My husband, son and I recently went to Cuba and ate the most delicious foods.

Fresh, flavorful and satiating — what a treat to be able to partake in a different culture that is only three hours away from New York.

Upon our return, I kept remembering all the tastes and flavors and wanted to recreate a meal highlighting real Cuban cuisine.

Start off with a Mojito to get you in the Cuban mood and follow with Cuban roasted pork, black beans — “frijole neros” (served at every meal we ate in Cuba), and rice.

If desired, place the suggested garnishes in bowls on a platter and serve with the cut up pork roast.

Finish off your meal with fresh tropical fruit.

Turn on some Salsa music and, if you close your eyes, you may even feel you have been transported to Havana, no visa or travel affidavit required.

MENU

(Serves 6-8)

Mojitos

Cuban Roasted Pork

Black Beans — “Frijoles Neros”

Easy Boiled Rice*

Garnishes

Fresh Tropical Fruit*

*Recipe Not Given

Mojitos

5 mint sprigs

1 3/4 oz. golden rum a dash

of lime juice

2 dashes of simple syrup

Club soda, to top it off

1. Put the mint in a highball glass, add the rum, lime juice and simple syrup.  

Pound with a barspoon until the aroma of the mint is released.

(This is called muddling.)

2. Add crushed ice and stir vigorously until the mixture and the mint is spread evenly.

3. Top up with club soda and stir again.  

Serve with straws.

Cuban Roast Pork

1 large 4 or 5 lb. pork roast

shoulder sometimes called

“pork butt” or fresh ham

(ham that is not cured,

smoked or cooked)

2 tblsps. salt and 1 tsp. salt

Cuban Mojo Sauce

1 1/2 cups orange juice

1/2 cup lime juice

1 large bay leaf

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. cumin powder

20 cloves fresh garlic peeled

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 1/2 onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup roast pork pan

drippings

1/2 cup reserved garlic and

lime sauce mixture

1. The night before:  Stab the pork shoulder all over, making deep cuts in the meat all over the roast.  

Rub salt over pork, sticking your fingers in the deep stabbed holes to penetrate the salt well into the meat.  

Set aside.

2. In a blender, make the Cuban mojo sauce — add the lime and orange juice, garlic cloves and the seasonings bay leaf, cumin powder, oregano, pepper, 1 tsp. salt.  

Blend on high until all is liquified.  

This is your Cuban Mojo; pour 1/2 cup of the mojo in a jar, cover and reserve for later.  

Pour the rest of the sauce all over the pork roast, rubbing the mojo sauce deep into the pork meat in the slits or holes.

Place in a large Ziploc bag and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Next day:

Extra cumin, pepper, oregano

2-3 bay leaves (be sure to count, as you must remove them before serving)

About 4 hours before serving:

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  

Take your cast iron skillet or roasting pan and put the onion slices on the bottom.  

Remove pork from the refrigerator and place in roasting pan, fat side up. 

Sprinkle roast with extra cumin, pepper and oregano. 

Place bay leaves in pan around pork.

4. Put in the preheated oven.  

Pour a half cup of the reserved mojo and baste your roast every hour with some of the mojo.  

Roast is done when the juices run clear and the meat is tender.  

Do not cover with aluminum foil to roast.

You can tent the roast with aluminum foil but do not crimp the edges all around.  

You want to roast your pork meat, not steam it.  

A five to six pound roast can take as long as five to six hours.  

Internal temperature should read 165 degrees. 

Ovens vary!

5. Let pork rest, tented for 15 minutes to a half hour. 

Cut meat into cubes and place on a platter. 

Serve with as many garnishes as you like.

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Garnishes

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped  avocado with

squeezed lime (to prevent

browning)

Chopped red onion

Warmed tortillias

Sauteed onions from

underneath the roasted pork

Black Beans-Frijoles Neros

1/2 cup black beans

4 cups water

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. roasted garlic

(I use Penzey’s)

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp. paprika

2 tblsps. white wine

1 onion, finely chopped and

sauteed until golden

1 tsp. chicken bouillon or

Goya Sazon

1/2 cup cooked red and

green pepper

1. In the refrigerator, overnight, soak the beans.

2. Place beans and water in a slow cooker.  

Add all the remaining ingredients.

3. Cook on high for  6 hours. Serve alongside roasted pork

Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 32 year-old Greenvale-based company, specializing in private, corporate and promotional parties.  

She lives in Manhasset with her husband and son.

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