Puerto Rican Roast Pork Today — Mexican Soup Tomorrow!

It’s cold out. It’s rainy. I need warmth. So, what do I do when I am chilled and need comfort? I roast something all day long. I love doing this when the weather is gloomy as it gives me an excuse to leave my oven on all day. This makes my kitchen nice and toasty with the side bonus of an amazing aroma wafting out of the convection fan all day long.

My choice of roast was easy. I had just bought a pork shoulder on Saturday after reading Mark Bittman’s column on Pernil, which is a Puerto Rican roast pork that looked easy to make and yummy . And, after a slow roast of about five hours, it was quite good. My kids even loved it.

So there I was, Tuesday night, very satisfied with having made a nice pork roast. Even better was the fact that we still had about half of it leftover so we could eat it the next day, which meant I wouldn’t have to cook. But on Wednesday, it was cold and I was chilled and all I wanted was soup. Although I was tempted to just open the container of tomato and roasted red pepper soup I bought a few days earlier at Trader Joe’s, I was intrigued with the idea of turning my Pernil into something more than it was meant to be.

I’m a huge fan of soups and one of my favorites is the chicken tortilla soup at Picanta on 6th Avenue in Berkeley. I wanted to mimic the Mexican flavors in the Picante soup and so set about trying to do just that. Here’s what I did:

Roast Pork Mexican Soup

1 medium onion diced
2 Anaheim peppers
2-3 cups chopped leftover roasted pork, such as Pernil
1 Tbsp each cumin, chile powder, oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste
1 cup vegetable juice or tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
Cilantro to garnish

1. Dice up the onion and Anaheim peppers. Saute in olive oil for about five minutes in a large heavy pot.
2. Add the leftover Pernil or other roasted pork and cook for another five or so minutes.
3. Add the salt, cumin, chile powder, dried oregano, and garlic powder and stir.
4. Add the vegetable juice or tomato sauce along with the chicken broth and let everything simmer for a half hour.
5. Add the corn and serve with about 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro for each serving.

This soup was warm and rich in flavor. The corn was a great addition as the sweetness accentuated the seasonings. I added a couple of tablespoons of cooked white rice to my girls’ bowls so it would be a more filling meal for them and gave all of us some tortilla chips as an accompaniment.

I would definitely make the Pernil again, and when I do, we’ll be having tortilla soup the next day.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I love this recipe, but have experimented with some different chilis, and have concluded guajillo chili peppers are the best. It’s not a hot chili, but adds some smoky taste to the taste. I find that the flavors all come together better if it’s cooked longer, and the crock pot on low does the job!

  2. 2

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