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Aug 28, 2009 09:03 AM

Oregano for Cuban dishes

I will be making a Cuban pork roast with mojo this weekend. All the recipes call for dried oregano, but don't specify which kind. I'm curious as to what they use in Cuba. I've looked at buying oregano plants before and have become aware that there is a unique variety called Cuban oregano, Plectranthus amboinicus. It seems to be quite separate from Mediterranean oregano (Oreganum vulgare) and the common Mexican herb (Lippia graveolens.) Normally I would be such a zealot over authenticity, but considering the fact that there are only a few ingredients in mojo and that I've finally gotten around to using sour orange juice, I want to do it right.

What I have in the pantry are the Mexican and Italian varities. Which would you use?

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  1. I'm no authority on which variety is used in Cuba, but I am familiar with one type of so-called Cuban oregano. I was given a start of this about 20 years ago by neighbors who immigrated from Grenada, and they had smuggled a start of the plant into the US after one of their visits home. It is a kind of succulent, and you can break off a piece, stick it in dirt or water, and it will grow new roots and flourish. I have descendants of the original plant in various pots around the house, and have given away many starts. I was told to use it with chicken, but it also goes well with pork. It's pretty strong, so all I do is break off a leaf or two and mince it very fine. It does have an oregano-like flavor. The fleshy leaves of my plant are solid green, but when we lived in New Orleans I encountered a similar plant with varigated green/white leaves.

    1. Which did you use? I have a picnic roast marinating in sour orange juice and Mexican oregano right now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: heidipie

        Sorry for the tardiness. I used Mexican and was quite happy with the result. Hope your roast was delicious.

        Kitty, now I'm even more curious about Cuban oregano. When I have more room for a garden, I'm going to seek it out.