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Garlic Pork at Christmas
Garlic Pork at Christmas

With Raveena Mangal
Christmas is in the air! In Guyana, celebrating this season is hand in hand with certain delicious foods. Carne de Vinagre e Alhos, better known as garlic pork in Guyana, is essentially pickled pounds of pork chops kept in vinegar spiced with salt, hot peppers, garlic and thyme, and the meat is fried on Christmas morning.

GARLIC PORK/LAMB/BEEF/CHICKEN

To make any of the above-named dishes, you will need:
3 lbs of pork, or choice of meat. The meat must be one (1) inch thick; tender cuts are preferred
12 large cloves garlic
½ cup of fresh thyme leaves (stem reserved) or
2 tbsp. of dried Thyme
8-10 wiri-wiri peppers
1 ½ tbsp. sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 cups of white distilled vinegar
2 cups of boiled water (brought to room temp.)
3-4 whole cloves
3 additional cloves of garlic, unpeeled
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Method
1. Wipe the meat clean with a damp cloth or paper towel.
2. Using a sharp knife, make little gashes into the meat on both sides. Grind the garlic, thyme, and wiri-wiri peppers in a food processor/mortar and pestle, then pour this seasoning rub in a small bowl.
3. Using a butter knife or your fingers, spread a generous amount to fill the small gashes in the meat.
4. Salt and pepper both sides, reserving ½ tsp salt.
5. Rub any left-over seasoning mixture on meat slices.
6. Using a wide-mouthed glass jar, start by layering pieces of seasoned meat, stacking until all meat has been placed in the jar.
7. Combine vinegar and water, and pour cautiously into the jar of layered meat until meat is covered by two inches.
8. Gently shake the jar to distribute meat evenly, and place thyme stems and cloves in the jar. Add three cloves of unpeeled garlic, as part of the garnish, and the peppercorns.
9. Place additional sprigs of thyme on top of jar, or slide it down the sides.
10. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and seal jar tightly.
11. Store in a cool dark place (not refrigerator), and let it rest for 3-5 days.
12. After curing period, drain meat on a rack, and discard liquid. Do not allow seasoning in the gashes to fall out.
13. In a skillet, pour 3 tbsp. Canola oil.
14. Pan-fry on medium heat, until nicely browned for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and serve with crusty bread and cold beer, or desired beverage.

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