Pulled Pork/Pear Empanadas with Cilantro Mojo

Pulled Pork/Pear Empanadas with Cilantro Mojo

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Credit: Carmen Gonzalez, Culinary Consultant, former Chef/Owner, Carmen the Restaurant, Miami
The National Culinary Review, November/December 2011


3 lbs. boneless pork butt or pork shoulder
3 T. dried oregano
½ bunch fresh rosemary
10 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ cup + 2 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. vegetable oil + more, as needed for frying
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
4 Anjou pears, ¼-inch dice
1 medium Vidalia (or other sweet) onion, ¼-inch dice
1 Scotch Bonnet or habañero chile pepper, finely minced
1 t. sherry wine vinegar
A few drops fresh lemon juice
La Saltena empanada shells


1. Put pork in roasting pan, fat side up. Combine oregano, rosemary, garlic and ½ cup extra virgin olive oil in small bowl; rub all over pork, using pressure to adhere. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours. An hour before roasting, remove from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. For mop: Combine apple cider vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and 2 t. vegetable oil in bowl.

3. Season pork with salt and freshly ground black pepper; cover with aluminum foil. Put roasting pan in middle of preheated oven; cook until meat thermometer inserted in center or thickest part of meat registers 165°F, turning pan and brushing pork with mop every 20 minutes, about 90 minutes total. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.

4. For mojo: Saute minced garlic to soften slightly. Add cilantro, lemon juice and remaining 2 T. extra virgin olive oil. When cool enough to handle, shred meat; pour pan juices and mojo over shredded meat.

5. Put sugar in nonreactive saute pan; heat gently to dissolve. Just as sugar begins to color slightly, add pear and onion; raise heat, toss to coat. Continue cooking another few minutes, until pear and onion are soft and golden-brown. Remove from heat; add minced chile pepper, sherry wine vinegar and fresh lemon juice. Toss to combine; set aside to cool.

6. Add 4 cups pulled pork and mojo to caramelized pear; stir to combine. Put 2 T. (heaping) filling in middle of empanada shell near bottom. Lightly moisten edges of shell all the way around. Fold top over contents to make semicircle; crimp edges. Finish empanadas by deepfrying in 350°F vegetable oil until goldenbrown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel. Serve warm.


30 large or 60 small empanadas


Appetizer, Main Dish, Pork, The National Culinary Review

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