I have a fairly deep love affair with Mexican food (well, I actually have a love affair with all food, many of which I most likely will never eat again, unless I’m looking for self inflicted sick days). While a Paleo diet is pretty accommodating to traditional Mexican cooking, aside from beans, corn, sugar and dairy, okay so a little challenging (but Tequila is Paleo!) the AIP diet (autoimmune protocol) is not. So, I’m not using any of the 8 varieties of homemade hot sauce we have. Yet.
I posted this list of AIP foods on my fridge so I would see the possibilities instead of looking at foods to avoid and feeling stifled. Restrictive diets are challenging enough, wishing for foods that may make me ill is pointless (though the almond butter slathered banana my husband eats is wearing me down). I filled our kitchen with vegetables, citrus fruits, the only redeeming thing about winter, and good meats (I’ve also started making water kefir, that is another post).
This Pork dish came from a longing for fresh Mexican within the constraints of AIP, but it’s really Cuban. And it’s delicious. The Jicama Grapefruit Salad is a completely lame attempt to replicate one we had in Mexico, but very good in it’s own right.
Also, toast your peppercorns people! Toast them in a small skillet until fragrant, let cool and put in your pepper mill. It adds a whole new dimension to black pepper.
Pork Cubano (aip style)
1 3 lb pork loin or shoulder roast (give or take a 1/4 pound is fine)
3 or 4 mixed citrus fruit (grapefruit, orange, blood orange, sour oranges) mostly peeled and cut into small sections
1 cup fresh grapefruit or sour orange juice
1 large onion cut into medium thick slices
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp toasted black peppercorns
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, for deglazing
Place all ingredients except pork and cider vinegar into a slow cooker.
Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add pork fat side down and brown for 5 minutes or until some of the fat starts releasing. Turn and brown the other side. Place pork on top of the mix in slow cooker. Turn flame back on under skillet, add apple cider vinegar scraping up the stuck bits of pork once the vinegar boils, add all this to the slow cooker. Place lid on, turn slow cooker to high and cook until pork is fork tender and can be pulled apart, about 5 hours. Half way through turn the pork roast over (if you’re around).
NON AIP: add 1 tbsp ground cumin to the spices. To make it authentically Cuban, remove cinnamon and ginger.
No slow cooker? not a problem. Use a dutch oven with a lid and cook for 4 or more hours at 300*, checking every so often to make sure things aren’t sticking, add a little water or citrus juice if you need.
Jicama Grapefruit Salad
This is really simple.
Napa cabbage (or lettuce), 2 cups shredded
1 grapefruit, peeled, pith removed and sliced into 1 inch chunks removing membranes and seeds as you go (you can segment it if you’re inclined)
1 small Jicama or half a large, sliced very thin (a mandolin works well) then cut into matchstick pieces
2 scallions, chopped
juice from 1 lime
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of salt
avocado or olive oil
Cilantro leaves, chopped, to taste
Toss Jicama, grapefruit, scallions, cilantro and salt together in a bowl. Mix lime juice with honey and a few tablespoons full of avocado or olive oil in a small bowl. Place cabbage on the bottom of your serving dish, top with jicama grapefruit mix. Drizzle with dressing.
We serve Pork Cubana and Jicama Grapefruit Salad in plantain tortillas and love this meal.