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Pernot's Tamales Cubano with Sun-Dried Cherry Mojo
© Gentl & Hyers

Pernot's Tamales Cubano with Sun-Dried Cherry Mojo


pork tamales

  1. 1 1/4 pounds trimmed boneless fresh pork shoulder or butt
  2. 2 1/2 cups water
  3. 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium broth
  4. 1 medium onion, quartered
  5. 1 medium carrot, quartered
  6. 1 medium celery rib, quartered
  7. 1 bay leaf
  8. Salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  10. 1/4 cup milk
  11. 3/4 cup coarse cornmeal (about 4 ounces)
  12. 1/3 cup masa harina
  13. 1/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening
  14. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  15. 2 tablespoons shredded culentro (see Note) or 3 tablespoons shredded cilantro

cherry mojo

  1. 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  2. 1/2 cup cherry juice or mixed-berry juice
  3. 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  4. 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  5. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  6. 1/4 cup olive oil
  7. 1/2 cup dried cherries
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. 1 large bunch of watercress, large stems removed
  2. 3 scallions, cut into 1 1/2 -inch long julienne
  3. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. MAKE THE SALAD In a medium saucepan, cover the pork with the water and Chicken Stock. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, skimming occasionally, until the meat is very tender when pierced with a knife, about 2 1/4 hours. Transfer the meat to a plate and let cool completely, then coarsely shred with 2 forks. Strain the stock and refrigerate until chilled; discard the vegetables. Discard the fat from the stock and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the pork stock and milk to a simmer. Whisk in the cornmeal, masa harina, lard, crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir over moderately low heat until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded pork and culentro and let cool. Shape the mixture into 8 ovals and wrap each in a rectangle of foil, twisting the ends securely.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the orange, cherry and lime juices with the onion. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 12 minutes. In a small skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil over moderate heat until very lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Whisk the garlic oil into the reduced juices, add the dried cherries and season with salt and pepper. Let cool, then refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  4. Spread the tamales in a single layer in a steamer. Cover and steam over several inches of boiling water until the cornmeal is no longer gritty, about 30 minutes. Add more boiling water to the steamer halfway through cooking.
  5. In a bowl, toss the watercress, scallions and 1/2 cup of the cherry mojo and season with salt and pepper. Mound the salad on 4 plates. Unwrap the tamales and arrange 2 on each plate next to the salad. Spoon the remaining mojo onto the plates and serve.
Make Ahead The tamales and cherry mojo can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Notes Culentro, a jagged-leaf herb from Central America, is similar in flavor to cilantro, but stronger. It is available at Latin American markets.

Suggested Pairing

A Sauvignon Blanc has enough acid to match the tart cherry mojo.

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