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Nov 12, 2009 02:10 PM

Help needed wiith a Cuban pork recipe

I just make a Cuban pork reicpe which called for marinating cubed pork meat in lots of garlic, cumin, oregano, orange zest and juice, lime juice, chile powder and pepper. I've cooked it in a crock pot for 4 hours, and while the meat is very tender, the sauce is rather bitter.. How can I doctor this up?

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  1. Make sure you are only getting the zest of the orange and not the white pith, that can be very bitter. Also do not add the pepper until the dish is done, black pepper gets bitter if it is cooked for a long time. This is why a lot of places add cracked black pepper at the table. If that still doesn't work, try adding a little bit of sugar. Good luck, let me know if this helps!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jessica Laurel

      Oh and I have noticed that fresh oregano gets slightly bitter as well. Are you using fresh or dried? I don't usually recommend dried over fresh but I make an exception for this.

    2. My mother makes this dish all the time, although she has never used orange zest or orange juice. What she does use is called "sour orange";

      Adding any type of zest to a slow cooker is a bad idea, but don't be afraid to make this dish again without the orange! Also, chile powder is *not* Cuban. I would suggest making this dish in a pressure cooker in half the time, with the same tender results :


      As for helping this dish *now*, I'd say add some sugar!

      1 Reply
      1. re: sta12s

        Sour Orange juice is hard to find where I am. I use 2 parts oj to 1 part lime juice.

        To the OP, I would use juice over zest especially if you're cooking it for a long period of time. I would strain the sauce, separate the grease and then let the sauce reduce, possible adding some sugar. Or you could saute some onion & garlic, add a spoonful of tomato sauce, bay leaf, add the pan drippings, and reduce, then season to taste. Then add in some shredded pork. Sort of a pork based Ropa Vieja.
        I don't see any reason to waste the pork if it's just the sauce that is bitter. There are alot of things you can do with leftover pork. Fry up the chunks of pork in some lard, letting the outside get nice and crisp while the inside is tender.

      2. I'd use a little brown sugar instead of granulated as brown is more mellow and will balance out the bitterness better. JMO

        3 Replies
        1. re: Cherylptw

          I tried some sugar and while it did sweeten the sauce, it still had a bitter edge to it. I had another idea of draining all the sauce from the meat and making another tomato based sauce with garlic, onions, tomatoes, green olives and raisins - kind of a mock picadillo. I hate to waste at least 2 lbs. of pork.

          1. re: MARISKANY

            Rise it and use the meat. Make pulled pork sandwiches, Cubanos, whatever. Unless the meat itself is unbearably bitter from cooking in the sauce, it needn't go to waste.

            p.s. sorry your sauce didn't turn out. with all the work that went into it, you must have been anticipating something great. next time!

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              I rinsed the meat and made a kind of picadillo sauce with onions, garlic, crushed tomatoes, oregano, green olives, capers, raisins and 2 chipotles in adobo sauce. It was a hit and I have only a small portion left for tonight's dinner. I think what helped is making a spicy sauce that covered any bitterness left in the meat.