Carnitas with Coconut Raisin Sauce and Plantain Cakes with Raisin-Cocoa Bean Recado

Submitted by: Robert Del Grande

Dress up shredded pork with raisin sauces and plantain cakes for hearty eating.


  • Serving Size: 1 plantain cake


  • 1 pork shoulder roast (about 12 pounds)
  • 2 gallons water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 4 ounce peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 pound yellow onions, peeled and cut into eighths

Coconut Raisin Sauce

  • 8 ounce California raisins
  • 2 ounce garlic cloves
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce
  • 12 ounce coconut purée*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Raisin-Cocoa Recado

  • 3 ancho chiles
  • 1 chipotle chile canned in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 3 ounce California raisins
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 ounce smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 ounce cocoa nibs or melted chocolate
  • 2 ounce butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Olive oil; as needed
  • 24 large ripe plantains


Cut pork shoulder into quarters, combine with water, salt, garlic and onions in large stockpot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until pork is tender. Drain, reserving pork fat that rises to surface to use later. Cool. Trim excess fat and shred pork into bite-size pieces.

Coconut Raisin Sauce

Combine raisins and garlic in small saucepan and add water to cover. Heat to boil and simmer until raisins are plump and garlic is tender. Drain and cool. Turn into food processor; add remaining ingredients and process until very smooth. Set aside.

Raisin-Cocoa Recado

Stem and seed chiles. Char lightly in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. In a bowl, combine with chipotle, raisins and hot water; let soak for 30 minutes. Turn all, including water, into blender and purée until smooth. Combine almonds and cocoa nibs in food processor and process until finely ground. With processor running, add chile purée, melted butter and salt. Process until smooth. Chill. Peel plantains and cut into 1/2-inch rounds. Deep fry until golden brown and heated through. Divide and press the fried slices lightly together to form 48 small cakes. Set aside.

To Serve

In sautépan, heat reserved pork fat and/or olive oil. Sauté shredded pork until lightly brown; then, reheat plantain cakes in same pan. Divide and spread Raisin-Cocoa Recado on each cake; top with some pork. Spoon on Coconut Raisin Sauce. Sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Chef Note: Crazy Coconut Perfect Purée (brand) preferred.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories 610 (56% from fat); Total Fat 39g (sat 11g, mono 12g, poly 3g, trans 0g ); Cholesterol 110mg; Protein 30g; Carbohydrate 39g; (Dietary Fiber 3g; Sugars 11g; ); Iron 3mg; Sodium 860mg; Calcium 69mg; Potassium 942mg

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