Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: pork (page 2 of 5)


This is a very simple and quick recipe, if you adhere to the time constraints when marinating the pork chops. In the Rivera family we especially liked spicy marinated pork chops. This is basically savory pork loin chops with garlic and herbs. Initially, we did not add red pepper to it, Then someone decided to do it and it became the norm in our crowd.  However, if you like your pork chops on the mild side, you can cut back on the red pepper. It’s all a process of experimentation.

In our clan, we normally served this dish with yellow rice. But you can do it (as we did this time) with baked potatoes and a side vegetable. Out choice for the veggie was boiled carrots with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for added flavor.  But, it can be any vegetable: green beans, sweet peas, brussel sprouts, you get the idea.

(Pork Chops with garlic and herbs)


4 pork loin chops (about 2½-3 pounds)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 baking potatoes, washed and pricked all over with the times of a fork


1. Place the chops in the freezer until partially frozen, about 20 minutes. Trim off all visible fat.
2. In a cup, combine garlic, cumin, salt, coriander, red pepper and black pepper. Spread mixture thickly on both sides of pork chops. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate from 2 to 8 hours.
3. About 1 hour before serving, place potatoes on preheated 350 degree oven.
4. Place chops on a broiler rack and broil about 4 inches from the heat for 8 to 12 minutes per side, or until the chops are browned and crusty. Be careful not to overcook so they don’t dry out. When ready, serve with baked potatoes and a green of your choice,
Yield: 4 servings.







The formal name for this dish is Kofta Curry. But we call it, Indian Meatballs, and it fits. Kofta is a family of meatball or meatloaf dishes found in the Indian subcontinent. Who knew that Indian cuisine had meatballs? In its basic form, koftas are balls of minced or ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb) mixed with onions and spices. I’m told they are also very popular in the Middle East, where lamb predominates. Even the Greeks have a vegetarian version called hortoketftedes.  Let me add, koftas make great sandwiches. If it’s for dinner, the usual accompaniment is boiled rice.

In the recipe given, you can add as much or as little curry powder as you like. I found that, among my Anglo friends, two teaspoons, one each for the kofta and curry sauce, is enough. For a dish more in tune with the Indian palate, then two teaspoons for the meatballs and two tablespoons for the sauce  is more like it.

So, have a change from the usual spaghetti and meatballs. Do it the kofta way.

(Indian Meatballs)


1 to 1½ pounds ground pork, beef or lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder (you can use less, see above)
Salt to taste
Pinch of pepper
1 egg, beaten
Oil for frying

1 medium onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder (you can use less, see above)
1 tablespoon flour
2/3 cup beef stock or bouillon
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh mint for garnish (about 2 tablespoons)


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground meat, onion, curry powder, salt and pepper.  Bind the mixture with the beaten egg.
  2.  Divide the mixture ito 16 portions, more or less, depending on size, and shaping each one into a ball with floured hands.
  3.  Heat sufficient oil to cover the base of a frying pan or skillet, and fry the meatballs, turning occasionally until they are brown on all sides. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
  4.  In the same pan, fry the onion and tomatoes on medium heat for about  minutes. Add the curry powder and flour, and cook for 2 minutes more. Blend in the stock, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  5.  Sprinkle with chopped mint to garnish. Serve with boiled rice.
    Yield: 4 servings.






This one is from my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Running Press). It’s in its third printing, and still going strong. In Nuyorican cooking, we prepare  breaded pork chops in one of two ways. One method is to apply the breading  and then bake slowly in a medium oven (350 °). The other way is listed in the recipe given. Here, lean pork chops are required, about ½-inch thick. They’re lightly pounded, breaded and then cooked in oil. Back on the block, breaded pork chops were usually served with a salad or yellow rice. But, you’re not confined to any mandatory accompaniment. In this instance we served our pork chops with pierogies. Yes, pierogies. The renowned dumplings of Eastern European origin normally filled with meat, vegetables or cheese. Remember, my friends, never be afraid to experiment. The results may amaze you.

