For this month, I was paired with Kimberly from Rhubarb and Honey for Secret Recipe Club. I was really excited when I saw that she had a recipe for cochinita pibil – it’s one of my favorite things to order when we go out for Mexican, and I’ve been meaning to learn how to make it for ages. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find one of the key ingredients (achiote paste) and had to improvise. Although the recipe didn’t come out exactly like the restaurant’s (which has a thicker sauce with a stronger, more acidic flavor), it was absolutely delicious.
This isn’t your typical Tex-Mex type of food at all. While it’s strongly seasoned with warm spices like cinnamon, it isn’t hot and spicy at all. Even if you don’t normally like Mexican food, you should give it a try!
The recipe makes a ton so I’ve been having fun trying different ways to eat it. First, I had it with yellow rice, then I rolled it in tortillas with pickled onions and avocados. But my absolute favorite has been to eat it on a sandwich (torta) with crusty bread, a thin smear of garlic and herb goat cheese, lettuce, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and more pickled onions. It’s a hearty sandwich – it would be great to bring along on a picnic after a hike – and it’s one of the best that I’ve had in a while.
Cochinita Pibil Tortas
Yields 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes + 8 hours in slow cooker
This recipe was adapted from Rhubarb and Honey as part of the Secret Recipe Club. The original called for achiote paste, which I was unable to find locally. Based on various descriptions found on the internet, we improvised by using anatto seeds, jalapeño peppers, and allspice. I also adapted the recipe to be made in a slow cooker, since I didn’t want to be stuck at home for 6 hours while it roasted.
If you prefer to eat your cochinita pibil over rice on in tortillas, you can stop after step 2 and ignore the rolls, chevre, and sandwich toppings. I highly recommend making the tortas though. They’re awesome.
- 2 cups Orange Juice
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- Juice of 2 Limes
- 3 Jalapeño Peppers
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Cumin
- 2 teaspoons Coriander
- 2 teaspoons Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Oregano
- 2 tablespoons ground Allspice
- 8 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons Anatto Seeds
- 5 pound bone-in Pork Shoulder
- Crusty Rolls
- Garlic and Herb Chevre
- Pickled Onions, Pickled Jalapeños, Lettuce, Cilantro, and other desired toppings
- Make a marinade by combining the first 12 ingredients (orange juice through garlic) in a blender. Blend until smooth. Mix in the anatto seeds. Place the pork shoulder in a large plastic bag; pour marinade over pork. Turn pork to coat it evenly with marinade. Seal bag; refrigerate pork at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Transfer pork to a slow cooker. Strain the marinade to remove the anatto seeds, then pour it over the pork. Cook on low for 8 hours. Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and discard the bone.
- To make tortas, spread goat cheese on both sides of a crusty roll. Top with lettuce, then pork, pickled onions, pickles jalapenos, and fresh cilantro.