Quick and Tasty Lechon – from Marta’s Cuban American Kitchen
I love to tell stories. This is part of my Cuban legacy. As Val and I discussed before I started doing this feature, I will probably have a story to tell each time I post a recipe. Today's story has an interesting twist.
My mom (the 93 year old) likes to tell stories of her life in Cuba. And I pay attention. She recalls a peaceful and sweet pre-revolutionary life back in her small town - back in “the day.” The few families that lived in the small port all knew and cared for one another.
Her family owned a huge German Shepherd they named Lindbergh, after the famous aviator. (Of course, in 1930's Cuba they pronounced it Leem-Berr.) Everyone in her small town knew this dog. The kids in town would come over and taunt Lindbergh (I know. I know. It's so NOT a Cuban pet's name) through the picket fence. The way she describes him, Lindbergh had a reputation for being pretty ferocious, and had bitten a few kids in his day. It was kind of an adventure for the kids to get the dog to react from the safety of the other side of the fence.
There was one daring kid, Pepin, who apparently felt exceptionally brave one day. He climbed up and straddled the fence. The big dog leaped up and opportunistically took a chunk out of the kid's ummm...rear end.
My grandfather (sur-name, Perez-Puelles) felt soo bad about the dog attacking the kid, that he paid for Pepin to receive medical attention. Poor Pepin was out of commission for a few weeks recovering from the bite in the nalga.
As my mom continues telling the story, I can sense she still feels bad about the incident. She tells the story apologetically. She figures that Pepin must be an old man now, since this happened over 70 years ago. Even so, she muses, he probably still has the scar from the dog bite.
I kind of feel the family guilt over this one, too. Poor Pepin and his dog-scarred nalga.
After all these years, it was not until just yesterday that I discovered the kid's last name.
I found out that Pepin's brother lives in Miami. And I even spoke to his nephew yesterday.
How random is that??
This recipe is quick, like Lindbergh, and tasty, like Pepin's umm ....
So by way of saying that the Perez-Puelles family still feels bad about the whole dog-bite incident, today's recipe is dedicated to:
Pepin PRIETO and his family.
And... just curious... Val, does your Uncle Pepin still have the scar?
Quick and Tasty Lechon - Estilo Pepin
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. Pork loin chops – the big, thick ones
2 cups Mojo Criollo*
1 white onion – sliced into rings
1 tsp. Parsley
Stab each of the chops two or three times and brown them quickly in the olive oil.
Put them in a crockpot. Cover with the mojo and the onion slices and sprinkle with parsley.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Or on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve with black beans and white rice.
You can use the mojo that comes in a bottle, or make your own.
Here’s my recipe.
20 cloves garlic
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Coarse-ground Pepper
2 tsp. Oregano
1 ¾ cups orange
¼ cup white vinegar
Using a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic, salt, pepper and oregano to make a paste.
Stir in the orange juice and vinegar.