One-Pot Wonders

Cochinita Pibil

by:
February 24, 2010
3 Ratings
Author Notes

20 years ago, before the Costa Maya was even a twinkle in the Mexican tourist industries eye, my husband and I would go to a little restaurant in Cancun called Los Almendros - it was by the bull ring under a giant almond tree. They had real Yucatecan cuisine, panuchos and pavo en kol Indio and, best of all, cochinita pibil - my husband's absolute favorite. We forgo Cancun and head straight to Akumal these days, so I don't know if Los Almendros is still there, but we still make the cochinita now and again ... This dish is made with an inexpensive cut of meat and a few seasonings. Two important points 1) do not trim all of the fat, it adds a ton of flavor and 2) cook it low and slow - really pretty much the longer the better. Round out your meal with black beans and fresh corn tortillas and you have peasant food fit for a king. —aargersi

  • Serves 6 to 8 with leftovers
Ingredients
  • Cochinita Pibil
  • 1 3-4 pound pork shoulder
  • 1/2 3.5 oz box of achiote paste (available in Latin markets or online)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 5-6 garlic cloves peeled and kind of crushed
  • 1 medium yellow onion - peeled and sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 limes - juice and zest
  • 1 big handful of cilantro
  • Pickled Onions (these are the same ones that go in the beef cheek tacos)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 of a beet
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 part water to 2 parts cider vinegar
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Cochinita Pibil
  2. Cut any big giant hunks of fat from the pork shoulder, but leave SOME of it for flavor. Dissolve the achiote paste in water. Marinate the pork shoulder with the achiote, orange juice, cumin and half the garlic - this should marinate for 2-3 hours.
  3. Heat the oven to 250. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat it dry. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, and brown the pork - it will only get just so brown what with the fat melting and the residual marinade - that's OK. Add the onions and brown them a bit too.
  4. Dump the marinade back in and add the broth, lime and cilantro. Braise it low and slow for 3-4 hours - until it is falling apart and you don't even need to think about using a knife.
  5. Serve with refried black beans, additional limes and cilantro, corn tortillas and pickled onions (recipe to follow)
  1. Pickled Onions (these are the same ones that go in the beef cheek tacos)
  2. Slice the onions very thinly and put them in a microwaveable container. Add the beet, cilantro, salt and sugar. Cover everything with 1 part water to 2 parts vingar.
  3. microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for another minute. Cool, then refridgerate overnight.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mrslarkin
    mrslarkin
  • boulangere
    boulangere
  • gingerroot
    gingerroot
  • wssmom
    wssmom
  • Andy
    Andy
I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage https://www.etsy.com/shop/AbbiesGarage?ref=search_shop_redirect

    20 Reviews

    mrslarkin May 14, 2011
    holy cow! this looks and sounds amazing. It's a 3 to 4 lb. hunk, right aargersi?
     
    Author Comment
    aargersi May 14, 2011
    Good Morning Mrs L! Yeah I usually get a hunk ... but it's falling apart by the end anyways so separate chunks will work too
     
    boulangere May 14, 2011
    I've a pork shoulder lurking the freezer waiting for something interesting to come along, and I think this is it. And here are those famous pickled onions again. Interesting project for this week at work. Thank you!
     
    Author Comment
    aargersi May 14, 2011
    And flan for dessert! :-)
     
    gingerroot May 13, 2011
    This sounds SO good.
     
    wssmom May 13, 2011
    Oh, yum. Yum yum.
     
    Andy November 10, 2010
    Excellent recipe! I have served this dish at tailgates and at dinner parties with equal success. I've also received the greatest compliments from my Yucatecan friends. Ever notice how impressed your foreign friends are when you can cook one of their native dishes?
     
    thirschfeld March 30, 2010
    I was going to do a recipe I develped that is real similar to this tomorrow. This looks sooo good I think I am going to shift course and go another route.
     
    thirschfeld March 30, 2010
    I do the pickled onions too but I just lime pickle them. Squeeze juice of lime over thinly sliced red onions and let the sit for 20 mins or so. Vibrant pink.
     
    Author Comment
    aargersi March 30, 2010
    You should post yours too - more is better! I will try your pickling method too ... one must have lots of options for everything, yes?
     
    Loves F. March 30, 2010
    I love both your ideas for pickled onions, definitely going to try that out!
     
    Loves F. March 29, 2010
    I'm so excited about this contest... I'll be the one not submitting a recipe, but lurking on the pages of everyone else's recipes... including this one... can't wait to make it!
     
    dymnyno March 9, 2010
    I am making this one very soon...I love all the flavors and I also love the sides. (plus another use for my over abundant orange trees)
     
    Author Comment
    aargersi March 18, 2010
    I meant to reply to this earlier - I am jealous of your oranges! Let me know what you think if you get a chance to make this!!!
     
    gabrielaskitchen March 2, 2010
    Love it, def my style. I'm giving your version atry next time I get my hands on some pork shoulder.
     
    Author Comment
    aargersi March 3, 2010
    Let me know what you think - you know you could also do a chicken version - shorter cook time probably but that would be good too!
     
    gabrielaskitchen March 3, 2010
    Yup, I love how interchangable sauces for "the other white meat" and chicken can be! It makes it easy for me to pass along great recipes to my friends who abstain from eating pork. Yum Yum Yum.
     
    coffeefoodwrite March 2, 2010
    This looks very yummy. I wonder if you could add mint to the pickled onions recipe, substitute blood orange juice for the orange juice and work some feta in there somewhere??? (maybe crumbled over the beans...) Might be a mighty delicious addition to this week..=)
     
    Author Comment
    aargersi March 3, 2010
    That is an EXCELLENT idea! Do it, post it, and then I will try it too! We have these onions in the fridge a good part of the time ...
     
    AmyW February 24, 2010
    This his definitely on my 'to do' list! Gorgeous.