Do you like Garlic Pork but quiver at the thought of its aggressive acidity? What about the intimidation of making Garlic Pork – pickling raw meat and praying that you do not make yourself or anyone else sick with botulism? We’ve all had those fears at one time or another. This holiday, it’s all about cooking from the Tastes Like Home archives, and I am sharing with you a recipe I call Garlicky Pork – it has all the flavour of traditional Garlic Pork but almost none of the tartness to make you pucker up or cringe.
Holiday cooking is all about planning ahead, and this recipe is no exception. You can serve it on Christmas morning along with ham, eggs and Pepperpot. Or, make it a part of the feast for Christmas lunch or Christmas dinner. Cutters – savoury bite-size meat snacks – are a must-have and highly prized when entertaining; this Garlicky Pork will fit right in! Got leftovers? Toss the meat into a food processor along with some mayonnaise and hot pepper sauce and turn it into a meat spread to slather on your bread or rolls for a great tasting sandwich. Or, spread it on salt biscuits for a snack.
On occasion, I have used this Garlicky Pork to make fried rice; and I’ve fried the meat crisp and pounded it with fried green plantains to make Mofongo – a Puerto Rican dish of fried and mashed green plantains. I am salivating at the thought of it. So good!
The key to this recipe of is to let the meat marinate at least overnight; a full 24-hour period is ideal so that the seasonings can really penetrate the meat. One of the things that we love so much about Garlic Pork is its deep rich flavour, therefore, do not skimp on the marinating time for this twist on a favourite.
For this recipe, I would recommend using boneless pork shoulder because it has the right ratio of fat to meat and can stand up to the marinating process as well as the two-step cooking. Leg pork would make the meat dry. Another cut that can be used is pork belly/pork flap.
Make this Garlicky Pork this holiday and watch it disappear.
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2-inch pieces
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 4 packed tablespoons Guyanese fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoons chopped garlic
- Hot pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- 4 cups tap water
- Vegetable oil
1. Rinse and pat meat dry and set aside.
2. Grind the following ingredients to a paste – onions, thyme, garlic and pepper. Add
to the pork along with the lime/lemon juice and salt to taste. Mix well and transfer to a zip bag or container with an airtight cover and refrigerate to marinate overnight; preferably 24 hours.
3. Remove meat from fridge and bring to room temperature before cooking.
4. Empty the bag with the seasoned meat and its juices into a pot along with 4 cups of water, cover tightly and bring to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until meat is fork tender but not falling apart. Remove lid, raise heat to high and cook until all the liquid dries out.
5. Transfer the cooked meat to a sheet pan or large platter, placing the meat a couple of inches apart, to cool and air dry (this step is important for the meat to form a crisp crust when pan-seared).
6, Drizzle oil to coat the bottom of a heavy skillet such as a cast iron and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmers, working in batches, fry the meat until the outside is brown and crusty. Turn the meat to brown on both sides.
7. Repeat until all the meat is cooked.
8. Serve hot or at room temperature.
● A pressure cooker makes easy work of cooking the meat at direction # 4. You will need only 1 ½ cups of water. When the pot comes up to pressure, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 – 20 minutes only. Then continue on with directions in # 4 – release pressure, remove lid etc.
● To scale up the recipe, simply double the ingredients.