This is part of a sponsored collaboration with National Pork Board and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
Special occasions call for special dishes. One of my favorite ways to celebrate love is with a home cooked feast that calls for traditional ingredients. Cochinita pibil, or pibil pork, is a very popular dish in southern Mexico, mainly in the Yucatan peninsula area.
This famous dish is an infusion of Mayan and Spanish cultural influences. Made with an achiote (annatto) paste and citrus marinade, it is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked until tender. This delectable pork dish gets its name “pibil” from the technique used to tenderize and cook the meat. “Pibil” means “bajo tierra”, “underground” in Mayan. A deep underground hole or oven is customarily dug up to cook large amounts of pork meat. It is then topped with hot rocks and cooked for hours until the meat is succulent and ready to shred.
I didn’t dig a hole in my back yard but I did use a heavy cast iron pot to simulate and speed up the heat and cooking process. Made in just under 120 minutes with minimal prep time, this flavorful dish was on my table ready to be devoured.
Cochinita pibil is easy to prepare. With only a few ingredients needed and made with practically any boneless pork cut, this dish can feed a large crowd at a fraction of the cost. It’s so traditional, Cochinita Pibil is the perfect dish to serve at parties and holiday feasts. And because everything is so accessible at your nearest grocery store, this meal can be served as “El Sabor de Hoy” or todays flavor for a casual lunch or dinner.
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- 4 pounds boneless pork loin, chopped in 1 ½ -inch pieces
- 8 oranges, juiced (about 2 cups orange juice)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 12 black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 tablespoon achiote paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup water
- banana leaves
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 6 oranges, juiced (about 1 cup orange juice)
- 1 habanero pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Rinse and drain pork pieces. Place in a large bowl.
- Place orange juice, garlic cloves, cumin, peppercorns, oregano, ground cloves, achiote paste, salt and pepper in a blender container. Blend until smooth.
- Wipe banana leaves clean with a moist paper towel. Arrange at the bottom of a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot, making sure leaves go up and stick out the all sides of the pot.
- Arrange pork pieces in banana leaf-lined pot. Pour orange/achiote mixture over meat, coating evenly. Cover with more banana leaf pieces and fold over any banana leaves sticking out of the pot; cover. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour.
- Add water and cook for 30 minutes more or until meat is fork tender. Transfer meat from pot to a large bowl and let cool enough to be shredded by hand. Shred meat and pour in any liquid left in the pot. Serve with warm tortillas and pickled onions.
- Place sliced onion in a large jar. Add orange juice, habanero pepper and salt. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.