Note that in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, the herbs are crushed in a mortar and pestle.  I’ve been using one forever; and they can be found these days in any culinary shop, hardware store, or even supermarket. They are constructed of metal (usually aluminum), cast-iron or wood. I prefer the wooden ones since, over time, even after washing, the wood is infused with the herbal fragrance

(breaded Pork Chops)


8 lean pork chops, ½-inch thick, about 1½ pounds
10 whole black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying


1. Rinse chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a mortar, crush peppercorns, garlic, oregano and salt. Add olive oil and vinegar, and mix.
3  Place chops between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a mallet.
4. Rub seasoning into pork chops.
5. Dip each chop into the beaten eggs, then coat with bread crumbs, pressing bread crumbs on both sides with heel of hand.
6. Heat oil in a large skillet or frying pan and cook pork until golden brown (about4-5 minutes per side). Drain on adsorbent paper towels.
Yield: 4 servings.





This recipe came about by chance (like most great recipes do). Some friends gave us a pack of sausages to try out. It was VT99 Blue Cheese sausage from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. We’ve had Jasper Hill meats before, but not their sausage product. I figured, Mmmm, what do I do now? When I prepare sausage as a meal, I usually prepare it with bell peppers, be it red or green peppers.  It’s a common entrée in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. It happened I had no green peppers around, but I had lots of onions. So it became sausage and onions.

I was fortunate in acquiring the blue cheese sausage, and it was delicious! But you can substitute whatever sausage you prefer, be it Italian, German bratwurst, French andouille, Spanish chorizo, turkey or chicken sausage. You can even use the Libby canned sausage—which we substituted back in Spanish Harlem during our lean days. Let me add that some sausages (like the VT99 product) come with a casing that has to be removed before cooking. Check to see what you got.  Also, the recipe runs along the Nuyorican method of preparation with some basic staples. It ain’t complicated at all.

In my family we almost always had the dish over steamed rice. This time we tried something new, red rice. If you can find it, great. If not, regular rice will do, either white or brown; or you can try the dish with quinoa, or even kasha.  This is America, where we experiment and come up with the unusual, as long as it’s tasty.



4 links sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 clove garlic, peeled and  minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons dry red wine


  1. Rinse sausage under running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet or fry pan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Stir in wine, raise heat to high and and cook until most of the wine has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the rice.
    Yield: 4 servings.




 This recipe is very similar to that Nuyorican favorite, Pernil, or roast pork shoulder. But it differs in terns if ingredients. It’s termed Pork Adobo or Adobo Pork, yet the adobo seasoning has a definite Asian motif—it includes  soy sauce, rice vinegar, and scallions. It brings to mind more of a Filipino adobo. Also, the recipe calls for lots of garlic, which we love. Vampires don’t stand a chance against us. The final result is heavenly. My wife, who is a tough critic, states that this recipe is one of the best she’s ever encountered. That says a lot.

The main ingredient is cubed pork. We did the recipe with boneless pork shoulder, which rendered the right amount of fat in the cooking. This dish is traditionally served with steamed white rice rice. This time around we did it with yellow rice . And, final note: as stated, the recipe calls for rice vinegar which, these days, can be found in most supermarkets or Asian stores. If you don’t have, or can’t find rice vinegar, regular white vinegar will do (although purists will say it doesn’t impart the same flavor).nv



14 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ to 2 pounds pork, not too lean, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 cup water
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 scallions, sliced


  1. Place half the garlic in a bowl with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, pepper, and pork. Cover and allow to marinate 1-2 hours.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan or skillet. Add the remaining garlic, and onion, and cook until golden. Add the meat, plus marinade, and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve over rice and sprinkle with scallions.
    Yield: 4 servings.




