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ideas for non-traditional sides with pernil

Hi Chowhounders,

I'm a financially strained phd student who wants to have six or seven other people over for a celebratory dinner. I have done this for the past two years, and both times have made pernil with the traditional sides: rice, black beans, and maduros (sweet plantains). Also a salad and a more traditional American dessert. I started this because I missed the pernil lunches I'd get from Dominican restaurants when I worked in NYC, but am now hooked on the pork shoulder idea because it's such an inexpensive way to make a delicious meal for a large group.

However, I'd like to switch things up this year and make some less traditional sides -- mostly things that might have more unusual flavor combinations. For example, for dessert I'm thinking about doing a lemon-poppy-chèvre cheesecake with rhubarb compote -- and would love sides that are in this vein, but would compliment the pernil. I've tried to search for menus at fancy restaurants that might serve pernil with something aside from the traditional sides to no avail, so I thought I'd ask for suggestions here. Also open to doing something else with the pork shoulder aside from pernil, though I only have access to an over and a four burner stovetop.

There are no dietary restrictions, but I'd love to keep to a decently low budget -- probably looking for one vegetable and one starch? I have access to a wide variety of Latin American produce (from the same store where I'll get the pork shoulder), a good Asian supermarket (kind of far away but I'll go if I have to) and also Whole Foods.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. You could take it in a southern direction with collards and cornbread. Or you could use the pork shoulder to make mock porchetta instead of pernil. Here are some ideas for what to serve with porchetta. http://food52.com/hotline/6612-side-d... and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871320

    1. You could also do a bo ssam instead of pernil, and either do the traditional sides or choose a more Asian-fusion or pan-Asian approach.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/mag...

      7 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        DROOL. this looks so good, and I'm thrilled to read about this idea. A friend is now bringing ceviche as an appetizer so I think I'm going to stick with Latin/New American flavors, but...I don't know...there is definitely a 40% chance that I will just switch to this! Thanks for the suggestion! If I don't make it this time I DEFINITELY will the next time.

        1. re: stephaniet

          Here's an older thread discussin' the dish. There's some solid 'hounding goin' on to help you whenever you decide to make it.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754632

          1. re: stephaniet

            Have her make her ceviche with an Asian twist (lime juice, fish sauce, Thai basil, chopped red bell pepper and a little red or green curry paste instead of the usual Mexican ingredients) and you'll be all set for a pan-Asian bo ssam feast!!!!

            1. re: biondanonima

              That sounds awesome! But she's from Ecaudor, so I don't really feel comfortable telling her not to bring the dish she knows how to make quite well. Plus she volunteered to bring it, so I wouldn't feel comfortable dictating. But maybe if I give a preview of the Asian-version to come, she might have this idea on her own? :) (I could play up her half-east Asian heritage, ha)

              1. re: biondanonima

                And could be served with a green mango/green papaya slaw/salad! (Mostly making notes here for meal #2 :))

                To be honest my hesitation on the bo ssam (aside from telling my Ecuadorian friend to make Asian flavored ceviche, ha) is that I don't want to do a "do it yourself" meal, but rather something plate-able/a bit more fancy. I get that the bo ssam would be really special in its own way, but we all so rarely get to eat out at fancy restaurants that I wanted to do something more along those lines (plated food) for my friends.

                Hence wanting to make the side dishes a bit fancier rather than "homestyle" or "traditional." (No mofongo, no yucca, no plain potatoes -- flavors on all of these are too muted, and generally they are way starchier than what I'm imagining.)

                1. re: stephaniet

                  Makes perfect sense. I think the idea of making tostones "cups" for the ceviche would be beautiful, then - or you could serve it in a half an avocado. You might try gussying up the sweet plantains by making a mashed version with rum and cinnamon and then piping them and rebaking for a "duchess potato" style presentation. As for the rice - what about risotto? With roasted bell peppers or poblanos, maybe? You could serve it as a second course, after the ceviche, and then have your sweet plantains and maybe another vegetable with the pernil itself.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    YES! now we are talking! :) great ideas!

          2. Morro y Yuca. Traditional, inexpensive, nutritious.

            1. Suggested sides for this Ecuadorian version of pernil
              http://laylita.com/recipes/2008/03/12...
              Side dishes: Whole potatoes sauteed in butter, pickled onions, fried ripe plantains and tree tomato hot sauce.

              1. Gai Lan - chinese broccoli - sauteed and finished with a bit of oyster sauce and sesame oil; maybe a splash of vinegar. The slight bitterness is a good foil for the rich pork.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sbp

                  Not sure about these flavors with the pernil, but I think a hearty green like chinese broccoli would go great. I'm now thinking about doing a mashed sweet plantain, hopefully with some kind of dynamic flavor in it (horseradish? chipotle? need to think about this!), and yeah..a hearty green would go nicely. I wonder if there are recipes/ideas for less traditional preparations for gai lan.