I've been rather quiet because I've pretty much been spending all my time lying on the couch, reading and coughing. Had to cancel all my weekend plans. I seem to be getting better albeit slowly. I'm still coughing up a storm but not as congested....I'm thinking that's progress. I'm planning a quiet NYE but then New Year's Day will be lovely....come on out and celebrate the year with us and Kevin Gordon. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait! Oh, and please note, if you haven't paid yet, just bring cash....$20 per person. I usually prefer PayPal but the holiday complicates things so just cash this time please! I'm going to order posters soon so let me know if you want one (if you haven't already). I made a test run of Hoppin John and it was pretty good. Of course that could be a bad thing....sometimes then it never turns out as well. I'll give it a try though. Feel free to bring some New Year's foods....we could use some greens to go with the Hoppin John I'm thinking..... Mostly though, just bring yourself!
I had a couple of people request the pernil recipe I made for our Christmas party and am just now getting around to posting it. I'm not the hugest Mark Bittman fan but he's good for recipes like this that are basically impossible to ruin! It is a long and slow dish....and make sure you use pork shoulder---pork loin would get dried out. Either Boston butt or a picnic roast will work and they're relatively inexpensive cuts of meat which is why I end up using them for big gatherings. They're cheap, they're easy and are done ahead of time so there's no last minute fussing. Three requirements in my book!
Puerto Rican Roast Pork
from the Minimalist by Mark Bittman/New York Times
Time: At least 3 hours
1 pork shoulder, 4 to 7 pounds (or use fresh ham)
4 or more cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chili powder (I didn't have this so used aleppo pepper and a bit of smoked paprika if I recall correctly)
1 tablespoon salt (I like to salt the meat about a day ahead of time...I think it helps season it throughout. If you do that cut this amount of salt back by half or more)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil as needed
1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar
Lime wedges for serving.
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Score meat's skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, salt and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. (Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle.) Blend in the vinegar.
2. Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours), turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary. (ours was 7 lbs and we cooked it 5 hours..just depends how falling apart you want it)
3. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.
We had two six pound roasts which we did at the same time....I think we left them in about six hours. They're cooked much earlier but you want to leave them in until they are almost falling apart. We did a 7 lb one separately and it took about 5 hours I believe. If you were at the party you know we served it with yellow rice (just rice with some annatto seed oil) and Val's wonderful black beans. I had some lime wedges too....squeezed a few over it before putting it out. It is NOT a lean piece of meat so it's not really good room temperature....that's why I left it in the crock pot at low.