Sunday, 10 February 2013

Cochinita Pibil

Last week I finally got round to cooking some proper Mexican food, something I'd planning for ages. Cochinita pibil was a great place to start, because it's ridiculously easy to make and really rather delicious.

It's a dish of pork, slow roasted in a citrus and achiote marinade until the meat falls apart under the slightest pressure of a fork. The acidity of the marinade slices through the fatty meat like a dream, and the achiote lends gentle, earthy warmth.

In case you were wondering achiote is the Mexican word for annatto which gives the marinade its red colour. You can buy achiote paste, made from annatto seeds with garlic, cumin, allspice and oregano, online from the excellent Cool Chile Co. I also bought corn tortillas, chipotle chillies and Mexican hot chocolate from them, all of which are top quality stuff.

By rights this should be made with a whole suckling pig or at the least a bone in pork shoulder. I went for the quicker and cheaper trial version using a pack of pork shoulder steaks.

You can serve the finished product with rice, beans and salad, or use it, like we did, as a taco meat. I made chipotle salsa (just tomatoes, onion and chipotles), and with bowls of coriander, sour cream, guacamole and lime wedges the self assembly line was ready to go. If I did this again I'd probably ditch the sour cream and guac (unless it was home made) and opt for a crumbly, lactic cheese like Feta or maybe Wensleydale instead. You'll also need cold beer, I drank Meantime London pale ale with this which went down a treat.

There are loads of cochinita pibil recipes online, but it's so simple you don't really need to follow one properly. Here's what I did.

What you'll need

800g pork shoulder steaks
2 large oranges
1 lime
50g achiote paste
1/2 teaspoon salt

What to do

Set the oven to 150 degrees centigrade. Put the pork in a casserole with a tight fitting lid (if you haven't got a lid then covering it with foil will do). Juice the oranges and lime then pour the juice over the pork and add the achiote paste and salt. Give everything a good stir then put the lid on or cover with foil. Bake in the oven for three hours (check it after two and a half).

The pork is done when you can easily shred the meat with a fork. To serve shred the meat and pour over the juices from the pot. When you've done you should end up with a big bowlful of loveliness like the one above.

1 comment:

Senka I said...


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