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~ Citrusy, Garlicky & Herbaceous: Cuban-Style Mojo ~

IMG_4836My experiences with Cuban food, all good ones, are limited to a few trips to Miami. "Mojo (MOH-hoh)" means "sauce" in Spanish, and, throughout the Caribbean, depending on where you are in the Caribbean, this sauce, from place to place, is very different.  In Cuban cooking, it's a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, fresh cilantro, mint and oregano leaves, cumin and Seville (bitter/sour) orange juice.  Thanks to great recipes in the seven Cuban cookbooks I purchased in Florida, I've very-happily been able to bring the unique taste of Cuban spice into my home kitchen:

IMG_4812Mojo is a common marinade for Cuban-style pulled pork, pork roast, pork chops and other meats. Once you've finished marinating the meat, you simmer the marinade on the stovetop, then serve it with or atop the meat.   That said, not all recipes require marination.  Some simply require mojo.

IMG_4666To make 1 cup of Cuban mojo (which can be made ahead, stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the microwave or  stovetop), to use in any Cuban recipe that requires mojo for dipping or drizzling:

1  cup diced yellow or sweet onion + 2  tablespoons olive oil (not pictured in this photo)

6  tablespoons olive oil

6  tablespoons orange juice  

1/4  cup  lime juice

1/2  cup minced, fresh cilantro

IMG_48312  tablespoons minced, fresh mint

1  tablespoon minced, fresh oregano, no woody stems

4  large garlic cloves, run through a press 

2  teaspoons ground cumin

1/4  teaspoon dried Mediterranean oregano leaves

1/2  teaspoon each:  fine sea salt and coarse-grind black pepper

~ Step 1.  In a small bowl stir together the 6 tablespoons oil, citrus juices,  minced fresh herbs, pressed garlic and dried spices.

IMG_4731 IMG_4732 IMG_4739 IMG_4743~Step 2.  In 1 1/2-2-quart saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until it's beginning to caramelize, 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly during the last 3-4 minutes to prevent scorching.  Add the olive oil/citrus juice mixture.  Adjust heat to a steady, rapid simmer and continue to cook, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Serve atop Mojo-Marinated Cuban-Style Pulled Pork Shoulder:

IMG_4783Side-Dish -- Cuban-Style Mojo Black Beans & Rice:

IMG_4823Citrusy, Garlicky & Herbaceous:  Cuban-Style Mojo:  Recipe yields about 1 cup.  Double, triple or quadruple the recipe without fail or compromise (just use an appropriate-sized saucepan).

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; citrus juicer; garlic press; 1 1/2-2-quart saucepan; large spoon

IMG_7003Cook's Note:  The Carolinas hold a unique position in terms of Southern barbecue because theirs is believed to be the oldest form of American barbecue.  For a period of time I had family who lived in both North and South Carolina, so I became familiar with "their many styles" of pulled pork.  There's more.  No two cooks make their sauce the same and everybody is a critic.  ~ My Carolina-Style Pulled-Pork BBQ (Oven Method) ~ is:  my recipe, the way I like it.  It's been tailgate tested and tailgate accoladed too.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017) 


Marilyn -- HaHa -- I try not to think about it too much. The parsley, sage, thyme, mint and oregano come back every year. Joe brings our rosemary into the heated garage in a giant pot and puts it by a big window. If I manage to use up the basil, which is my favorite, I consider it a victory. Oh, yea --my hubs doesn't like pesto -- go figure. We're a chimichurri kinda family. ~ Mel

Mel, the herbs and seasonings in this dish begs the question. At the end of the growing season, what do you do with all the fresh herbs from your garden.
I made basil pesto and parsley/oregano pesto. I poured it into ice cube trays and then portion them into zip lock bags to add to soups, pasta, etc.
Perhaps Joe does the herb growing! I'm intrigued!
Your thoughts.

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