Cuban-Inspired Mojo Pork

Pork is a favorite in my family. Whether it’s bacon, chops, ham, sausage or chicharones, pork is delicious. You can have it on sandwiches or on its own, sweet or savory, hot or cold, or however you feel like. No matter how I eat it, I love it tender, juicy, and flavorful.

Pork is a popular meat in Latin American dishes. Every Latin American family has their tried-and-true recipe for pernil, a delicious pork dish. This is a slow cooker version where the pork cooks at a low temp for the long daytime hours. When you come home, the smell of the pork will invite you in. I promise that your mouth will water and you might just eat it straight from the slow cooker.

Jump to the Equipment List. Jump to the Ingredient List. Jump to the Recipe Instructions.

I judge Mexican restaurants by how well they cook their pork. Is it tasty or bland? Is it tender, juicy, and moist or tough and dry? My husband laughs at me because I never fail to eat carnitas as a way of sussing out how good the restaurant is. If they don’t make a good pork dish, I won’t eat there again.

I developed this recipe because it was time for me to have my own pork recipe to pass along to my kids. This recipe is of the dump-and-go variety, which – if you don’t want to work too hard to have a good dinner on the table at the end of the day – is the way to go. Although, I strongly recommend that you do marinate the meat overnight. It’s worth the ten extra minutes to do that.

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

This recipe makes good work out of a pork shoulder. The shoulder is a tough cut of meat with a good amount of fat marbled throughout. Between the acidic nature of the juice and the low and slow method of cooking, the meat finally gives way and becomes tender and flavorful.

Equipment List:

  • 7-quart slow cooker
  • Slow cooker liner
  • Juicer (optional, but helpful)
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Tongs to handle the meat
  • 2 1-gallon freezer safe Ziploc bags

Ingredient List:

  • 3 pound pork shoulder
  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • Oranges (enough for about 1 cup of juice) (See Notes below)
  • Limes (enough for about 1/2 cup of juice)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves removed, peeled, and smashed with a knife
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
Most of the ingredients for the recipe.

Note: if you wanted to cheat, you could use bottled orange juice, but I found that the extra sugar throws the flavor off for me. It’s worth the work to squeeze the juice yourself. You could also use bottled lime juice, but the flavor profile is off in my opinion.

Recipe Instructions:

  • Night before: Mix the 1 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of lime juice, olive oil, oregano, and garlic in a two cup measuring cup.
  • Salt and pepper the pork shoulder. If the shoulder is folded over, make sure to salt and pepper inside the fold as well.
  • Place the pork shoulder in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag.
  • Pour the juice mixture into the bag with the pork.
  • Remove as much air as possible and massage the bag to distribute the juices all over the meat.
  • I recommend that you add the marinade back into another Ziploc bag, just in case the first bag doesn’t hold.
  • Place the bag into the fridge for at least one hour. Preferably, you can do this for six to eight hours. If you can, flip the bag at least once.
  • Slice your onions. (Sometimes I add those to the marinade and sometimes I don’t. I don’t think it makes a ton of difference either way.)
  • The next day, set up your slow cooker. I usually line my slow cooker with a plastic liner made for this, which makes clean up super easy.
  • Add the sliced onions to the bottom of the slow cooker. If they are in the marinade with the meat, don’t worry about this step.
  • Add the shoulder and turn it so that the fat cap is on top. You want the fat to render through the meat if possible. If you have garlic or onions stuck to the top, try to move them to the sides of the shoulder.
  • Add two bay leaves.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I meant to try this as part of a Cuban Sandwich, but ate it all before I had the chance! This pork was fork-tender and so juicy. The flavors of the citrus and garlic make me hum while I eat it. And, my kids really enjoyed this as well. My littlest one likes this pork with white rice and sweet corn. How do you like your Cuban Mojo Pork?

Thank you for sharing some of your screen time with me! If you liked this recipe, please hit the like button so I know to make more content like this. Tell me what you want me to try making next in the comments below. Also, check out my Facebook and Instagram (tag me at @cookwithsamib) for more photos and my Pinterest for what inspires me. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for updates when I hang new posts!

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Buen provecho! – Sami B.

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Dominican-Style Chicken Fricassee

I was born in New York City, daughter to Dominican parents. Our dinners mainly consisted of white rice, pinto beans, and some kind of meat with a green salad. Very simple, but very flavorful.  It’s a meal known as “La Bandera” (the flag).  

The rice was perfectly fluffy and salty.  The meat was juicy and tender.  The beans were a delicious sauce that brought it all together. I didn’t eat salad much growing up. I probably should have. I’m sure the coolness of the tomato and the lettuce works really well with the rest of the meal.