Sill in the grillin’ mode. Might as well enjoy it while the season lasts. This time it’s Glazed Pork Chops. A common enough entry. But, when one thinks of glazed pork chops, grilled or not, it’s pork chops smothered with orange marmalade. That’s been most of the recipes I’ve seen. Well, it can be done with any glaze, not just orange. Recently I scoured the fridge and discovered I had some leftover red raspberry and wild blueberry jam. Two small, half empty bottles, and still good to use. I mixed them all up and I had a suitable delicious glaze for the chops.

The trick here is that you can use any kind of crushed fruit for a glaze, even cramberry sauce and and sweet mango chutney. You’re only limited by your imagination.


¼ cup your favorite jam or marmalade, or a mix
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 boneless pork chops, ¾-inch think, about 1 pound.


  1. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for 6 minutes. For best results, brush the grate with vegetable oil before grilling. Fire should only be moderately hot.
  2.  For the glaze, combine jam or marmalade (or a mix), soy sauce, lemon juice, and ginger. Place chops on grill, and pour glaze over chops. Close lid and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until meat is no loner pink. Remove chops and pour glaze from grill over all.
    Yield: 4 servings.



Middle Eastern cuisine utilizes such savories mint as mint and rose water in their cooking. I always found this fascinating.  Here in the west, the only time we use mint in with the Eater lamb, if that. And forget about the rose water. Thus it came to mind recently when I acquired some fresh mint. I said, okay, it’s nice. I like mint tea—but what else?

That’s when inspiration struck. I had some sausages on hand. And I decided: why not try sausages with mint? (And see what happens). Now, in this rendition any good sausage can used. It can be Italian, smoked, Andouille, bratwurst, beef sausage, even chicken or turkey sausage. It’s a simple enough dish to prepare: cook the sausage rounds in olive oil, onion rings and garlic; season to taste, add the mint and serve. We served it over Spanish yellow rice. But you can have it with potatoes, couscous, quinoa, or your favorite grain. Or make great sandwiches with it.



1 pound pork sausage
1 red medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint


  1. Rinse sausages under cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into ½-inch rounds. Note that if you’re using Italian sausage, the casing must be removed before slicing.
  2. In a large skillet or fry pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onion. Stir fry until sausage is brown and onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper.  Add garlic, and cook two minutes more.
  3.  Add wine and cook, over high heat, until liquid evaporates, stirring frequently.
  4.  Remove from heat, stir in mint, and serve over favorite grain.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.



Back when I was a young man, a hundred years ago, I stared collecting recipes. Up to that time my purview had been Caribbean cooking. Then I started expanding my palate and repertoire. On of the earliest recipes I collected was the one given below. The dish is called Pork Chops Hortense, and who first created it, I have no idea. If someone out there knows the provenance of this recipe, please let me know so that I can give credit to the appropriate party. Enough to say that it’s a delicious recipe that livens up the lowly pork chop and brings it to new heights.

Let me state that this can be  served with any grain,  pasta or, even, couscous. I served it over yellow rice, and it was perfect. Want to try it with brown rice, wild rice or other, no problem. It matches well with all, even mashed potatoes.



4 1-inch loin pork chops
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons butter
1 tart apple, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons brandy


  1. Rinse the chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and oregano on both sides.
  2. Heat butter in a large skillet, and sauté the pork chops, apple and onion until pork chops are browned on both sides. Transfer pork chops to a heat-proof platter and place in a 300-degree oven to finish cooking. Leave the apple and onion in skillet and continue to sauté until apple and onion is tender.
  3.  Sprinkle apple and onion with flour and cook about 2 minutes more. Blend in broth and mustard. Bring to a simmer.
  4.  In a food mill, blender or food processor, purée skillet mixture, then return to skillet and heat through to near boiling. Blend in  heavy cream and brandy. Pour mixture over pork chops and serve immediately.                             Yield: 4 servings.


Back in my wild and misspent youth, one of the most memorable characters I use to hang out with was a beautiful person named Eddie. He was Chinese, and  was the center of a group whom we termed, The Gang of Four. It was Eddie, myself, Larry (another Chinese guy), and Henry, who is Irish.

