Quick Cuban Pork with Spicy Black Beans

Amy writes:
I remember the first time I tried Cuban pork. Chris was living in Hartford at the time and we were dating. I used to drive down I-91 from Chicopee to visit, and our dates usually revolved around food (shocking, isn't it?). There was a restaurant across from the Trinity College campus called Timothy's that was in walkable distance from Chris's apartment. It was a quaint, charming place beloved by locals, particularly the college crowd, and we went there often. It was there that I fell in love with Cuban pork the first time I had it. The second time? Not so much, see, that was one of the problems with Timothy's - inconsistency. I wanted the Cuban pork to be exactly like the first time, and it never was...ever again. It disappointed me every time, and so I finally stopped ordering it and tried other things whenever we went there, but I never forgot that Cuban pork.

And last week I found myself thinking about it, once again. Timothy's has since closed, so it's not like we could even try it there, and we couldn't think of a place nearby that serves it. Not that it mattered. I was determined to recreate the dish in my own kitchen. Unfortunately, my lack of patience got the best of me this time. I wanted Cuban pork and I wanted it right then. We did not allow enough time for marinating, and we browned the pork on the stovetop rather than roasting it; therefore it was a bit dry. But it was a decent first attempt, flavorful and well-seasoned, and worked well for a quick weeknight dinner. What we did is below if you'd like to try it. But don't worry...we'll keep at it. The perfect Cuban pork will come to us. Let us know if you have any tips or suggestions.

Quick Cuban Pork

1 1/2-pound boneless pork tenderloin
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cut the pork tenderloin into strips lengthwise, then place in a large plastic bag. Place remaining ingredients (except olive oil) in plastic bag and marinate for two hours. Remove pork strips and discard remaining marinade. Put a large cast iron pan over high heat and brown the pork strips on all sides; remove from pan and place onto a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the cooked pork. Reheat the pan and add the olive oil. Add shredded pork to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes until meat is dark brown and slightly crispy. Serve with black beans (recipe below).

Strips of pork

Shredded pork

Spicy Black Beans

1 15.5-ounce can black beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and cook for 10-15 minutes.


Kate said...

This looks like a perfect dish to use a pork roast and roast it low and slow then shred. Any idea if that can be done? I love the flavor combination!!!

hmariek said...

This sounds amazing!! I like the fact that it is "quick" too. I usually slow cook mine all day and it seems so time consuming, that I rarely make it. Thanks!!

Lomo said...

The spices and pork combo sounds soooooo good. I think I just found my new dish for the next time I pick up pork tenderloin!

Lindesy@Lindselicious said...

Ooh I love cuban pork too. I had always assumed it was pork shoulder/butt. Maybe try that for more moistness? The marinade sounds great!

Jessica said...

This looks delicious! I love that you are cooking to bring back memories. Too bad the place has closed but I'm sure you are perfecting their recipe!

The Duo Dishes said...

Definitely some great flavors going in here!