it starts to dry. (If your meat is covered with skin, remove lid or foil and boost the temperature during the last half hour to 400 to allow it to crisp.)

Let meat stand about 20 minutes before slicing or pulling into chunks. A 6-pound leg makes about 15 servings. Figure 1/2 pound per person with other cuts, allowing for waste.

Per serving: 316 calories (44 percent from fat), 15.2 g fat (6.8 g saturated, 5.7 g monounsaturated), 130.9 mg cholesterol, 35.7 g protein, 7.7 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fiber, 318.3 mg sodium.

From: Linda Cicero, The Miami Herald.

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