Swine is fine…..

This saying always makes me laugh and as my dear roommate Rhonda used to say “I eat pork with a fork.”

Pork is a huge part of the Puerto Rican culture.  Here in New York the street food is hot dogs and pretzels. In Puerto Rico on any given road there are people selling “frituras y pernil” Fried food and pork shoulder.  You can not mention pernil to me without seeing my eyes twinkle and mouth water.  Last night I went to a cuban restaurant here in New York.  They say some chefs will make their cooks make an omelette to test their cooking skills, the simplest things may be difficult.  So much in that fashion when i go to a Caribbean Hispanic restaurant I eat pernil.  If thats good I return and try paella, if thats good then I try other dishes that are not so common.  The pernil last night was not good despite the menu description “from our owner’s mother’s recipe.”  So here is mine! 🙂  I hope this pernil recipe makes your house warm and belly feel the joy of love.

Mis En Place-
1 Pork shoulder
1 whole garlic
3 Lemons
Fresh cilantro
This pernil was about 5 lbs.  It fed my family of 5 for Thanksgiving.  First I rinsed it off with warm water and patted it dry.  Place in the pan that you will use to cook.  The skin of this cut of pork will melt slowly and prevent it from sticking to the pan so no oil is necessary.  After patting the meat dry I rubbed it generously with sofrito, sazon and adobo.  Try not to use too much adobo you want to taste the flavor of the pork itself.  Using a paring knife poke small holes into the pernil and insert whole garlic cloves all around.  Juice the lemons and chop fresh cilantro into it.  Pour this liquid over the pernil.  To add extra flavor I rub this under the skin by lifting it carefully so it doesn’t completely peel off of the meat.
Cover the pan in foil and place in the oven at 250.  This allows the pernil to cook low and slow and in its own juices.  Cooking time is about 4 hours.  You will see a lot of liquid in the pan.  Basting is not necessary but will add more flavor.  About 3 hours in take off the foil and allow the skin to crisp and brown.  Once cooked cut up the pernil and serve with fresh slices of lemon.  🙂