Cochinita Pibil, Yucatan
Since we are spending so much time at home right now you might be getting you into the Mayan cuisine with this Yucatán classic dish: cochinita pibil.
This traditional Mayan dish will take a while, but the results are finger licking good. Suckling pig (cochinita), marinated in citrus juice, garlic and an achiote paste, wrapped in banana leaves, buried in a traditional Mayan underground pit called pib and roasted slowly for many hours.
Every family has their recipe, so here is a slight variation adapted for use without an underground pit.
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt (if wrapping in a banana leaf, leave whole; if using a Dutch oven or slow cooker, cut into more manageable pieces)
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- ¾ cup fresh lime juice, from about 6 limes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4–5 tablespoons achiote paste, to preference
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2–3 large banana leaves
- Butcher’s twine
- Cilantro, for garnish
- Corn tortillas, for serving
Preparation:1. Place pork in a deep baking dish or roasting pan and allow coming to room temperature.
2. To make the marinade, combine the citrus juices, achiote, garlic and salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour over meat, and coat thoroughly with your hands. Let rest for at least one hour.
3. While meat is marinating, make the pickled onions. In a medium bowl, combine the diced red onion, peppercorns, ½ teaspoon salt, sugar, and vinegar. Let sit in the fridge, stirring occasionally until ready to use.
4. Preheat oven to 325 °F. Lay clean banana leaves in an overlapping pattern and place the marinated meat in the center, and top with bay leaves. Fold banana leaves up and over the meat, forming a tight parcel; secure with butcher’s twine and return to roasting pan. Cover with foil.
5. Bake pork for 3–4 hours, periodically checking through the leaves.
6. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Shred meat using two forks (mix in any remaining braising liquid if it seems a little dry).
7. Serve immediately with pickled onions, cilantro, and tortillas on the side.