Harina con Carne de Puerco y Chorizo

Cuban-Style Polenta with Pork and Chorizo Sausage

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Eating Cuban

Eating Cuban

By Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs

Published 2006

  • About

When Cubans refer to harina (“flour” in Spanish), unless they elaborate, they are referring to finely ground cornmeal. A popular dish in Cuba is harina cooked with water, oil, and salt until thick and fluffy and combined with pork, chorizo, chicken, or shellfish that has been cooked in a well-seasoned tomato sauce. It is a great comfort food and makes a satisfying main course when served with crusty bread and a salad.

You will often find this dish referred to as tamal en cazuela, “tamale in a pot.” According to cooking purists like my friend Carmen, however, classic tamal en cazuela, like Cuban tamales, should be made with pureed fresh corn. See the recipe for Tamal en Cazuela Clásico.

Ingredients

For the Pork

  • 1 pound lean boneless pork shoulder, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup fresh bitter orange juice, or 2 tablespoons regular orange juice and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press or finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pound Spanish chorizo, diced
  • cups chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup vino seco (Cuban dry cooking wine) or dry sherry
  • 1 to 3 ajis cachucha (mild Cuban chiles), seeded and minced (optional)

For the Harina

  • 1 cup harina fina (finely ground yellow cornmeal; see Sources) or stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

Method

Make the pork: Place the pork in a glass bowl. Add the bitter orange juice, garlic, cumin, and salt. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the marinade.

Place 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smell fragrant, add the pork, working in two or three batches, making sure that the pieces don’t touch. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, turning as needed, until the pieces are golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon as it is browned, and set aside. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook until very lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and additional oil, if needed. Cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and the pepper has softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, reserved marinade, and chiles. Return the pork to the pan. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, make the harina: In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the harina, 5 cups cold water, the oil, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring. When the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, after 10 to 12 minutes, stir in 1 more cup cold water. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low to low. Cook, stirring often, until the cornmeal thickens to a fluffy but spoonable consistency, about 15 minutes.

To serve, either add the pork mixture to the harina and continue to cook, stirring, until heated through and well combined, or reheat the pork mixture separately and spoon it over the harina when serving. In either case, serve in wide shallow soup bowls and sprinkle with the parsley.