Recipe: Boliche Mechado

The holidays at my house was always a battle of cuisines: traditional Southern versus traditional Cuban. My mother, a proud immigrant from Santiago de Cuba, always liked to bring a few of mi abuela's recipes to the table. From stories I have I heard, there may have been a bit of amicable dissonance felt between the sweet potato supporters and those who prefer the dishes best served con arroz y plátanos.

Despite this, there was one Cuban dish, boliche mechado, that was not only tolerated, but actually consistently requested by the gringo familia. Over the years, I began taking over the majority of holiday cooking, and despite the many subsequent menu alterations, the boliche mechado remains a showstopper.

Boliche mechado translates to stuffed eye-of-round roast. The recipe itself is simple, but remember to begin marinating 48 hours before you plan to cook the roast. And feel free to go with either a more traditional side of moros y crisitanos (black beans and white rice) or Americanize it with some gorgonzola-walnut mashed potatoes. Either way you win.

The recipe, after the jump.

Boliche Mechado

10 to 12 servings

  • ¼ pounds thinly sliced Serrano ham
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 10-15 green salad olives
  • 1 ½ cups orange juice
  • 5 pounds eye-of-round roast
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarsely chop the ham, bacon, and olives and mix them together.

Skewer a one-inch tunnel lengthwise through the roast and stuff it full of the ham mixture.

Layer half of the onions on the bottom of a dish large enough to marinate the roast. Place the roast on top of the onions.

Using a mortar and pestle, or whatever handy gadget you choose, mash the garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano into a paste.

Combine the garlic paste with the OJ, lime juice, wine and bay leaves. Drizzle and rub this all over the beef. Throw the rest of the onions on top.

Cover the roast, place it in the fridge, and let it marinate for 48 hours, occasionally basting the marinade back over the roast. After you've (im)patiently waited for two days, blot the roast with paper towels and reserve the excess marinade.

Next, heat a big pan to medium high heat, add your olive oil, and brown the roast on all sides. Sauté the onions. Add the reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for four hours, basting every half hour.

Transfer the meat to a platter and allow it to rest for ten minutes before carving and serving.

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