This was one recipe long in the making and with a lot of nudging and almost begging by one particular Facebook fan I had to do this Trinidad garlic pork recipe before year's end. But, before we go into the recipe I thought I would talk a little about this particular pork recipe and its historic and somewhat personal implications.
A little garlic pork history
Garlic pork or Carne Vinha D'Alhos or better known as Calvinadage was brought to our Trinbagonian shores by the Portuguese and Madeirans who settled on the islands in the nineteenth century the 9th of May, 1846 to be exact aboard the "Senator". Although there were a group that was here as early as 1630 .... Anyhow, check the link there is a ton of information for people wanting to know about the Portuguese in Trinidad and Tobago. I will be reading up a bit myself....
So, it is from here I would pick up the garlic pork story.... When I was researching this famed pork recipe I realised that I had a bit of Portuguese heritage...It actually took a recipe for me to find that out!
My mom said that her grandmother used to make this for them every Christmas and called it (canvi-an-die), well that's her recollection of the word which I later found the right spelling to as Calvinadage. Then after some digging mom told me her surname was Fereira (not sure how it was spelt) Very interesting indeed.
Making garlic pork
So this was a recipe I had some personal connection to and wanted to do properly. But my experimental side always comes out one way or the other. So as an added twist to the traditional I added the ever popular Mr. Chadon Beni.
There was a little quandary in my mind as to which of the thyme I should use. Some recipes, I saw, used the fine leaf thyme while my aunt said that they used the Spanish thyme aka oregano.... Eventually, out of necessity, I used the "oregano" since fine leaf thyme was hard to come by in the market: easily understood, since this is pastelle season :-).
Anyhow, after much work in the kitchen preparing the ingredients here is my version of Calvinadage or simply put Trini Garlic Pork. Enjoy!
My garlic pork recipe
TRINI GARLIC PORK
3 lb pork
5 head garlic
salt to taste ( I used 1 tbsp. )
½ cup thyme*
1 ½ cup Bragg's apple cider vinegar, divided
1 cup white vinegar, divided
4 bundles chadon beni (about 40 leaves)
2 hot pepper Scotch Bonnet, de-seeded and chopped
* You can use either fine leaf thyme or Spanish thyme (the one some people call oregano)
These are the ingredients to make garlic pork.
Peel the garlic.
Wash the chadon beni and strip the leaves off the thyme stalks. Set aside.
Wash the pork in ½ cup of the white vinegar.
Cut up then drain and wash again in the remaining ½ cup of white vinegar.
Blend the chadon beni and garlic in 1 cup of Braggs vinegar. Pour out in a bowl and add the thyme, Braggs vinegar and salt to taste and mix well. (I used one tablespoon.)
Note: Here you will have to let taste be your guide. Not too salty, not too acidic but just right.
Add a few spoonsful of the "seasoning" and
a few pieces of hot pepper into a large mouth bottle.
Note: I used one of them long time bottle we used to soak pommecythere in. Remember those? It was perfect!
Then add a layer of pork.
Continue alternating the layers then pour in the rest of seasoning.
Note: Make sure the pork is completely submerged in the seasoning. You may need to push down some of the meat.
Note: Some people leave their garlic pork for a longer time but from experience I find that the pork tastes a little acidic. But that's just my taste. You can leave it longer if you wish be it a week , 10 days or three weeks. I actually know of someone who left theirs curing for a whole year!
Ok, so while we wait for three or four days to pass we could do something to kill some time.
How 'bout ah joke??
A man walked into a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Trinidad and "passed out" on the floor. People gathered around to help him by fanning and doing everything they could to help him regain consciousness. Someone peeled an orange and started squeezing the
juice into his mouth, whereupon the man suddenly came back to life, pushed the person away and yelled, "if ah did want orange, ah woulda fall down in de market." Source
hahahaha!!! Dat was ah good one lol!! 😀
Anyhow back to the garlic pork........
..............So three days have passed and we're ready for some garlic pork.
Squeeze out the excess moisture and pat dry with paper towels.
Place about one tablespoon of oil in a pot and add the pork.
Caution: When pork is frying in its own fat it tends to "burst" and splatter the hot oil, so cover the pot and be careful. I nearly got burned ......... Nearly!
