Pernil al Horno
(Puerto Rican roast pork shoulder)
6 to 8 servings
- Pork shoulder or butt -- 4 to 6 pounds
- Olive oil -- 1/2 cup
- White or red wine vinegar -- 1/3 cup
- Garlic cloves -- 10 to 12
- Oregano -- 1 tablespoon
- Salt -- 1 tablespoon
- Pepper -- 2 teaspoons
- Flour -- 3 tablespoons
- Butter -- 3 tablespoons
- Water, stock, white wine or beer -- 1 1/2 cups
- Cut deep crosshatches in a diamond pattern in the fat covering the pork. Do not cut into the meat itself. Add the oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. This is your marinade, or adobo. Rub the pork all over with the marinade and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, turning occasionally. Before roasting, let the meat come to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator a half hour to hour before you put it in the oven.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. and place the roast, fat side down, in a roasting pan just large enough to fit it. Cover the pan with foil, place in the oven and roast for 1 hour.
- Remove the foil from the pan and carefully turn the roast fat side up. Place the roast, uncovered, back in the oven and roast for another 2 to 3 hours, or until the roast is very tender and well browned on the outside. Baste the meat with the accumulating pan juices from time to time. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast should read 165°F when it is done.
- Remove the roast to a cutting board, cover it lightly with foil and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes while you make the gravy.
- Knead the flour and butter together with your fingers to make a doughy paste and set aside in a small bowl. Strain the pan juices from the roasting pan and discard any fat that rises to the surface (there will be a fair amount). Add enough water, stock, wine or beer to the pan juices to make 2 cups.
- Bring the pan juices to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk small pieces of the butter-flour paste into the pan juices until the gravy is thickened to your liking. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Slice the roast thinly and serve with the pan gravy on the side.
Pernil al Horno Variations
- The adobo marinade is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. The blender or food processor are quicker.
- Instead of vinegar, use the juice of two sour oranges (naranjas agrias), or the juice of one orange and two limes.