Slow Roasted Ancho Chile Rubbed Pork, Crispy Plantains and Garlic Confit
Yield: 4-6 servings as an entree
Prep: 30 minutes and overnight marinade | Cook: 3-4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours and overnight marinade
A fun alternative to a sunday roast of beef and potatoes, this Yucatan inspired pork dish with twice cooked plantains comes out of the oven falling apart like carnitas. Traditionally the pork is wrapped in banana leaves and buried underground, but wrapping with parchment and braising in a dutch oven also does the trick. Utilizing plantains while they’re still green and starchy like a potato lets them get extra crispy. When shopping for plantains, pick the green ones that look like they’re just starting to turn yellow: too green and they’re hard to peel, too yellow and they're too soft to fry.
- 2 ½ - 3 lbs boneless pork butt
- 1 orange
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 3 green plantains
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or lard for frying
- 16-18 garlic cloves, peeled
- ~¼ cup EVOO for the garlic confit
- ½ red onion for serving
For the marinade:
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp Ancho chili powder
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- Start by preparing the marinade for the pork to allow it to marinate overnight (~8-12 hours). Toast all of the spices (first four ingredients) on medium low heat in a saute pan until aromatic. Add the spices to a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Pass the marinate through a mesh strainer to catch any extra bits of cinnamon stick before pouring it into a large mixing bowl. Toss the pork in the bowl with the marinade until evenly coated and transfer the pork shoulder and excess marinade to a large plastic zipper bag. Refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Line a dutch oven with parchment paper and transfer the pork and any excess liquid into the dutch oven. Thinly slice the orange and the red onion and scatter over the top of the pork before covering with parchment. Place the lid on the top of the dutch oven and transfer to the 325°F oven for 3 ½ hours.
- While the pork is cooking, prepare the garlic confit. Bring a small pot of water up to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Allow the garlic cloves to boil for ~30 seconds before straining out and discarding the water. Repeat this process an additional two times. This triple blanch process removes the harshness from the garlic. Replace the garlic into the empty pot and cover the cloves with EVOO (~¼ cup). Simmer on a low heat for 2-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then set aside.
- Prepare the plantains by peeling them first - it will help to trim the top and bottoms off, then make a couple of slits along the length of the ridges with a small knife. Try to not cut into the plantain while scoring. Remove and discard the peels. Begin warming the frying oil (or lard) in a pan with tall edges and a flat bottom. Cut the plantains into ¾ inch thick rounds to prepare for the first round of frying. The first fry is more of an oil blanching to soften the plantains. The oil should be around 325°F. Fry the plantains, 8-12 pieces at a time, until softened (about one minute). Avoid any browning for this initial fry. Remove the plantains from the fry oil and transfer to a paper towel or resting rack lined tray. The next step is to smash the plantains; using a flat bottomed ramekin or coffee mug, gently smash the plantains into discs with rigid edges. If the plantains break apart, they’re not cooked enough, and if they turn to mush they have been overcooked. Work quickly and affirmatively with the ramekin for best results. Once all the plantains are smashed they are ready for the second fry. Try to time this last fry just before you’re ready to serve the pork. Turn the frying oil up a bit (about 375°F) and fry the smashed plantains in small batches until browned and crispy. You may need to add more oil/lard. Once fried, toss all of the crispy plantains in a large bowl with a spoonful of the garlic confit oil and a few pinches of salt. Keep in a warm place until served.
- To serve, remove the parchment and discard the orange and onion slices. Transfer the pork to a large serving dish lined with the plantains. Thinly slice the remaining half red onion and rinse under cold water. Sprinkle the onion slices over the top of the pork, then spoon the confit garlic cloves over the plantains and the pork.
Take a look at our recommended wine pairing for this recipe below.