After work we would all meet at Lucy Jung’s restaurant on Canal Street. Larry was the manager at Lucy Jung’s, and we would keep him company, drinking and carrying on until the restaurant closed. Then we would go bar hopping in Chinatown. This was the era  when Chinatown had numerous watering holes such as the Golden Valley, The Hon Gong, and Winnies. They’re all closed now. The new generation sits behind laptops and tablets, staring at screens in the local Starbuck’s. The camaraderie that we all knew, is now gone.

Anyway, after a night of drinking, at around 3 or 4 a.m. we would end up in a little hole in the wall restaurant on Doyer’s Street, where we would all have a heaping bowl of congee. This would, hopefully, sober us up so that we could all shuffle to work that same morning—and then start up the same ritual the following evening. As the song says, we were young and surely had our way.

Eddie is no longer with us, but the other guys still are; although we all much older now, and somewhat wiser, all happily married,  and with families. But the memories still linger. Especially of congee, and it’s sobering affects.  Congee, also known as jook, is a hearty stew, more like a rice porridge. It’s popular throughout China, Laos, and Thailand. It can be served as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner dish. It’s simple and delicious. All you need is hot broth (or plain water will do), rice and some meat thrown in. The congee we had in Chinatown was made with pork meatballs. But you can prepare it with chicken, beef, or even fish.

The following is Eddie’s recipe for congee (or jook, as he preferred to call it).



1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon Bell’s All Natural Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground white pepper
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 quart chicken broth, or water
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
1/2 cup jasmine rice
1 tablespoon fish sauce (can be found in any Asian market)
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Fried garlic oil (recipe follows below)


  1. Place ground pork in a mixing bowl. Mix in Bell’s seasoning, oregano, white pepper, scallions, and salt, if using. Set aside.
  2.  In a wok or soup pot, combine the broth (or water) and ginger. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add jasmine rice, cover and lower heat to  a gentle simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the pork in tablespoon-sized meatballs.
  3.  Let the mixture simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the fish sauce, transfer to a large serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and fried garlic oil, and serve. If you prefer,  can also  serve the congee in small individual bowls, and each person can add garnish as desired. Your choice.
    Yield: 4 servings.

Fried Garlic OiI: In a small fry pan, cook 2 cloves garlic (finely minced), in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When garlic is slightly
browned, remove from heat and add to congee.







JAMON AL VIDRIANO (Glazed Ham Steak)

Go online and you’ll find all kinds of recipes for cooking ham steak. Now, I’m not talking about a ham roast where you bake a canned boned ham; but a ham steak, which is just a slice from a whole piece of ham which is used for roasting. Sometimes, for a weeknight dinner you don’t want a  whole ham.  So, a  smaller ham steak is the better deal and it’s more cost effective.

What I noticed for ham steaks is that most recipes call for brown sugar, vinegar, Dijon mustard and a whole lot of other stuff. And these are all well and good, and delicious. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used these recipes a lot. But we Puerto Ricans have  a whole different way for cooking ham steaks. Different in the ingredients. The cooking method, by and large, remains the same: roasting or baking. But our ham glaze, which is the universal way of cooking a ham steak, is sweeter, and has more of a kick. We add Puerto Rican rum to it.

This recipe has been in our family for ages. We used our glaze for cooking ham roasts, ham steaks, pork roasts and, yes, even canned ham. It’s always been a hit,  never a miss. If you like ham steaks, this is it. Period.


(Glazed Ham steak)


2 boneless ham steaks (with natural juices) about 2 pounds
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Puerto Rican dark rum
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Few whole cloves (5 or 6 )


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash ham steak under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3.  Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy, about 30 minutes.
  4.  Place ham in a baking dish, pour glaze over ham steaks, and bake until brown on both sides, about 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.
    Yield: 4 servings.



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