I decided to make Cochinita Pibil the other night. It’s a slow-cooked pork dish that originates in the Yucatan peninsula. The recipe came from the Fonda San Miguel cookbook which is a favorite of mine. It took forever, but I have some ideas on how to shorten the process.
I started with achiote seeds. Next time, I will buy achiote paste. You soak the seeds in vinegar for an hour and then grind them in a mortar and pestle. Except I don’t have one and they really are hard as rocks. I tried just smashing them with random kitchen implements and finally Steven took pity on me and started chopping them.
You make a marinade with the achiote paste, garlic, orange juice and vinegar and let the pork marinate. I bought a 4 pound pork shoulder and chopped it into cubes myself. Next time I will buy cubed pork because it took for freaking ever and I don’t have knives good enough to do home butchering.
While the pork is marinating, you make red onion pickles - slices of red onion, garlic and spices in vinegar. They turn bright red and are the traditional accompaniment to the dish.
I lined a dutch oven with fresh banana leaves (you have those at your local grocery store, right? No? Me neither. This recipe required a special trip to Fiesta. Wow, they have wonderful produce and a really great fish section.
You put the pork on the banana leaves and top it with a mixture of tomatoes and onions cooked w/ a little of the achiote paste. Wrap banana leaves on top, cover it and stick it in the oven for a long time.
Serve with rice and corn tortillas.
It was amazing. It made the whole house smell wonderful and next time it will not require several days of prep. Oh yes, there will be a next time. Yum!