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Roasted Pork Leg – Costa Rica

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This roasted pork leg, or ham hock, combines a traditional Costa Rican sauce with tropical fruits for a delicious Christmas or New Year’s dish typically served at midnight.

About This Recipe

Christmas in Costa Rica is a magical time of gorgeous tropical heat, perfect cool breezes in the evening, and lots of focus on the Christchild and time with family.

On the night of the 24th, this Costa Rican roasted pork leg is generally served around midnight, after Mass and before opening presents. In Costa Rica, the Christmas celebration is all about the 24th- the 25th is for rest.

This recipe is probably typically served on the 24th because it takes a long day of cooking to prepare. After marinating for several days, this pork shank is slow-cooked in a delicious homemade salsa and then roasted to perfection. You’ll have to try it to believe the flavor!

This one is a little extra brown, but still delicious!

Related post: Christmas In Costa Rica

Costa Rican Roasted Pork Leg Recipe

Printable recipe below

Ingredients

  • Bone in pork leg 5-10 lbs (called a ham hock or pork shank in the US)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 clove of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into large pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 leek
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Two days before cooking, clean off excess fat from the pork leg and stab it a few times. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to sit overnight.

One day before cooking, in a large saucepan add the chicken broth, onion, garlic, carrot, leek and celery, cooking on high until the chicken broth has been reduced by half.

Add cumin, oregano, pineapple, cloves, cinnamon and orange juice. Boil for about 5 minutes.

Remove the cloves and blend the entire mixture on high until very well incorporated. Rub the meat with the mixture, and excess can go into the marinating pan.

In a large plastic bag or a roasting pan, put the marinated pork leg into the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, rotating every 4 hours if possible.

On the morning you will serve the pork leg, remove it from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature for about an hour.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the pork leg into a roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 8 hours.

Remove the aluminum foil and roast for 45 additional minutes until golden brown.

Related post: Costa Rican Tamales Recipe- Receta Tamal de Puerco de Costa Rica

Substitutions

You could substitute a pork shoulder for the ham hock. You could use pineapple juice instead of orange. White onion instead of yellow.

Variations

This pork leg bakes for a loooong time. Because of that, you can put it in the slow cooker on high overnight and then roast it for 45 minutes in the oven at 350.

You could also put this into the instant pot or pressure cooker on high for 1 hour, and then roast it in the oven.

Related post:

Serving Suggestions

This recipe is traditionally served with lots of Salsa Lizano, Costa Rican white rice, Costa Rican black beans, a Costa Rican salad and Costa Rican Christmas cake for dessert. This recipe is served late in the evening of December 24th.

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Yield: 8 servings

Costa Rican Roasted Pork Leg

Costa Rican Roasted Pork Leg

This roasted pork leg, or ham hock, combines a traditional Costa Rican sauce with tropical fruits for a delicious Christmas or New Year's dish typically served at midnight.

Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 8 hours
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 day 8 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • Pork leg 5-10 lbs (called a ham hock in the US)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 clove of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into large pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 leek
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Two days before cooking, clean off excess fat from the pork leg and stab it a few times. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to sit overnight.
  2. One day before cooking, in a large saucepan add the chicken broth, onion, garlic, carrot, leek and celery, cooking on high until the chicken broth has been reduced by half.
  3. Add cumin, oregano, pineapple, cloves, cinnamon and orange juice. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the cloves and blend the entire mixture on high until very well incorporated. Rub the meat with the mixture, and excess can go into the marinating pan.
  5. In a large plastic bag or a roasting pan, put the marinated pork leg into the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, rotating every 4 hours if possible.
  6. On the morning you will serve the pork leg, remove it from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature for about an hour.
  7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the pork leg into a roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 8 hours.
  8. Remove the aluminum foil and roast for 45 additional minutes until golden brown.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 513Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 2gSugar: 47gProtein: 6g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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About the Author

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Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, travel and language. I’m a mom of two Latinas, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here

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