This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Slow-roasted Mayan pork with garlic salsa

The Hungry Hounds is the food blog of Paul and Rebecca Shetler Fast, incoming Country Representatives for Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti.

Today marks our new daughter Madeline’s first full week outside the womb, and most aspects of our life have irreversibly changed. Cooking and eating together has been the one constant in this topsy turvy new world since we arrived home from the hospital. A food focus persisted during labor as I panted out a list of food requests in between contractions. Paul both remembered every request and has been cheerfully cooking up a storm this last week.

Yesterdays’ creation was a yeasty sugar rush of homemade cinnamon rolls, but the vast majority of my requests have been for roasted aromatic meats like this Slow-roasted Mayan pork with garlic salsa. This dish is a Paul invention, which means making use of some extraordinary homemade condiments (Xac spice mix and charred garlic salsa). The end result is transcendent.

Yield: Serves 6 as a main dish

• 3-4 pounds pork butt roast (bone-in preferred), trimmed of extra fat
• 1/4 cup xak spice mix (see below)
• 1 3/4 cups charred garlic salsa
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
Pickled red onions (for garnish)
• 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (for garnish)
• 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled or chopped (for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Liberally sprinkle xak spice mix over all sides of the roast, rubbing the spices into the meat.
3. Place the roast, fat side up, in the middle of a medium roasting pan or casserole. Slide the roasting dish into the oven, uncovered and roast for 1 hour, or until the meat is well browned.
4. Reduce heat to 350, cover, and bake for an additional 4 hours. The meat should be extraordinarily tender and easily fall apart with a fork. Remove from the oven.
5. Once the meat is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with a fork and discard any bone, excess fat or connective tissue.
6. Pour the garlic salsa and lime juice directly over the shredded pork and mix thoroughly to combine.
7. Serve immediately. We like ours topped with queso fresco, cilantro and pickled red onions. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Xac Spice Rub

• 8 inches whole Mexican cinnamon (canela)
• 2 1/2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
• 3 teaspoons whole allspice
• 3 teaspoons whole black pepper corns
• 2 teaspoons whole cloves
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
• 2 tablespoons kosher salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or food processor.
2. Grind to a fine powder.
3. Keeps well for up to 2 months in a sealed container, or up to 6 months if frozen.

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