October is National Pork Month, which means you're likely to see your favorite foodie websites and bloggers getting high on the hog. Most Americans, after all, think of pork as "The Other White Meat." (This was the National Pork Board's slogan until three years ago when it was changed to "Be Inspired.")
Latinos, however, know that celebrating pork isn't just a one month gig. It's a lifelong commitment: a 24/7, holidays, wedding days, erryday affair that includes memories as varied as abuela's crisp-skinned Christmas pernil; streetside chicharrones plucked from boiling oil, dusted with salt, lime juice, or adobo, and popped directly into the mouth; family gatherings centered on the venerated caja china; and that classic of classics, tacos al pastor made by the neighborhood taquero who, given the opening, will tell you time and again that he invented the "off the spit" technique.
Whatever your memories, the fact that you're reading this means you like pork, and the fact that you like pork means you're always in the market for new ways to enjoy it. Lucky you! In honor of National Pork Month we've pulled together a few inventive recipes that will help you mix up your pork repetoire. As the slogan says: "Be inspired!"
1. Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al Pastor
The technique used in making this beloved pork dish was likely brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants, as it resembles that of shawarma. In this at-home-alternative recipe, pork is marinated in the traditional chiles and spices, and then cooked on a high heat grill for less than the time it takes to slice the pineapple for the trompo.
2. Pork and Cassava Stew (Estofado de Cerdo y Yuca)
Pork and Cassava Stew (Estofado de Cerdo y Yuca)
This Colombian estofado combines boneless pork marinated in scallion, garlic, and beer with tangy tomatoes, yuca, and carrots. Served on a bed of hot white rice that soaks up all the broth's piquant flavors, it's the perfect recipe for taking the chill out of fall.
3. Guacamole with Crispy Pork
Guacamole with Crispy Pork
This recipe is so good - seriously, just look at that picture! - that there's really nothing worth saying other than "yum."
So that's all we're saying.
One word: "yum."
4. Kimchee Fried Rice
Kimchee Fried Rice
Asian and Latin flavors combine to perfection in this nuevo version of a Korean classic. Created by chef-partner Jose Mendín of the Pubbelly Group, its modern spin on traditional fried rice makes it one of the most popular side dishes at the original Pubbelly restaurant in Miami's South Beach.
5. Cuban Pork & Black Beans
Cuban Pork & Black Beans
Do you love pork but lack the time and patience to stalk the grocery store in search of every powder, pepper, sauce, and spice needed to make a single Cuban meal? According to Holly Clegg, dubbed the "Queen of Quick" by fans of her food and lifestyle blog, this hearty meal captures the authentics flavors of Cuban cuisine using less than 10 ingredients. In fact, she says, they're "probably probably already in your kitchen."
6. Pork Pimentón Sliders
Pork Pimentón Sliders with Bacon Jam
This mouthwatering recipe was created as a companion dish to pair with Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec. The smoky, char flavor of the slow-grilled pork balaces the full-bodied wine, and pimentón adds an extra layer of seasoning and Latin sabor to each bite.
7. Ecuadorian Pork, Hominy, and Peanut Soup
Ecuadorian Pork, Hominy, and Peanut Soup
In Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city, locals celebrate Carnaval with a steaming bowl of Mote Pata, a hearty soup made of pork, hominy (mote) and peanuts.
8. Chocolate Chile Glazed Pork
Chocolate Chile Glazed Pork
Chocolate and chiles are two of Latin America's most ubiquitous ingredients. Here, they make a sweet and savory glaze for baked pork belly.
Again, one word: "yum."