Thursday, January 2, 2014

Monteria Cubana - Roast Pork in Cuban Criollo Sauce


Monteria ( pronounced "moan-teh-ree-ah") is a dish from the area of Cuba known as Camaguey.  It's east of the town my mom grew up in, Camajuani. Monteria is Cuban country food, farmer's food, peasant food, whatever you want to call it. Traditionally, this is made on December 25 and January 1st, the days after Christmas and New Year's Eve, when, again, traditionally a whole roast pig is made to celebrate. The day after the celebration all the remaining parts of the pig, (head, feet, visceral parts, skin etc) are used to make Monteria. Now, hold on, don't click off the page, we aren't using pig head or feet for this recipe, I am just sharing the origins.  What we are using is left over Cuban roast pork, that is cooked in onion, peppers, garlic, seasoned with oregano and cumin. It is then simmered with raisin, olives, capers and a tomato-y "vino seco" sauce.  The results are out of this world delicious. This is how my mom made it and one of the dishes The Hub always looked forward to after the holidays.  He would always ask my mom if she was going to make it, he could never remember the name but she knew exactly what dish he was describing. For many years after my mom passed away, I never made it, then one year after the holidays, I had a good amount of roast pork left over and I surprised The Hub by making it just for him.  He, of course, gobbled it down, and he loved it because it reminded him of all the times she would make it just for him. My mom spoiled my husband (a.k.a. The Hub) rotten... seriously she did! If he wanted a particular meal all he had to do was half mention it and the next day she was at the door, meal in hand. They had a great relationship, something I know is pretty rare, and I am always thankful for. And because of this, I am dedicating this recipe to my mom and the Hub.  Cheers!

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds of cooked Cuban roast pork, medium dice
1 tablespoon olive oil or pork lard
2 large onions, medium dice
2 bells peppers (any color) medium dice
1/4 cup minced garlic
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 to 1 cup juice from pork roast*
1 generous teaspoon cumin
1 generous teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 - 1/2 cup green olives, plus 2 tablespoons brine
1/4 cup non-perils capers
1 cup vino seco* (no salt added)
2 tablespoons sour orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 generous palm full Italian parsley, chopped

Heat pan over medium heat, add oil or lard, onions, peppers and garlic. Saute, stirring often for 5 minutes or until onions become soft and translucent. Stir in tomato paste and once incorporated into vegetable mixture, gently stir in roast pork. Pour in pork juices, stir gently and then add remaining ingredients, except parsley. Allow to come to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Before serving stir in parsley.

Serve over white rice, along with sweet fried plantains. Enjoy!

*Recipe Notes:
If you don't have pork juices from the roast, you can use chicken stock or if you have it ... pork stock.
Vino Seco is a Cuban cooking wine.  Normally I never use cooking wine but there is something that Vino Seco adds to the flavor that just can't be duplicated by white wine.  I buy the Spanish brand ArtaƱan because they make a "no salt" version  It's a bit pricey but I think worth it. However, if you can't find it at your local grocery store, then by all means use a dry white wine or sherry.


  1. Beautiful recipe Jackie! We enjoyed the story as well. Very rare such a relationship you mention indeed:) This recipe, is actually very similar to Mediterranean recipes. We loved it. Great photo too!
    Have a Great, Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Little Cooking Tips! Seems like a lot of the Hispanic/Spanish recipes I post have a similarity to Mediterranean recipes ... I really like that!
      Wishing you the best in 2014! ¡Salud!