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I love books of all kinds, but cookbooks and YA badass heroines are my weaknesses. Getting a new cookbook and reading it from cover to cover is always a delight. I got The Cuban Table awhile ago, but kept putting off committing to a recipe.

I can’t remember what triggered my need for Cuban food, but this pork roast instantly called to me when I was looking for a good Sunday dinner. (Cautionary tale: I skimmed the recipe and didn’t notice the overnight marination until too late…so it became a Monday dinner .)

The marinade is straightforward, but I wanted to make it a little easier so I used storebought Mojo and doctored it with the juice of one blood orange. You can substitute half orange juice/half lime juice for the blood orange, but they are becoming more common at the grocery store. (These oranges have a beautiful red interior and contribute color as well as flavor.) Made the prep very simple.

bloodorangeMonday morning, I drained the pork butt, placed it in the Dutch Oven, and put it in a 250 degree oven, and left for work (about 8 a.m.)

(For those concerned about leaving the oven on unattended, here is a detailed article on the pros and cons.)

The reveal at 6 p.m. was pretty impressive and my house smelled like citrusy porky goodness. I took of the lid and broiled the roast, which resulted in a gorgeous crackly crust on the top. I really wish I could share the smell with you. Drool!

The bone came right out, the meat was succulent and silky, the crispy top added the perfect crunch to balance the meat.

The absolute icing on the cake was the Mojo Criolla, which I made as suggested as the finishing sauce.

Fresh oregano, orange/lime/blood orange juice and garlic are combined, and then separately, lard heated up. It is very dramatic as you pour the hot lard into the juice mixture with lots of popping and bubbling as it cooks the garlic and oregano.

My black bean recipe starts by sautéeing onions, carrots and garlic, then adding two cans of rinsed black beans and enough stock to almost cover, simmer for an hour. I also like to reserve some diced onions and place them in a little lime juice to use as a topping for my beans.

This recipe was relatively simple, but really delicious. And I was lucky that blood oranges were available, they added a nice sweet/sour flavor and color.

This entire cookbook is gorgeous, and after the success of this Lechon Asado, I am looking forward to diving into the rest of the recipes.

The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez; Photography by Ellen Silverman