There is a Christmas dinner at church tonight and I was asked to bring a guisado, a meat dish. I had the lady explain exactly what was meant by "guisado" since it can mean different things in different countries. She explained that it could be anything from sliced turkey to roast beef to meat sauteed with onions and tomatoes...so, pretty much any meat dish that could be served on its own alongside the other food (something like spaghetti sauce wouldn't work). Other people were to bring other parts of the meal, like vegetable dishes, salads, and desserts.
Since I only found out about the dinner last night (we've had a crazy week with school Christmas parties/programs and the church programs/rehearsals and Miguel had forgotten to inform me!), it didn't give me much time to think about what to take. So I peeked in my freezer to see what the options were...thank goodness I went shopping yesterday! I had two packages of "falda de res" (literally "beef skirt"-flank steak, I believe), which would have made a good shredded beef dish, some ground beef, and a medium-sized pork roast. I decided to go with the pork since it's a traditional Christmas meat here. So I got that out to thaw while I looked up recipes online. Almost all of my recipe books and recipe cards got left in Venezuela...but you can find just about anything online! Allrecipes is one of my favorite places to look.
Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our crockpot home from the Spanish study office where we'd used it to heat tamales for the Christmas party last Tuesday, so it was either stovetop or oven...amazingly, the first recipe I came to caught my eye as it called for pork, pineapple, and craisins, all of which I had today! :) I adapted the recipe for the oven instead of the crockpot and substituted fresh pineapple for the canned.
Here is what I did...first I let the pork thaw a bit and then I rubbed it with salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and rosemary. Then I seared it in a little oil and put it in the oven. While that was heating up, I added the pineapple chunks and chopped craisins to the pan I'd seared the pork in, adding about 1/3? cup of brown sugar and maybe a cup of water. I let that simmer until the pineapple was cooked, maybe 1/2 an hour or so?
When the pineapple was done, I took the roast out of the oven and turned it over, covering it with about half of the pineapple mixture. I covered the whole thing with foil and put it back in the oven for a while (can you tell I'm a bit foggy about the time? When it comes to times and measurements, I'm not exactly precise...LOL! I can't even tell you the temperature because the oven only has numbers from 1 to 5! I put it on 3, in case that helps). Anyway, I estimate that the time in the oven was somewhere around an hour, total, plus about 10 more minutes at the end where I turned the pork one more time, added the rest of the pineapple mixture, and put it back in the oven uncovered.
I have to tell you that the whole time it was baking, the house smelled SO GOOD! After I took it out of the oven and Miguel and I tasted a bit, he said, "Don't take it!" :) We couldn't resist tasting just a wee bit more...but there was still enough to send to the dinner (I was asked to send enough for 10 people). Ironically, Micah got sick this afternoon and I have a terrific headache/migraine, so Miguel went on his own with Gracia and Jojo. Oh well, I am thinking that I might fix this same dish for Christmas dinner, it would be SO good over mashed potatoes or even with roasted potatoes...hmmm...now there's a thought!