Cochinita pibil, puerco pibil or Mexican pit-pork is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán.
Preparation of traditional cochinita or puerco pibil involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, colouring it with annatto seed, and roasting the meat while it is wrapped in banana leaf. Tin foil now provides a modern substitute. Traditionally, cochinita pibil was buried in a pit with a fire at the bottom to roast it. The Mayan word "pibil" means "buried".
Grind to a powder
- 2.5 tablespoons annatto seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1.5 teaspoons peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice powder or 8 allspice berries
- 5 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 Scotch bonnet chili peppers (or chillies of choice)
- 80 ml orange juice
- 80 ml red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (30 ml) salt
- 8 Cloves of garlic, peeled.
- juice of 3 lemons
- splash of tequila
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.3 kg pork shoulder
- Add the spices to a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a powder.
- De-seed and roughly chop the chillies
- Add the onion, garlic, chillies, citrus juices, vinegar, salt and spice powder to a blender and liquidise.
- Remove and discard the pork rind and cut the pork into 5cm (2") cubes. Retain some of the fat.
- Place the marinade ,bay leaves and the pork in a large lock and lock box or Tupperware container, shake well and refrigerate for 24 hours, mixing now and then.
- For a little extra flavour, quarter the juiced lemons and add then to the marinade, discard before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 160° C (325° F - gas 3) (see Chef's note)
- Line a large roasting tin with a large sheet of tin-foil.
- Add the meat and marinade and seal with the tin-foil. Banana leaves can be used here, though it is still an idea to use tin-foil to provide a really good seal.
- Roast for 4.5 hours.
- Remove the meat and rest for 15 minutes.
- Shred with a fork.
When we had this, somewhat unconventionally, we treated Cochinita pibil as you would Peking duck. Shred the pork, serve with julienned spring onions, julienned cucumber, green salad, halved flour tortillas, sour cream, garlic mayonnaise and a variety of Chinese sauces such as plum sauce, hoisin sauce etc. Spread a tortilla with dips of your choice, add a little salad and shredded pork, roll up and devour. An absolute and total success!
The fourth time I cooked this, we ate half of it 'Chinese style' and made a wonderful curry with the second half. Just fried up some onions, celery, garlic with my favourite curry paste, added a can of coconut milk and a can of chick-peas simmered it for an hour or so and served it with rice and peas. That stretched it out for another 2 days!
If you have made the dish very (chili) hot, it's probably a good idea to separate the meat from the sauce before shredding the meat and serve the sauce separately. For the sake of you heart, leave it to settle for a bit then drain most of the fat off. It will be just as delicious, but much better for you.
Having made this a number of times, I now follow Jamie Oliver's idea for cooking slow roast lamb, let the oven reach its highest setting, the moment you put the meat in the oven, reduce the heat to 160° C (325° F - gas 3).
No chillies in authentic Mexican cochinita pibil
You can avoid using chilli, in Mexico, Cochinita Pibil is not hot at all, we don't use any chilli. -- User:Myrna_Amor_Miranda
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