Cochinita Pibil, Yucatecan slow roast pork is super easy. Serve up with a little rice and beans, and you'll have a ton of food to feed a big crowd. Also includes recipes for pickled onions and habanero salsa.
6ouncesachiote seasoning(make it yourself, or El Yucateco is a common brand)
3/4cupsfresh lime juice
One1 pound packagebanana leavesdefrosted
Pickled red onionsfor serving (recipe below)
Habanero salsafor serving (recipe below)
Cebollas Curtidas - Pickled Onions:
1largered onionpeeled and cut in half
1/4cupfresh lime juice
Salsa de Chile Habanero - Habanero Salsa
12wholehabanero chilesstems removed
1cupfresh lime juice
Marinating the pork:
Line your roasting pan with half of the banana leaves, leaving a 6-inch overhang on all the edges. Fit the pieces of pork into the bottom of the pan.
Prepare the marinade by breaking the achiote into pieces, dropping them into a blender jar, adding the lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt; blend until the mixture is a smooth thickish marinade.
Pour the achiote mixture over the pork, spreading it evenly to coat all surfaces (I recommend you wear latex gloves, since achiote will strain your hands red).
Set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Cooking the pork:
Preheat oven to 200°F (93°C).
Fold the overhanging banana leaves in over the pork, then use the remaining banana leaves to cover the pork completely. Pour about 3/4-quart of water over the leaves—it will collect in the bottom of the pan and should be about 1 inch deep.
Cover roasting pan with a foil tent, which will keep the moisture in. Place in oven and roast slowly three to 6 hours. After 3 hours have passed, check pork every 30 minutes – remove from oven when it reaches fall-off-the-bone tenderness. If you like you can set a meat thermometer in the pork – the fork-tender meat should be between 150 and 165 degrees when done.
Serving the pork:
Remove the pan from the oven. Pull meat from bone, coarsely shredding it into baking pans, and then slide all the meat, covered with foil, into a low oven, until you’re ready to serve (it will hold for an hour or two).
Set the roasting pan on the stove over high heat (on all burners) and boil the juices until they’re as rich as you like (usually I reduce them by half their original quantity). Taste and season with salt.
Serve with meat on a big, deep, beautiful platter with pleanty of steaming hot corn tortillas, black beans, pickled red onions and habanero salsa.
Cebollas Curtidas - Pickled Onions:
Thinly slice the onion (this can be done using a food processor fitted with a thin slicing blade). Scoop the onion into a heat-proof, non-reactive bowl. Pour boiling water over it, wait 10 seconds, then pour the onion into a large strainer. Return the drained onion to the bowl, pour on the lime juice and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and place in the refrigerator until serving time. Before serving, taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary.
Salsa de Chile Habanero - Habanero Salsa:
Set an ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lay in the unpeeled garlic and the chiles. Roast, turning frequently, until soft and blotchy brown in spots, about 5 minutes for the chiles, 10 to 15 minutes for the garlic. Cool until handleable, then slip the skins off the garlic.
Place the garlic in a food processor. With the motor running, drop in the chiles one after another. When all are in, continue processing for about 20 seconds, then add the lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons of water. Continue processing until smooth; the habanero salsa should be the consistency of an American hot sauce.