cochinita pibil



Served at the Layers Viand, 5.12.2007 by Chef Pteri

Marinate the pork overnight on evening 1. Start slow cooking the pork on day 2 in the afternoon. Make the pickled onions while the meat is cooking.

Total time: About 1 hour plus marinating and baking time
Servings: 8 to 10

Note: Adapted from chef Jimmy Shaw of Lotería Grill. Look for La Perla brand achiote paste, which — along with banana leaves — is available at Latino markets such as Liborio stores.

2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
4 ounces fresh orange juice
4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
4 1/2 pounds pork butt of cushion
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
3 ounces achiote paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
7 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 pound banana leaves, previously frozen and thawed (I used fresh ones)
2 large red onions, thinly sliced, divided
5 bay leaves
2 habañero peppers , thinly sliced (I didn’t use these)

1. In a bowl, mix the lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice and grapefruit juice and set aside.

2. Cut the pork into 10 to 12 pieces. Rub the pieces lightly with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside in a large plastic-covered bowl.

3. In a blender, mix the achiote paste, thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, garlic, pepper, cumin, paprika and 1 teaspoon salt, and blend with all but 3 tablespoons of the juice (set this aside for pickling the onions). Strain and pour the marinade on the meat. Marinate in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 4 to 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.

4. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover the bottom and sides of a Dutch oven with the banana leaves, overlapping the leaves and letting them spill over the sides of the pot.

5. Place the meat in the pot and cover with half the sliced red onion and the bay leaves. Pour in the remaining marinade and cover the pork with a loose portion of the banana leaves. Fold over the banana leaves that spilled over the sides of the pot to wrap the meat. Cover the top of the pot with foil and the lid.

6. Place in the oven and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is soft. Remove from the oven to let stand covered for another hour or so.

7. While the meat is cooking, prepare the citrus-pickled red onions. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining sliced onions with the sliced habañeros. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons mixed citrus juices, the remaining one-fourth teaspoon oregano, one-fourth teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for a few hours before using.

8. Finely shred the meat with a fork, cover with pan sauces and serve with warm tortillas and pickled onion (recipe below).

Pickled onions

1 large (or 1 1/2 medium) red onion, cut into 1/4 -inch dice
2 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt

In a bowl, combine the onions, vinegar and salt with three-eighths cup water; let stand for 2 hours. Drain and serve with cochinita pibil.