Sunday, June 4, 2023

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Cochinita Pibil – Stefan’s Connoisseur Weblog

Our current trip within the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico was additionally a culinary introduction to Mayan delicacies (which is definitely fusion between pre-Columbian Mayan delicacies and Spanish delicacies). Probably the most well-known Mayan dishes is Cochinita Pibil. Cochinita is Spanish for feminine suckling pig. Pibil is Mayan for “buried in a gap within the floor” and refers to a Mayan cooking strategy of steaming meals by wrapping it in banana leaves and than burying it with smoldering wooden to steam it. This will take days.

The pork is first marinated with recado rojo. Recado means spice combine, and rojo means that it’s the crimson selection (there may be additionally white and black recado, for instance). The crimson comes from annatto seeds, which might be harvested from achiote shrubs. The paste of the seeds is subsequently often known as achiote paste. This paste is diluted with bitter orange juice and vinegar, and enriched with garlic, oregano, cumin, allspice, and black pepper. It could additionally embody cinnamon and cloves. You possibly can prepare dinner the pork with simply the store-bought achiote paste, as was executed by Richard, however I assumed that including the spices to the paste made it extra flavorful and balanced out the flavour of the annatto.

Bitter oranges are used for the whole lot in Mayan delicacies. It’s also often known as Seville orange or bitter orange. It is just out there in winter and could be laborious to seek out outdoors of Mexico. You possibly can substitute it with a combination of standard orange juice and lime juice, as a result of it’s much less candy than common orange juice, however much less bitter than lime juice.

You possibly can in fact dig a gap in your yard, make a hearth in it, and prepare dinner the pork in there, however I assumed utilizing sous vide was a extra sensible. I’ve used banana leaves as properly and it seems to be good for serving, however I don’t suppose it provides important taste or aroma, so you could possibly simply omit the banana leaves should you don’t have them. I make a big batch of 16 parts without delay and prepare dinner them in 8 luggage of two parts every. That is hardly extra work than getting ready 1 portion, and it’s rather more environment friendly to prepare dinner 8 parts without delay and freeze them to be reheated, because the sous vide cooking takes 24 hours.


For the pork and marinade

  • 2.25 kilos (5 lbs) pork shoulder or neck (pork butt)
  • 150 grams achiote paste
  • 250 ml (1 cup) bitter orange juice, or substitute with a combination of standard freshly squeezed orange juice and lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp apple cidre vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 30 grams salt (about 4 tsp desk salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 items allspice
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) chopped onion
  • banana leaves (elective)
  • tender corn tortillas (for serving)

For the habanero salsa

  • 4 habaneros
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) bitter orange juice (or substitute with a combination of standard freshly squeezed orange juice and lime juice)
  • 1 tsp desk salt
  • 4 garlic cloves

For the pickled crimson onions

  • 300 grams (3 cups) sliced crimson onions
  • 1/2 Tbsp desk salt
  • Bitter orange juice to cowl the onions (or substitute with common freshly squeezed orange juice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly floor black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly floor allspice

To serve

Directions for the cochinita pibil

I used blood oranges as a substitute of standard oranges, as they’re extra like bitter oranges. I nonetheless added some lime juice as properly. The crimson shade doesn’t harm, because the spice combine is meant to be crimson anyway.

Toast 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds within the oven at 180C/350F till they begin to darken, about 5 minutes.

Toast 4 garlic cloves within the oven at 180C/350F as properly. They want a bit extra time and shouldn’t burn.

I had introduced a field of La Further achiote paste from Mexico, which turns out to be useful parts of 25 grams. The model La Yucateca has the perfect repute, however surprisingly sufficient it was not out there on the grocery store in Yucatán the place I appeared for it.

Use a spice grinder to grind 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano, the toasted cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns and three items allspice…

…right into a nice powder.

Mix 150 grams achiote paste with 250 ml juice and three Tbsp apple cidre vinegar.

Add the bottom spices, 30 grams of salt, and 50 grams of chopped onion.

Puree this with a blender. (You might want to use a extra slender container than I did to stop making a multitude.)

Minimize 2.25 kilos of pork into cubes of about 5 cm (2 inches). Place them in a bowl, and add the marinade.

Stir properly to coat the meat with the marinade on all sides. Cowl and refrigerate, and permit to marinate for a minimum of a number of hours, however ideally in a single day.

When the meat has completed marinating, take it out of the marinade, shake off extra marinade, wrap it in banana leaves (elective), and vacuum seal. The meat must be coated in marinade, however don’t embody an excessive amount of of the marinade, as a result of we can be mixing the juices from the bag with the pulled meat, and utilizing all the marinade would make it too sturdy.

Vacuum seal the meat in parts to your liking. I made 8 parts of about 300 grams every, sufficient to serve 2.

Prepare dinner the pork sous vide for about 24 hours at 74C/165F.

After cooking sous vide the cochinita pibil could be served without delay, or chilled and frozen for later use. If the package deal is flat like I did, you’ll be able to put it within the sous vide for 1 hour at 74C/165F to defrost and reheat it. (A thicker package deal will take extra time.)

Directions for the pickled crimson onions

Peel the onions, minimize them in half, and slice them.

Put the onions in a container and blend them with 1/2 tablespoon desk salt, 2 bay leaves, 1/4 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly floor allspice. Cowl with bitter orange juice, or a combination of standard orange juice and lime juice. (The ingredient picture exhibits solely lime juice, however that can make the onions too bitter.) Permit to marinate at room temperature for a minimum of an hour.

Directions for the habanero salsa

Toast 4 habanero peppers and 4 garlic cloves till the peppers are blistered and the garlic is tender (however not burnt).

You possibly can take away the seeds to make the salsa much less sizzling. I do that with teaspoons to keep away from touching the peppers with my fingers. If you happen to do contact them along with your fingers, make certain to wash your arms properly earlier than touching different bodyparts (particularly if you’re male and must go to the lavatory).

Place the roasted habaneros and garlic in a blender with 80 ml of bitter orange juice (or a combination of standard orange juice and lime juice; once more simply utilizing lime juice will make it too bitter) and 1/2 tablespoon of salt.

Puree till clean.

Put it in a bowl. This may maintain properly within the fridge for fairly a while, and a little bit goes a great distance. It’s fairly spicy, so the recommendation is to use it by the drop.

Directions for serving

Open a bag of sous vided cochinita pibil and pour the liquid right into a saucepan.

Pull the meat with two forks.

Convey the liquid to a boil and permit to cut back considerably.

Add the pulled meat, then flip off the warmth without delay to stop drying out the meat.

Stir till the meat has absorbed a lot of the liquid. Style and regulate the seasoning with salt.

Serve the cochinita pibil with pickled onions, habanero salsa, refried beans, and tender corn tortillas.

Everybody could make their very own tacos. In Mexico the tacos have been normally served with simply the meat and all the opposite stuff on the aspect.

Wine pairing

That is nice with a medium-bodied crimson wine that’s spicy with low tannins, reminiscent of a Zweigelt from Austria.


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