1 x 4-1/2-lb. pork side (belly)
1 cup salt
5 cups lard
4 cloves garlic
2 sweet potatoes, sliced
4 cups vegetable oil
4 French bread rolls or any crusty rolls
1 cup Creole Sauce (see below)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red chili, thinly sliced
Handful cilantro (coriander), leaves picked
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 limo chili, seeded, membrane removed, and thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped culantro or cilantro (coriander) leaves
Juice of 3 small lemons
Step 1: Put the pork side (belly) in a large bowl with the salt, cover with water, and let soak for 8 hours, or overnight. Once soaked, remove the pork from the water and rinse well. Drain and cut into 2 x 1-3/4″ pieces.
Step 2: Put the lard into a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat to melt. Once melted, add the whole garlic cloves and pork pieces, lower the heat, and cook gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat and cook for another 25 minutes, until the meat has browned and the fat is crisp and golden. Set aside.
Step 3: Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or deep fryer to 350°F or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Drop the sweet potato slices carefully into the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes, or until crispy and golden. Drain well on paper towels.
Step 4: Slice the bread rolls lengthwise down the middle and fill with the fried sweet potato slices, pork pieces, and Creole sauce, onion, chili, and cilantro (coriander). Serve.
Step 1: Soak the onion slices in iced water for 5 minutes to crisp. Remove from the water, drain, and place in a bowl.
Step 2: Add the sliced chili, culantro or cilantro (coriander), and lemon juice to the onion. Season with salt and mix together thoroughly. This sauce is best served immediately and is the ideal accompaniment to chicharrones (fried pork rind), rice dishes, stews, fish and other dishes. A different variety of Creole sauce is made in northern Peru, which is pickled for longer and includes chopped radish and blended yellow chilies as additional ingredients.
Reprinted with permission from Gastón Acurio’s Peru: The Cookbook (2015 Phaidon).