Chicken fricassee, also known as pollo guisado is the perfect recipe that hits all of these highlights.  It’s flavorful, forgiving for the average cook, and softens tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions just enough. Pollo guisado is generally done on the stove top and simmered until the chicken becomes fall off the bone tender. As soon as it was ready, you’d call your other half, kids, and the neighbor kids over for a nice meal and enjoy the deliciousness.

This recipe requires a little prep work, but you can skip searing the chicken to cut back on time when you need to get dinner on the table ASAP. Depending on how many batches of chicken you need to saute, you could save 6 minutes or more. When I made this recipe, I used nearly 4 pounds of chicken quarters which had to be seared one by one. Including the 25 minutes or so it took to do that, plus 10 minutes building pressure, 20 minutes at high pressure, and 15 minute natural pressure release, dinner was served in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Had I skipped searing, dinner would have been ready in 45 minutes.

Pollo guisado pairs nicely with my habichuelas guisadas, Jasmine rice, and a green salad. Read on for the recipe!

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

I love my Instant Pot. Mine is a 6 quart 7-in-1 multicooker that can saute, pressure cook, make yogurt, steam, cook eggs, among other things. I’ve had since 2016 when we bought our house and since then we bought a 3 quart and adopted another 6 quart. I love having multiple pots since I can cook so many things at once for meal prep or potlucks. If you haven’t purchased one, you should consider it!

Equipment List:

  • 6 Quart Instant Pot (I have a Duo 7-in-1)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Plate to hold the browned chicken
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tongs (to transfer the chicken)
  • 2-gallon zip top bags

Ingredient List:

  • 2 pounds of skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (I used chicken quarters)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small white onion sliced into strips
  • 4 plum tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and seeded
  • 1/4 cup pitted olives cut into halves with its juice (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 lime
  • Cilantro leaves chopped for garnish
Cast of characters for tonight’s recipe. Not pictured: olive oil and lime.

Recipe Instructions:

  • Mix the seasonings and set aside. (Note: the Adobo seasoning has plenty of salt, so no need for any in this recipe!)
  • Add the onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, olives with their juice, and garlic to a 2-gallon zip top bag. Set aside.
  • Prepare the chicken.  I wash my chicken, but you don’t have to.  Just be sure to pat it dry.
  • Add the chicken to the vegetable mix, include the seasoning and two tablespoons of olive oil and close the bag.
  • Thoroughly massage the bag to incorporate the chicken, vegetables, olive oil, and seasonings. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Decon all areas within ten feet of the raw chicken. Salmonella is no joke.
  • Set your Instant Pot to the sauté mode and press the adjust button to medium heat.  When the screen reads “HOT,” add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot.  (You may have to take the pot out and swirl the oil around due to the slightly curved bottom of the pot.)  Add the sugar and cook until caramelized – about two minutes. Watch to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn!
  • After a minute, brown the chicken on each side for about three minutes.  (Reserve the marinade.) After browning, place the chicken on another plate.
This is the color you’re looking for when searing the chicken.
  • Pour two tablespoons of water plus some of the marinade juice. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot, scraping up the browned bits to incorporate into the liquid.
  • Pour the remainder of the marinade into inner lining of the Instant Pot. Add the chicken on top, ensuring it’s in an even layer. 
  • Juice the like and pour it all over.
Look at that bed of delicious veggies and marinade!
The chicken, nestled on top of the veggie layer.
  • Lock the lid in place.  Set the knob to sealing.  Press the poultry button and set to 13 minutes at high pressure, if one layer, 20 minutes if you had to overlap meaty pieces.
  • After the Instant Pot completes the cooking cycle, let the pressure come down naturally for about 15 minutes then release any remaining pressure after that. 
  • Carefully remove the lid (make sure you keep away from the steam escaping!) and set aside. 
  • If you want, carefully remove the chicken and switch to saute mode to thicken the sauce.
  • Serve chicken over rice with a small bowl of stewed beans on the side.  I personally like the beans on the same plate, so I can get that perfect bite easily and every time!
  • Enjoy the savory flavors!
The finished plate. I smothered the chicken in the veggies, which added a nice pop of flavor.

What do you think of this recipe? I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! Give it a like, so I know to make more recipes like this.

Thank you for sharing some of your screen time with me! If you liked this recipe, please hit the like button so I know to make more content like this. Tell me what you want me to try making next in the comments below. Also, check out my Facebook and Instagram (tag me at @cookwithsamib) for more photos and my Pinterest for what inspires me. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for updates when I hang new posts!

Buen provecho! – Sami B.

