Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork in Banana Leaves

What to do when it’s raining out and you can’t grill? The next best thing is a low and slow roasted meal that fills your whole house with delicious aromas. On today’s blog post, I prepared a bone in pork shoulder/butt that was almost 10 pounds and taking up way too much room in my freezer. I knew going into this that from start to finish, I was looking at a good 14 hours. But I also knew that it would be worth it in the end.  This dish is most commonly known as cochinita pibil, but is also known as cochinita con achiote or puerco pibil. Made popular in the Yucatan Peninsula with it’s signature flavors of sour/bitter orange and distint color from the achiote. The traditional way is to roast a whole suckling pig, but most commonly prepared by home cooks with a pork shoulder/butt roast. The acidity of the sour orange juice helps break down and tenderize what could be a tough cut of meat. The results are this fall off the bone tender shreds of pork just perfect for those warm corn tortillas.  Sour oranges are not easy to come by, so fortunate for me, a few of the local markets carry a ready made sour orange marinade that can be added to freshly toasted spices and achiote that comes pretty close to the real deal. 

 

Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork Butt/Sholder in an Achiote-Sour Orange Sauce

Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder/Butt

Cochinita PibilTips~ Instead of the traditional black beans on the side, I chose to serve mine with a roasted beet salad which is delicious when tossed with the rice.

Ingredients…

For Marinade
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons peppercorns
2 teaspoons mexican oregano
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed chile de arbol or piquin
4 to 5 whole cloves
1 inch piece of mexican cinnamon stick

Toasting Spices for Cochinita Pibil

 

Preparing Marinade for Cochinita Pibil

Ingredients Continued..

1 1/2 cups Badia Sour Orange
1/3 cup olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 oz. achiote paste, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
salt to taste (I added 1 1/2  tsps.)

Tips~ If you cannot find the achiote paste, 3 to 4 tablespoons of achiote powder may be substituted. 

Toasted and Ground Spices for Cochinita  Pibil

 

Marinade/Sauce for Cochinita Pibil

 

 

 

Cochinita Pibil~Achiote, Sour Orange Marinade

Tips~ The Badia brand sour orange is pretty close to using real sour oranges and less expensive than purchasing fresh oranges, lemons and limes that may not always be very juicy. But if you have the good quality produce available, for every orange squeezed, I add 1 lemon or lime.

You will also need
8 to 10 pounds pork shoulder/butt, I trimmed off some of the fat on top
*I used bone in almost 10 pound shoulder
1 pound package of banana leaves
water
salt
Foil paper
Large roasting pan with lid


Tips~ Before you start, make sure that the pork is not frozen. Bring to room temperature for at least 40 to 50 minutes before cooking.

Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder/Butt

Directions

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients, dry spices, in a skillet and toast at medium/low heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Stirring now and then so they do not burn. Transfer to grinder(coffee grinder) and process until you have a fine ground. Set aside. I have a coffee grinder that I only use for spices.

2. To the blender, add ground spices, sour orange, olive oil, achiote, garlic, onion and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Taste for salt, set aside. I chose to roast my pork right away instead of marinating overnight. But, that is up to you.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line the bottom of roasting pan with foil paper, fill with about 6 to 7 cups of water. Season the water with 1 to 2 teaspoon of salt. Place a few layers of banana leaves so that they extend outside of pan on all sides. Place pork, fat side up into pan.  Take a sharp knife and cut one inch slits over the top of roast. Pour marinade/sauce evenly over pork and massage into pork.

4. Cover tightly with any remaining banana leaves. Cover with more foil paper. Cover with lid and place on top rack positioned in the center of oven. Imediately reduce temperature to 225 degrees F. Let roast slowly for the next 8 hours. Check for water level halfway through. After the 8th hour, I raised the heat to 325 degrees F. and roasted for another 4 hours or until it was fall off the bone tender.

5. Remove from oven and let rest for a good hour before serving. After removing bone and extra fat, there was about 5 3/4 pounds of meat. I served what I needed and packaged the rest in 1 pound portions in quart size freezer bags. Don’t forget to label and date. Serve with warm corn tortillas, Mexican rice, black beans, habanero-garlic salsa and pickled red onions.

