Cochinita Pibil

This is one of the most famous dishes from the Yucatan region in Mexico. Pibil means pit and traditionally you wrap meat in a banana leaf with seasoned with Recado Colorado and then cooked in a pit in the ground.

My inspiration for this recipe is from the excellent Mayan Cuisine by Daniel Hoyer but the most legendary description of this dish is probably Robert Rodriguez movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico where agent Sheldon Sands have Cochinita Pibil as his favourite dish. Robert Rodriguez has even made a ten minute cooking school where he describes how to do this dish, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrw5FkLutWk.

With the Cochinita Pibil I served a simple fresh salsa with habanera chili, tomatoes, fresh onion, orange, lime and koriander.

I also had pickled red onion, guacamole (seasoned with cumin), fresh corn tortillas and black beans on the side.

You will need

  • Pork shoulder. Cut in pieces.
  • Recado Colorado.
  • Garlic cloves. Peeled.
  • Onion. Peeled and cut in rough pieces.
  • All spice. Roasted and ground.
  • Oregano. (Preferable Mexican).
  • Cumin seeds. Roasted and ground.
  • Black pepper. Ground.
  • Bay leaves. Toasted.
  • Sour orange juice or a mix of ordinary orange juice, lime juice and grape juice.
  • Vinegar.
  • Habanero. Stems removed. Keep some seeds for kicks.
  • Vegetable oil.
  • Salt.
  • Banana leaves or tin foil.

Do like this

  1. Mix everything except the meat and the banana leaves in a blender to a smooth, slightly runny paste.
  2. Marinate the meat with the paste for about 4 hours.
  3. Wrap the meat and the paste in banana leaves or tin foil and put it in a oven proof tray.
  4. Put the tray in a 150 C oven for about 4 hours until the meat is fork tender.
  5. Remove the meat from the oven and let it cool for a while.
  6. Serve the meat as tacos.

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