My good friend and fellow foodie, Catherine of Fish and Veggies, peaked my interest in this dish. She gave it a try and received rave reviews. So I followed her lead with a few modifications based on her suggestions and made my own Pork Pernil.
“Pernil” is a classic Puerto Rican pork roast that is incredibly easy and equally impressive. The basic method is making the “adobo” which is simply a purée of garlic, herbs and citrus juice. Next time I will add onion and chili powder to the adobo for a little more flavor.
It couldn’t be simpler. Throw the potatoes in the bottom and after 3 hours they are perfectly crispy and flavored with the adobo. I made a quick coleslaw and served with flour tortillas to make tacos.
For the Pork:
- 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 pounds), skin on
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 handful fresh oregano
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, plus chopped cilantro, for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt and fresh coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 limes, juiced, plus wedges for serving
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 5-6 large Idaho potatoes, cubed
For the Coleslaw:
- 1 lime, juiced
- 3 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 T honey
- 1 t cumin
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 head cabbage, shredded
- 1 small red onion, thinkly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- shredded carrots
Prepare the adobo: In a food processor, add the garlic, oregano, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add lime juice and orange juice. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse until you have a nice puree.
Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the meat with small slits. Place pork in a large plastic bag. Pour the marinade all over the pork and seal plastic bag. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Remove pork from marinade and place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack insert. Rub leftover marinade on top of pork – being sure to get into the incisions so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture – this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked.
Roast the pork and potatoes for 3 hours, uncovered, until the skin is crispy-brown. Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing, covered lightly with aluminum foil. Drizzle with lime juice and garnish with cilantro.
Mix all ingredients for the coleslaw dressing and add to coleslaw mix 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with tortillas for taco making!