ORIGINAL RECIPE FOR COCHINITA PIBIL
We are trying to keep some Mexican dishes in our regular menu so that Jaime can enjoy some tacos or gringas from time to time. But a week ago he wished to make something called cochinita pibil. I had no clue what should that be or even more, how to make it. He just said we need to get some achiote (Mexican spice) from the international market (in Zagreb you can find things like this in Pekinška patka in Vlaška ulica).
His mom is an excellent cook, so – rather than searching for it online – we turned to her for help. Jaime received detailed explanations what and how he needs to do and he was ready to start cooking. Is there anything better than mastering your family recipe?
To begin with, you can make your own tortillas – they are the best if they are homemade, of course. However, here in Croatia I am struggling with finding a good flour to make corn ones and they usually look and taste like nothing. Therefore, I buy tortillas. Our favorites are the ones from Interspar – they are the thinnest and the best value for money tortillas you can find in Croatia. If they would have smaller taco tortillas as well, I would probably stop thinking about making them at home.
Day 1: MARINATING
Once we decided which tortillas we are going to use, the preparation could have started. Cochinita pibil is truly easy dish to make, but it takes time. Three days of time, to be more exact. The first day is all about marinating! You need to clean pork loins from fat, cut it into pieces, around 5 cm thick, and place into a bowl in which you are going to marinate. It would be the best if you had some glass bowl with a topper, so you could close it well and leave in the fridge overnight.
Chop the garlic cloves and put them together with meat, as well as spices like salt, pepper, and onion. Melt 1/3 of achiote in 0,5 dl of hot water and mixed with juice squeezed from oranges. That is your marinade. There is nothing more needed so do not add any water. If you need more liquid, add more orange juice only. Pour marinade into a bowl where you placed the meat and mix it through well. Close well the bowl – with a topper or plastic film and leave it in the fridge overnight.
Day 2: COOKING
The second day is a cooking day. Your meat is nicely marinated and ready for cooking. Pour marinade and meat into a cooking pot and bring it to the boil. When it boils, lower the heat and cook for 45 minutes, or until meat softens. Once cooked, take the meat out, but do not throw marinade because you will still need it.
Let it cool a bit and separate your cooked meat using two forks, pushing the meat from the center outwards. Discard any fat and be careful not to over-shred it. Place shredded pork back into a bowl and pour in the marinade. Add spices to taste. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge for another night.
Day 3: FRYING
The final day has come! First of all, you need to take out the meat from the fridge and put it into a skillet together with marinade. You don’t need to add any oil, just cook it on low heat for approximately 30 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates.
While meat is frying, cut the onions and peppers and marinate them with lime juice and salt. Once meat is ready, heat up tortillas on a hot pan or in a microwave (make sure to put a glass of water next to tortillas – otherwise they would get dry). Serve warm tortillas filled with pork, onions and coriander leaves. Add some yummy guacamole for better taste.
- 800 g pork loin
- 1/3 of achiote package
- 0,5 dcl hot water
- 2 1/2 oranges
- 4 cloves garlic
- salt, pepper, onion powder
- 1 purple onion
- 1 lime
- 2 habanero peppers
- 8 corn tortillas
- Clean the meat from fat and cut into pieces 5 cm thick. Place the meat into a bowl, preferably the one made from glass and with the topper. Chop the garlic into small pieces and add it to the meat. Add some salt, pepper and powdered onion.
- Melt achiote into hot water. Squeeze the juice from oranges, mix it with achiote and pour in the bowl where the meat is. Make sure that everything is covered and mixed well. Close the bowl and leave it in the fridge to marinate overnight.
- Second day, pour marinade and meat into a pot and bring it to boil. When it boils, lower the heat and cook for 45 minutes, or until meat softens. Take the meat out, but do not throw marinade, you will still need it.
- Let it cool a bit and separate your cooked meat using two forks, pushing the meat from the center outwards. Discard any fat and be careful not to over-shred it.
- Place shredded pork back into a bowl and pour in the marinade. Add spices to taste. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge for another night.
- Take out the meat and put it into a skillet together with marinade. You don't need to add any oil, just cook it on low heat for approximately 30 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates.
- Cut the onions and peppers and marinate them with lime juice and salt.
- Heat up tortillas on hot pan. Serve warm tortillas filled with pork, onions and coriander leaves. Add some guacamole for better taste.
Did you ever try cochinita pibil? If not, which Mexican dish is your favorite?
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