I have always loved the idea of Cochinita Pibil, but never really thought to try making it myself, until I discovered filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s 10 Minute Cooking School on YouTube. He has several – one for BBQ, Tacos, Volcano Cookies and this one for Puerco Pibil. They are very fun, and this one certainly demystified this slow cooked pork dish for me.
Two things make this dish unique, the first of which is banana leaves. I procured banana leaves at Central Market.
The second unique ingredient is Annatto Seeds. I got these from Penzy’s. Annatto Seeds, or Achiote, really look like no other seed you’ve ever seen. They are from a tropical tree, the Achiote Tree, and historically have been used as yellowish/orange food coloring for a variety of things, including cheddar cheese. The taste is rather difficult to describe.
The Annatto seeds are ground up and blended with the other spices for the marinade. I used a coffee grinder to pulverize the seeds.
The marinade calls for orange juice and lime juice. I also used some orange zest, because I wanted lots of orange flavor. I also backed off of the vinegar and used about half of what the recipe called for. I put the pork shoulder (cut into 2 inch cubes) and marinade in plastic baggies and allowed it to marinate for several hours.
I warmed the banana leaves over the flame on my stove, to make them more pliable, then lined the dutch oven with them. I poured the pork and its marinade into the dish, and wrapped it in the leaves, then cooked it in the oven with the lid on.
When the pork was done, it was very tender. I skimmed off the fat and some of the liquid, then shredded the pork, using two forks.
I ate the first meal with my Cochinita Pibil, or Puerco Pibil, served over rice, with quick pickled red onions and peppers. The next night, I put the same mixture into corn tortillas, for Pibil tacos. It was a fun and easy dish to make and I highly recommend Robert Rodriguez’s Ten Minute Cooking School on YouTube.