Chicharrón, the Latin American bacon

yuca, chicharron and curtido

Fried yuca with chicharrones, curtido and salsa.

I like to compare chicharrón to BACON. Now that I’ve got your attention, let me explain exactly what chicharrón is.

Chicharrón is popular in Spain and Latin American countries, but they vary depending on the country. It can be made with different cuts of pork using different kinds of cooking methods. The kind I had a craving for were of course, the Salvadoran variety. Our version is made with pork butt roast usually and can be eaten alone or it can become the main ingredient in pupusas.

This recipe reflects the way my mother prepared her chicharrón, accompanies by yuca (or cassava) and topped with salsa and curtido (a pickled cabbage similar to coleslaw). Cassava is a root plant originating from South America. It is a root rich in carbohydrates, mainly starch, and a major source of energy. In raw form, it is similar to a sweet potato in appearance, with a thick brown outer layer. A lot of Latin American restaurants serve “yuca fries” in place of fries.

Cassava is a root plant originating from South America. Popular in Africa, South and Central America, India and Southeast Asia, it is a root rich in carbohydrates, mainly starch, and a major source of energy. In raw form, it is similar to a sweet potato in appearance, with a thick brown outer layer.

Chicharrón

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 – 3 lb. pork butt, trimmed and cubed into one inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Lay the cubed pork butt pieces on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper so that pieces do not touch each other. A lot of fat will drip and the wax paper will help catch it and make it easy to dispose of fat.

3. Sprinkle seasoning salt over the cubed pieces of pork. Sprinkle garlic pieces throughout. The garlic helps alleviate the strong smell.

4. Bake on lower rack in oven for 1.5 hours, or until crispy to your liking, turning once halfway.

pork butt for chicharron

cooked chicharron

Fried Yuca (Cassava)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 2 (or more) packages of frozen cassava

Directions:

1. Thaw cassava pieces for about n hour, you don’t want them completely thawed out but you need them to be a little soft for cutting.

2. Heat oil in a wok.

3. Cut into halves horizontally, then half lengthwise (or into smaller fry-like pieces if you prefer).

4. Fry the yuca pieces in the oil for about four minutes per side (or until browned). Turn once. Place on plate with paper towel to soak up excess oil.

The fried yuca is then topped off with chicharrón, curtido, and salsa.

yuca raw

Cut yuca into smaller pieces.

yuca cooking

Fry the yuca in canola oil.

fried yuca

Fried yuca, ready to serve.

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  1. Pingback: Salvadoran Curtido | *Eat*Sip*Slurp

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