I want to share a recipe for an easier version of hornado de chancho or slow roasted pork, that can be made for a smaller dinner party or small family celebration – or just because you’re craving it. This easy version of hornado can made with a smaller cut of pork and requires less marinating/less roasting time. I used a pork shoulder that was a still a decent size at, but you can also make it with a pork loin, as long as you’re willing to give up the crispy pork skin.
Ecuadorian hornado de chancho usually means a whole roasted pig, which are commonly found in the mercados or markets in the Andean highland cities. Most people go out to a restaurant to eat hornado, but will make it at home for holidays or special events. It’s a great dish for Christmas/New Year’s or even for Thanksgiving if you want to incorporate Latin flavors to the meal. This pork dish is traditionally made by marinating the pork in chicha, a fermented corn drink, for several days and then baking the pork in a wood burning clay oven. I’m still dreaming of the day that I will have my own outdoor clay oven so that I can cook a whole roasted pig. In the meantime, I make hornado de pierna de chancho or roasted pork leg at least once a year – usually for New Year’s Day lunch. I’ve already shared the recipe for the roasted pork leg, however the recipe is for a large piece of meat (20+ pounds), and the preparation involves several days of marinating, so for a special occasion or party with a lot of people I recommend trying the whole leg.
The crispy pork skin, called cascaritas or cueritos in Ecuador, are also a delicious part of this dish. You will get more if you make the roasted pork leg; however the pork shoulder still has some skin on it. In Ecuador, one of the things they do to get the skin crispy is to sprinkle it with cold water during the last minutes of roasting it. Some people also use blow torches to torch the skin until blackened, and then use a sharp knife to scrape off the blackened part to reveal a yummy crispy skin. You can either turn on the broiler during the last minutes to get the skin crispy, and the scrape the blackened/almost burnt parts of with a sharp knife. Another way to get the skin extra crispy is to cut the skin off, and removed the layer of fat, then place the skin only under the broiler (or use a blow torch) until crispy.
Ecuadorian hornado can be served with a variety of side dishes; some of the most popular side dishes are llapingachos or potato patties, mote or hominy corn, fried ripe plantains, avocado slices, a tomato and onion salsa called curtido, and a tangy vinaigrette sauce called agrio. For additional spice serve some aji criollo or Ecuadorian spicy salsa on the side. Boiled yuca or cassava and Ecuadorian style rice are also good side dishes. The hominy can be served plain or you can also use some of the juices from the hornado to sauté it and make mote refrito en salsa de hornado. When I make hornado at home I like to add whole potatoes during the last hour of roasting, the potatoes cooked in the hornado sauce and make the best baked potatoes ever. Even if you are using a small roasting pan, you can still make them by removing the pork meat after it is done and roasting the potatoes while the roasted pork rests.
Hornado de chancho is a slow roasted pork dish cooked in a marinade of beer or chicha, garlic, cumin and achiote or annatto.
- 6-10 pound pork shoulder (for about 10-15 people)
- Juice of 3 limes
- 20-30 garlic cloves, crushed or whole if you have a mini-food processor
- 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
- 1 ½ tablespoons of salt
- ½ tablespoon of ground pepper
- 3 cups of beer for marinating and 1-2 cups of beer for baking (or chicha if you can find it)
- 6 ounces of butter (1 ½ sticks) or lard
- 2 tablespoons of ground achiote or annatto seed
- Optional: 8-10 medium sized potatoes, whole or cut in half
- Mix and match according to your preference: Mote or hominy, llapingachos and/or potatoes roasted with hornado, Ecuadorian style rice, fried ripe plantains, tomato and onion curtido, agrio sauce, and aji criollo
- Place the pork shoulder in a large bowl for marinating (make sure it will fit in the fridge).
- Pour the lime juice over the pork.
- Prepare the marinade by mixing the garlic, ground cumin, salt and pepper in a mini-food processor. You can also crush the garlic with a press and mix with the cumin, salt & pepper.
- Make several deep incisions on both sides of pork shoulder and begin stuffing the incisions with the garlic cumin marinade, also rub it all over the meat. Pour the 3 cups of beer over the pork shoulder and let it rest overnight the fridge. If you have time you can let it rest 24 hours, if not overnight is fine.
- Turn the pork shoulder over every 8-12 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 400F (200C) and place the pork shoulder or pork loin (with the marinade sauce) in a baking pan, with the skin side up, make sure it is deep enough to allow room for the marinade and also a little extra room to add the potatoes later on.
- Bake the pork at 400F for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a small saucepan, melt a stick of butter on low heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of the ground achiote and mix well.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350F and pour the melted butter mix over the pork.
- To keep the pork from drying out you will need to baste or bathe the meat using a ladle with the pan sauces about every 20-30 minutes.
- Continue baking at 350F and basting the meat with liquid for about 1 ½ hours. Then lower the oven temperature to 325F.
- The pan sauces will be reduced at this point, so melt the remaining ½ butter stick on low heat, mix in 2 cups of beer plus the remaining 1 tablespoon of ground achiote, and let it get hot but not boil. Use the mix as needed to keep the pork moist.
- Continue baking and bathing for another 1 ½ hour. At this point you can add the whole or cut in half potatoes. Let the potatoes and pork bake for about another hour.
- Total roasting time should be around 4 ½ hours for an 8-10 pound pork shoulder, or about 25-30 minutes per pound, internal temperature should be 160.
- Before removing the pork from the oven, sprinkle cold water on the skin for it to pop –this might not work with a smaller piece of pork. If this doesn’t work, then you can turn the broiler on for a few minutes to help the skin get crispy. Or alternatively, after carving the meat, remove the skin, and scrape off the fat from underneath. Then cut the skin into medium size pieces and put them under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes or until they get crispy and start to pop (when they pop they squirt oil so just a warning).
- Serve the pork with mote or hominy (plain or sautéed with the hornado gravy), the potatoes that were baked with the pork or llapingachos potato patties, tomato and onion curtido salsa, agrio sauce, avocado slices and aji criollo.