August 16, 2010

Masitas de Puerco - Cuban Pork

In the suburbs of Washington, D.C. in a little town called Burtonsville, there exists a little Cuban restaurant called Cuba de Ayer.  It's located in a little strip shopping center, tucked behind a little liquor store, and you have to find your way to the little parking area out back.  But the flavors in the food are big, bold, and delicious and easily adapted to a paleo diet.  Meat, meat, and more meat!  Chicken, pork, beef, ham in a variety of Cuban dishes.  Yes, they all come with rice and beans, but I just ask to leave those off.  I do indulge in the tostones (fried plantains) which are lovely starchy rounds of crunchiness and perhaps a mojito.  But this post is not really about the restaurant.  It is about my latest meal there which is the title of this post - Masitas de Puerco - and my effort to reproduce that amazing dish at home.

The chunks of pork are marinated in garlic, onion, orange and lime juice (or sour orange), olive oil, cumin, oregano, and salt.  Marinate several hours or even overnight.  Then place the pork in some water and olive oil, until the water boils away. Brown the meat in the remaining oil until it becomes crispy brown on the outside (do not overcook).  Add onion slices, saute quickly.  Serve with plantains (tostones).  The recipe amounts are on the recipe page.

The meat is tender enough to break apart with a fork, tender and moist inside, crispy brown on the outside. What is not to love?  Masita means cookie or biscuit.  I have no idea why these are called cookies, except maybe the little portions of meat resemble them?  Not important really - they are just good and that's enough for me.  Want to see some pics?  Here they are!

The first picture is of the pork after marinating for several hours. 
Next up, the meat is simmered first, then fried until crispy.  Word of warning:  don't overdo this part or you will get dry chunks of meat.  This is a bit blurry from the steam...
Here's the final result with a little side salad of fresh greens, my own tomatoes, local cucumbers, and avocado.
Oh, and two more.  There was quite a bit of fat on this piece of pork and, while I love pork fat, it was a bit more than I wanted.  I fried up the bits of fat in a pan to make treats for the dog.  I have to admit I ate several and my husband came in from outside a bit later and ate a few more. The dog did get a few in the end.
Finally, what else to have with cuban pork than a mojito?  My daughter has become quite the bartender (if law school doesn't work out, I guess she has a backup).  Aren't these pretty?  She had to substitute tequila instead of rum because we don't keep a very well-stocked liquor cabinet, but these were good!
Recipe for pork on the recipe page!


  1. This looks really good - I cant wait to try this. Im going to try your chocolate gateau tonight - sounds delicious!

  2. Oh, that cake is delicious! Not really my recipe, but the blog it came from seems to have gone missing.