Fry until golden brown...
Drain on paper towels.
Oh gosh! Ah have to taste piece 🙂
Trini Garlic Pork
- 3 lb pork
- 5 head garlic
- salt to taste I used 1 tbsp.
- ½ cup thyme*
- 1 ½ cup Bragg's apple cider vinegar divided
- 1 cup white vinegar divided
- 4 bundles chadon beni about 40 leaves
- 2 hot pepper Scotch Bonnet de-seeded and chopped
- * You can use either fine leaf thyme or Spanish thyme the one some people call oregano
- Peel the garlic. Wash the chadon beni and strip the leaves off the thyme stalks. Set aside.
- Wash the pork in ½ cup of the white vinegar. Cut up then drain and wash again in the remaining ½ cup of white vinegar.
- Blend the chadon beni and garlic in 1 cup of braggs vinegar. Pour out in a bowl and add the thyme, braggs vinegar and salt to taste and mix well. I used 1 tbsp.
- Add a few spoonfuls of the "seasoning" and a few pieces of hot pepper into a large mouth bottle.
- Then add a layer of pork. Continue alternating the layers then pour in the rest of seasoning. Making sure the pork is completely submerged in the seasoning.
- Place a piece of plastic over the mouth of the bottle, cover and leave to cure for 3 to 4 days.
- After the three days have passed take out the garlic pork. Squeeze out the excess moisture and pat dry with paper towels. Place about 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot and add the pork. Caution: When pork is frying in its own fat it tends to "burst" and splatter the hot oil, so cover the pot and be careful.
- Fry until golden brown and drain on paper towels. As an alternative you can also bake the garlic pork.
So there you have it Trini Garlic Pork. My mouth is "watering" while I type....Yuh smell dat?
Ah gone! 😀
If you liked this trinidad garlic pork recipe why not leave a comment in the box below.
Can I substuite with chicken or beef.
Ok am going to try it
Sure, even shrimp
Love this pork recipe, I will try chicken next time. It so nice to look at your site and being able to pick something interesting to make for dinner or lunch.
Thanks Felix, Judy from the U.S.
When you want some good ole trini food,visit this site. Very nostalgic.
I am lucky enough to be in Trinidad for a couple of months. The food here is among the best in the world - probably the best in the Caribbean! Your recipes are so inviting and easy to follow, and your presentation is so inspiring, I shall be cooking Trini style as much as I can when I get home. Just one thing, is chadon beni known by another name, as I have not come across it elsewhere?
Yes it has many names. Check out this article http://simplytrinicooking.com/2010/08/chadon-beni-our-wild-trini-herb.html#ixzz21hM9RCJj
I email these blog posts all the time to all my contacts, because if like to read it, my friends will too. Thank you.
how long can I leave it brine, I have some that is over a yea old and it looks and smells good?
Yep I have known some people having theirs for that long
What is the American name for shadow beni, culantro?
Hey Felix ....in your procedure you don't clearly mention at what stage u add the Spanish thyme ...do u add some in the processor with the S Beni to intensify flavor ? Or do u just add the thyme whole leaves to brine at end
You add it to the seasoning see the step ..."Pour out in a bowl and add the thyme, braggs vinegar and..." Then you alternate layers of the pork and this mixture in a large mouth bottle.
Just googled. It's culantro, which many confuse with cilantro.
do i have to leave it ouside of the refrigerator for the 3-4 days or should i leave it in the fridge ?
Leave it out while in the brine then refrigerate after you take it out of the brine after the 3 days.
I absolutely love your wwbsite!!! I use your recipes allll the time. The explanations are very clear and the photos are brilliant to allow us to get familiar with the ingredients as well as what to expect. Thank you for doing it. Bravo !¡!!!
You're welcome Sabina 🙂
I have learnt quite a lot from your detailed recipe thanks for this. My grand mother used to make this and so did my mother. No written recipe, you know how that was. So now I live in Canada and my children and grandchildren all love this at Christmas. One thing I remember them adding to the seasoning was fresh marjoram which I still use to this day. Hope this is a good idea. Again thanks for your detailed recipe which I can pass on to the kids.
Felix...you de hardest hard. Thanks man!