Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil - Achiote & Citrus Marinated Pork Roasted in Banana Leaves

Anytime food has a cool story, it makes it all the more interesting to cook.  Cochinita Pibil is one of my favorite traditional tacos from the Yucatan region of Mexico.  In this preparation, pork is marinated with citrus juice (traditionally, it is sour orange juice, but I demonstrate the adaptation in this recipe), achiote paste (a paste made from anatto seeds), aromatic spices, and slow roasted in banana leaves. Traditionally, suckling pigs are prepared in this manner and roasted in the ground.  It is traditionally served with tortillas, refried black beans, salsa and pickled red onions.  I also enjoy mine with queso fresco (pictured).

This is a very special preparation for any Cinco de Mayo feast.  If you are into food, and ethnic markets, it’s a great excuse to take a trip to your local Latin store (I shopped at La Bodega here in Sarasota) for special ingredients.  If they have fresh tortillas, make sure you grab a couple of packages to go with these heavenly tacos!

Cochinita Pibil

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Makes about 4 pounds

1 Cup, Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
½ Cup, Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 Oz., Achiote Paste
10 Cloves, Garlic
1 Each, Sweet Onion, Sliced
2 Tbs., Mexican Oregano
1 tsp., Cumin, Ground
1 tsp., Cinnamon, Ground
½ tsp., Cloves, Ground
½ tsp., Allspice, Ground
1 Tbs., Kosher Salt
1 tsp., Freshly Ground Black Pepper

5#, Pork Butt, 2-3” Cubes

As Needed, Banana Leaves

Method:

  • Combine the first set of ingredients (citrus juice, achiote paste, garlic, onion, spices) in a blender, and process until smooth
  • Place the cubed pork butt in a large mixing bowl
  • Combine with the marinade, mix well
  • Line a large roasting pan with banana leaves
  • Transfer the meat into the banana leaf-lined pan, pouring extra marinade over the top
  • Cover the top with banana leaves
  • Refrigerate over night and allow to marinate

 

  • The next day…
  • Preheat oven to 300℉
  • Place the pan of meat in the oven for 4 hours, or until the meat easily pulls apart
  • Remove the meat from the oven, and allow to cool at room temperature until you can handle it
  • Shred the meat, and cover with juice left from the cooking process

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