American Chefs in Cuba for Culinary, Cultural Exchange


American chefs cooked alongside their Cuban counterparts in Havana last week. (Photo: DocteurCosmos/Wikipedia)

Slowly, but surely, US-Cuba relations have been warming. Some US citizens can travel to Cuba for government-approved cultural exchanges.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

And Cuban President Raul Castro has loosened the state grip on the economy, including lifting restrictions on private restaurants known as paladares.

Last week, some American chefs went to Havana to cook alongside their Cuban counterparts.

Anchor Aaron Schachter speaks to New York chef and restaurateur Sara Jenkins who spent her last week in Havana.

Recipe: Porchetta

Makes 6 servings

Flavor Tip: Using white wine for basting creates a delicate sauce for this dish, whereas red wine provides a gamier flavor. I tend to choose based on what mood I'm in, or whatever I have kicking around the house.

1 (3 3/4- to 4-pound) boneless pork shoulder (skin on, not tied)
20 fresh sage leaves
3 leafy sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
3 leafy sprigs rosemary, stemmed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fennel pollen
1 1/2 teaspoons medium coarse sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry red or white wine

Heat oven to 250 ºF.

With a sharp knife, score pork skin in a crosshatch diamond pattern, making 1/8-inch- deep cuts, about 1 inch apart.

Finely chop thyme, sage, rosemary, and garlic together (you can do this by pulsing in a food processor, or by hand). Place mixture in a small bowl, add fennel pollen, salt, and pepper and stir together well.

With a paring knife, make about 10 incisions (about 1/2-inch deep) all over the pork and stuff with about 1/3rd of the herb mixture. Tie pork with kitchen twine, brush the oil over the skin, and rub all over with the remaining herb mixture.

Set pork in a roasting pan, fat-side up. Roast for 2 hours. Pour the wine over the pork and baste with the wine and accumulated juices. Continue roasting, basting once every hour, until the skin is well browned and the meat is spoon tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours more (internal temperature will be 170 ºF to 180 ºF) Remove from oven. Let meat rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.