Instant Pot Dominican Beans

Rice and beans with meat and a green salad was almost always on the dinner menu growing up. As the daughter of Dominican-born parents, it’s hard to imagine a childhood without it. It’s part of La Bandera, which is arroz con habichelas y pollo guisado – rice with beans and stewed chicken. It’s also cheap eats. A heaping serving of rice and beans with a green salad probably only costs about $2-$3 a person to make. Not bad if you’re trying to save some money.

Latin rice and beans is similar to New Orleans red beans and rice but with some distinct differences. Both the New Orleans-style recipe (check out my “Inspired” recipe here) and Dominican version cook over a low heat for hours, melding the flavors of the seasoning into the dish itself. Both dishes are typically served over rice and may or may not include meat. Dominican habichelas themselves do not contain meat. They are also not spicy.

My recipe below produces a delicious steamy bean stew that goes well over rice and your choice of meat. Check it out!

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links. If you use my link and purchase the item, I get a small commission (and it doesn’t cost you anything).

I love my Instant Pot. Mine is a 6 quart 7-in-1 multicooker that can saute, pressure cook, make yogurt, steam, cook eggs, among other things. I’ve had since 2016 when we bought our house and since then we bought a 3 quart and adopted another 6 quart. I love having multiple pots since I can cook so many things at once for meal prep or potlucks. If you haven’t purchased one, you should consider it!

Some of the cast of characters. Not pictured: chicken stock.
Pinto beans in water.
I always pre-soak my beans to soften them and remove any sugars that can cause digestive issues.

Equipment List:

  1. Instant Pot. I used my 3-quart for this recipe. You can easily double it but go for the 6 quart instead.* (See tips below.)
  2. Chef’s knife.
  3. Cutting board.
  4. Wooden spoon.
  5. Ladle for serving.
  6. Small bowl.
  7. Measuring spoons and cup.

Ingredients List:

  1. 1 pound of pre-soaked pinto beans (for this recipe, I pre-soaked 8 ounces’ worth of beans, which became about 1 pound after soaking).
  2. 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  3. 1 bunch cilantro.
  4. 1 green bell pepper.
  5. 4 cloves garlic.
  6. 1 white onion.
  7. 3 cups chicken stock or water.
  8. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  9. 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
  10. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: You can double this recipe, but keep in mind that you should keep the combination of ingredients lower than the 1/2 way mark on the pot. Beans foam and could clog the sealing valve.

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Pre-soak your beans. (Cover the beans with about an inch of water in a bowl and allow to soak overnight or for 8-10 hours. No need to add salt. Drain, rinse, then set aside.)
  2. Measure out the oregano and tomato paste, set aside.
  3. Wash half the bunch of cilantro and pat dry.
  4. Dice the green bell pepper, garlic, and white onion to make about a half cup.
  5. Rinse and pat dry the cilantro bunch. Keep it tied together.
  6. Set the Instant Pot to saute and more to adjust the heat level.
  7. Once the display reads “HOT,” pour in the vegetable oil.
  8. After a minute, sweat the bell pepper, garlic, and white onion in the hot oil. Sauté for about three minutes, taking care to not let the aromatics burn, but become translucent and fragrant instead.
  9. Stir in oregano.
  10. Pour in the beans.
  11. Stir in the tomato paste and quickly add the stock or water until the beans are covered by about 1/2 inch to an inch of liquid. (Note, don’t go over the 1/2 line!)
  12. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more if needed.
  13. Add in your bunch of cilantro on top.
  14. Close and lock the lid. Make sure the knob is set to sealing.
  15. Push the Bean/Chili button and adjust to 40 minutes at high pressure.
  16. After the cooking cycle, allow the pot to rest for about 10-15 minutes then carefully release any remaining pressure in the pot.
  17. Remove the bunch of cilantro. Discard.
  18. Stir the beans. With the back of a spoon, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot. This will naturally thicken the broth to your liking. Keep in mind that a little mashing goes a long way. You can quickly go from soupy to gloopy with too much mashing! You’re looking for the consistency of a thick barbecue sauce – not too runny, but not like molasses either.
  19. Serve over rice and with your choice of meat!
Nicely thickened and ready for some rice.
White rice, stewed beans, and chicken breast.
All that’s missing is a nice green salad.

I had mine a couple of days later with rice and chicken breast, both of which I made in my Instant Pots! Stewed beans are always better the next day and keep in the fridge for up to a week. They also freeze well and will keep in the freezer for 6 months to a year.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you did, let me know in the comments below. If you make stewed beans, let me know your recipe and what you like to have it with. Don’t forget to subscribe and if you have any suggestions for what I should learn to make next, let me know!

Join 57 other followers

Buen provecho! – Sami B.