Norma Martinez's Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil
from Chef Norma Martinez of El Vitral
Serves 12

9 lb. clean pork butt, diced into 1-inch cubes
1.5 qt. Achiote Sauce (see below)
1 pack banana leafs
2 sliced oranges
1 cup pickled onions (see below)
1 tsp. Kosher salt

Clean the pork discarding the excess fat and dice into 1” cubes. Season the meat with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl mix the pork with the achiote sauce, cover it and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with the banana leaves leaving a good edge to cover the pan. Pour in the pork and achiote sauce mix, cover with the banana leaf, and then cover with foil. Bake for about 3 hours or until meat is tender enough to shred with a fork.

While still warm shred the pork with a fork and serve in a clean piece of banana leaf and top with the pickled onions. This dish is excellent served family style and paired with rice, beans, and fresh tortillas. A good fresh salsa verde or habanero salsa is excellent with Cochinita Pibil.

Achiote Sauce

21 oz. achiote paste
1 cup white vinegar
1 oz. sugar
4 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup water
2 pieces bay leaf
2 tbs. Mexican oregano
3 cloves garlic

Toss all the ingredients in the blender and process until it’s nice and smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add some water and season with salt and pepper.

Pickled Red Onions
2 thinly sliced red onions
1 small beet, peeled
¼ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup white vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 qt. water

In a sauce pan bring the water to a boil and season with salt. Add the onions. As soon as the water returns to a boil strain the onions and discard the water.

Mix together the vinegar, orange juice, spices, and beet and add the hot onions. Make sure the liquid covers the onions completely.

The onions will be ready in about an hour and will keep for about five days. Make sure to check the seasoning. For a spicy version add a diced habanero pepper.