A long soak in a citrus-, garlic-, cilantro-, and oregano-infused marinade gives this Puerto Rican pork dish from Sofrito restaurant in New York a mellow herby flavor. Cooking it slowly wrapped in banana leaves ensures a juicy, moist roast. Serve it up with some rice, black beans, and sweet plantains.
What to buy: Banana leaves are often kept in the frozen foods section of the grocery store. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
If you can’t find sour oranges (also known as bitter oranges), use a mixture of half lemon juice and half grapefruit juice.
Game plan: Be sure to start making this a day before you want to serve it, as it needs 12 to 24 hours to marinate.
- 1Place all ingredients except the oils in a blender and process until smooth. With the motor running, add the oils in a slow, steady stream until evenly incorporated; set aside.
For the pork:
- 1Combine the salt, oregano, and pepper in a small bowl.
- 2Rinse the pork with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Make 3 to 4 horizontal incisions through the fat, cutting until you hit the flesh. Rub the pork all over with the salt mixture. Place in a large resealable plastic bag, add the marinade, and turn the pork to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 12 to 24 hours.
- 3Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- 4Cut the banana leaf in half horizontally and overlap the two pieces of leaf so that they roughly form a rectangle about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. Remove the pork from the marinade and place it on the banana leaves so that the short and long ends of the pork and the leaves match. Fold in the left and right sides of the leaves and roll up the pork like a burrito to completely encase the meat.
- 5Place the wrapped pork seam-side down in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid. Add the water, cover, and bake until the meat is fork tender, about 2 to 3 hours.
- 6Unwrap the pork, place it in a bowl, and, using two forks, shred it into bite-size pieces. If the meat is dry, add pan juices as needed and stir to combine. Serve with rice and beans.