Hornado is a traditional Ecuadoran dish consisting of marinated, slow-roasted pork. In Ecuador, it is sold in some restaurants and at vendor stands, where a whole pig is often roasted. Hornado also can be homemade, but it requires three days of preparation time.
Although a whole pig can be used, a large pork leg is often used instead. Hornado usually is made for large groups, and the leg generally weighs 10-20 pounds (4.5-9.0 kg). Traditionally, chicha, an alcoholic drink made from fermented corn, is used to marinate the pork. Beer is often used instead, however. Lard also is traditionally used, but butter is frequently substituted.
Spices and other flavorings, such as fresh lime juice, also are added to hornado. Cumin, garlic, salt, pepper and annatto seed generally are included as well. Annatto is a type of seed that is often used for dyes but also serves as an earthy spice in many Latin American dishes.
To make hornado, the pork leg is first cleaned, then placed in the pan in which it will be roasted. Lime juice is drizzled over the meat. Then slashes are cut into the leg, and the spice rub — sometimes called an aliño — is rubbed over the meat's surface and into the created slashes. The aliño is made from the cumin, salt, pepper and crushed garlic.
The meat is then placed in a refrigerator and allowed to sit for 24 hours. Afterward, the beer or chicha is poured over the pork, which is then returned to the refrigerator to marinate for two more days. The beer will not completely cover the meat, so the leg should be flipped every several hours for an even marinade.
After marinating, the pork usually is baked for two to six hours. It should be flipped once during cooking. The pork usually is basted, or bathed, while cooking.
Butter or lard is mixed with olive oil and annatto seed, and when the beer mixture has all evaporated from the pan, the butter or lard mixture is poured over the meat. Peeled, halved potatoes might be added halfway through the cooking process as a side. The pork juices and marinade add a unique, tasty flavor to the potatoes.
Hornado is served with a variety of sides. In addition to sliced potatoes, it is often served with llapinachos, a type of cheese-stuffed potato pancake, or rice. It also might be served with sliced avocado, lettuce and onions.