Cochinita Pibil (CC photo by ecollins93 courtesy of Flickr)
Cochinita pibil, a slow-roasteddish, originates in the southern , specifically the Yucatan Peninsula, comprising the states of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo. Traditional Yucatan as we know it today arises from the fusion of early European influences with native Mayan and preparation techniques. For example, resulted from the succulent combination of Spanish with pre-Hispanic Spices and cooking methods.
Traditionally, this dish involves marinating cochinita, which is literally baby pig (shoulder, loin, or Boston butt roast can be used instead), in the juice of Seville or bitter oranges, coloring it with achiote (annatto seed), wrapping it in a banana leaf, and then slowly roasting it over hot stones underground. Such preparation is thus well-summarized by the descriptive Mayan name “ ” which basically means “baby pig roasted under the ground”. The tender, flavorful results both from marinating it for at least 8 hours in highly acidic juice and slowly cooking it for hours. Since bitter oranges aren’t always available, you can combine lemon or lime juice with orange juice to achieve the same results. The achiote gives it’s characteristic color and is best if added in paste form, which is made from grinding the achiote (or annatto) seeds along with other spices.
A firey, pickled onion-is the vital condiment that must be served with , whether enjoyed in tacos or tortas (sandwiches).
- 1 1/2 Cups Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
- 1 1/2 Cups Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
- 90 grams Achiote Condimentado Paste
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- Salt to Taste
- Pepper to Taste
- 2-3 Tablespoons Chicken Bouillon Powder, optional
- 3 lbs. Pork Shoulder or Loin
- 2-4 Large Banana Leaves
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil or Melted Lard
- 6 Chiles
- 2 Cups Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
- 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
- Salt to Taste
Dilute the achiote paste in the lime and orange juice. Add salt and pepper to taste as well asbouillon if desired. Cut the into stew-sized pieces. Marinate the in the achiote-juice mixture in a covered dish in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Marinating is essential to succes, so this step cannot be skipped.
Toast thein a skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat and cool. Finely chop the , and add the onion, lime and orange juice. Add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving with the .
Wrap and Roasting Directions:
Pre heat oven to 325 degress Farenheit.
To prepare the banana leaves, hold them over a gas burner or put them in a skillet over medium heat. Heat them until they can change color a bit and soften. This prevents them from tearing when you wrap thein them. Be careful not to overtoast them or they’ll become brittle.
In a rectangular pan, lay a banana leaf lenghtwise and another along its width. Place the marinated, pouring all the on top of it, on the leaves and pour the oil or melted lard over the . Fold the banana leaves over the and flip the wrapped seam-side down in the pan. Make sure the leaves are moist so they won’t burn. Cover with foil. (Some people just choose to cover the with foil without the banana leaves because they think they are just for show. However, the leaves do add their own unique, subtle flavor to the , so don’t skip this step either).
Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil. Theshould be very tender and fall apart easily when pulled with a fork. If not, return to the oven and cook until tender. Shred with 2 forks when done.
Serve thewith warm tortillas and eat style. If prefered, serve it sandwich-style on warm . In either case, don’t forget the pickled onion- !
Posted by Lindsay