Cocinita Pibil Wrapped in Banana Leaves

 

Cochinita Pibil

 

Cochinita Pibil

 

Cochinita Pibil

It is traditional to serve cochinita pibil with a roased habanero salsa and pickled red onions

 

Roasted Garlic-Garlic Salsa

Roasted Habanero-Garlic Salsa

6 to 8 habanero, roasted
2 cloves garlic, roasted
Juice of 5 key limes
1/4 to 1/4 cup water
salt to taste

Remove stems from habanero. Leave skins on the garlic. Roast  all on a comal or nonstick skillet at medium heat for 15 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to blender, add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  

Roasted Habanero-Garlic Salsa

 

Sour Orange Pickled Red Onions

Sour Orange Pickled Red Onions

Tips~ Instead of using more lime, I used some of the leftover sour orange to marinate and quick pickle my onions. I also like adding oregano, chile piquin and fresh green chile. They are all optional. The longer they sit, the more pink in color they will become.

1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 jalapeño, seeded and julienned
1/2 teaspoon chile piquin, crushed
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1/3 to 1/2 cup sour orange (Badia brand leftover)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Let marinate for a few hours, stirring now and then.

 

 

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Cilantro~Prepared Two Ways

As many times as we all prepare chicken recipes, one still manages to find a new way to enjoy it. Mixing and matching ingredients was the way I learned to cook. My family had there tried and true recipes that you did not veer from and they were delicious. But when you cook  95% of your meals at home, you have to get a little creative sometimes. I mean, I did not develop any new flavor combinations here, I just paired it in  a slight different way.  Once I learned a few basic sauce recipes, I documented them as I prepared them, always with my twist, then I could refer to them as a basic preparation for next time. The first recipe is prepared with grilled chicken and the second one is prepared with a lightly masa harina breading on the stove top. If it was up to me, I would grill everday, lol! But  you know that Mother Nature may have the last word when it comes to that. So, as Guy(food network), that guy would say, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner”!!

 

Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken with Cilantro

Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken

Ingredients

Recipe for Lemon Garlic Sauce with Cilantro (see recipe below)
3 large boneless chicken breast, filet and slice in half
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Granulated garlic
Cumin
Chipotle powder or cayenne
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil or grapeseed oil

Tips~If chicken breast are thicker on one side after you slice them, pound them out lightly, so that they are even in thickness.

Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken

The chicken breast look dark in the spots where the chipotle powder was more concentrated.

 

Directions 

Season on both sides, to taste,  with spices listed. Squeeze on lemon juice and drizzle with oil. Grill on preheated  grill at med/high heat for about 5 minutes per side. Make sure you keep lid closed during cooking time. Remove from heat and cover with lemon garlic sauce. Tent loosely and let rest for 5 minutes. Yields 4 to 6 servings. I served this chicken over rice and also sliced some of it thin for tacos.

Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken with Cilantro

 

 

Stove Top Lemon Garlic Chicken 

Lemon Garlic Chicken

For Stove To Lemon Garlic Chicken
3 boneless chicken breast, pounded out slightly
lemon pepper seasoning
chile de arbol or chipotle powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup masa harina or all purpose flour
2 tablespoons flour, optional
grapeseed or olive oil for frying

 

For Lemon Garlic Sauce with Cilantro

Lemon Garlic Sauce with Cilantro
Olive oil
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup shallots or sweet onions, finely diced
salt
pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespon flour
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 thin lemon slices, optional
Juice from one lemon
6 jalapeño stuffed queen olives, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons capers

*1/4 cup packed cilantro, chopped or parsely if cilantro is not your thing.

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Cilantro

I prepared 6 pieces, but this was the next day, lol!

Directions

1. Season the chicken on both sides, to taste, with lemon pepper, chile de arbol(or chipotle) and salt. Dredge through the masa harina until coated evenly and set aside while you prepare your sauce.

2. For sauce: Heat olive oil to medium/low heat. Add the garlic and saute for 7 to 10 minutes. If it browns too quick, then turn down the heat.  The garlic will become a little sweet and mild in flavor. Add the shallots, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano and basil and cook for 2 more minutes.

3. Turn heat up the heat slightly. Stir in the flour and cook for less than a minute. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Bring up to a boill, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep on lowest temperature to keep warm.

4. Preheat 1/2 cup oil in skillet at medium heat for 5 minutes. Fry the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until golden and crispy. Transfer to a metal rack to drain or a plate lined with paper towels. Serve with lemon garlic sauce over the top over pasta or rice. Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

 I served the chicken over some whole grain pasta with red sauce and grated parmesan. I also prepared some chicken parmesan style sub sandwiches with a few pieces. 

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Cilantro

My Favorite Mexican Desayuno~Breakfast~Brunch

Some traditional and some not so traditional Mexican foods I enjoy preparing for breakfast or brunch on  Sunday. With a little planning and alot more time, my favorites would have to be a big bowl of pozole or menudo. But those I only prepare now and then or for special days.  As I look as these recipes, I realize that you could really enjoy them anytime of the day  and not just for breakfast. And you certainly don’t have to wait until Sunday to prepare any of these tasty recipes.

 

Huevos Rancheros with Steak

Huevos Rancheros with Steak

2 eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 baked  corn tostadas
1/3 cup refried beans
4 oz. of thinly sliced (cooked) carne asada or sliced steak
1/3 cup or more salsa verde, warmed
1/3 cup or more red salsa de mesa, warmed
Diced chile peppers, optional

Directions

1. Heat butter in skillet to medium heat. Add eggs to skillet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until whites of eggs are set. I like my eggs runny, but you could cook them longer for a more firm egg yolk.

2. Place two corn tostadas onto serving plate. Add salsa verde to tostadas. Lay sliced steak on  top then slide eggs on top of the steak. Top with red salsa de mesa and diced chiles. Serve with warm tortillas.

* I did not mention refried beans, but you could add some to the tostadas before topping with salsa.

Huevos Rancheros with Steak

**Got to the end of blog post to find the links to recipes for both salsa de mesa and salsa verde. To prepare baked tostadas, brush corn tortillas on both sides with oil. Sprinkle with salt and bake in preheated 395 degree oven for 17 to 19 minutes, turning halway through cooking time.

 

Grilled Skirt Steak. Click onto picture to see full recipe.

 Grilled Skirt Steak

 

Chimichurri Cheese Omelette with Pico de Gallo. Although this is not a traditional Mexican breakfast, I serve it with warm tortillas. A gourmet wat to serve up breakfast tacos. 

Cheese Omelet with Chimichurri and  Pico de Gallo**Go to the end of the blog post to find link for Chimichurri recipe

Olive oil
1 serrano pepper, minced
2 tablespoons sweet or red onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 full tablespoon chimichurri
Spash of milk
1 to 2 oz of muenster cheese
Chunky pico de gallo or your favorite salsa

Cheese Omelet with Chimichurri and Pico de GalloPico de Gallo for one. One large roma tomato, diced. One serrano pepper, minced. One green onion, sliced. 1 -2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

1. Heat 8 inch nonstick pan to medium heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, serrano and onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes.

2. Whisk eggs with chimichurri and milk. Set aside. Add 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter to pan. Once is melts, pour in the egg mixture and let it cook for 30 seconds.

3. Using a silicone spatula, move the eggs gently in and around the center without breaking them up too much. After a few minutes when eggs are mostly set, add some cheese down the center of eggs. Use the spatula to fold in the sides. Cover pan and let steam for a minute. Slide onto serving plate and garnish with salsa. Serve with crsusty bread.

 

Breakfast Empanadas ~Chorizo con Huevo

Breakfast Empanadas

For Chorizo con Huevo
Olive oil
1/3 cup white onion, diced
1 jalapeño or serrano, minced
1/2 cup uncooked mexican chorizo
6 large eggs

Chorizo con HuevoMy absolute favorite way to enjoy Chorizo con Huevo is with freshly rolled flour tortillas!!!


Basic Empanada Dough
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pork lard or vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

You will also need
2 cups shredded cheese, monterey jack, chihuahua or asadero

Chorizo con Huevo

Directions

1. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and jalapeño and saute for 5 minutes.Turn up the heat slightly and cook the chorizo another 5 to 6 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the chorizo as it cooks.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together with 1/4 cup of milk or cream. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour into skillet with chorizo. Turn heat down and continue to cook, moving gently with spatula until eggs are set. Set aside.

3. For Dough: In a large bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hand or a pastry cutter, cut the lard in until it broken down, set aside.

4. Whisk the eggs and milk together and gradually add them into the dry ingredients until dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knesd for 5 to 6 minutes, adding a little more flour to make a soft dough. Cover and chill for one hour. This dough will make 15 large empanadas or 30 small empanadas.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lighlty floured suface, roll out dough balls to about 6 inches in diameter. Fill one hal with chorizo/egg mix, top with a little shredded cheese. Fold over and seal with a fork or pinch and roll up to seal. Transfer to baking sheets. Brush with milk or eggwash. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Finish under the broiler for a minute to brown the tops of the empanadas.

Tip~ For eggwash, simply whisk 1 egg with a splash of water. Towards the end of baking I like to broil the empanadas for a minute  or less to brown the crust even more.

Breakfast Empanadas

 

Salsa de Mesa . Click onto picture for full recipe. Either salsa recipe can be prepared with chile serrano or jalapeño instead of chile de arbol, if you prefer. Adjust to your heat level.

Salsa de Mesa con Chile de Arbol

 

Salsa Verde. Click onto picture for full recipe.

Salsa Verde con Chile de Arbol

 

 

Chimichurri. Click onto picture to see full recipe.

Chimichurri