The New Gastronome
Mexican Style Pork
by Aarón Gómez Figueroa
by Aarón Gómez Figueroa
This recipe is inspired by a dish named “cochinita pibil”, originally from the south of Mexico; precisely, from the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s basically slow roasted pork, marinated with a variety of spices with annatto seeds as the main spice, because without annatto seeds, there is no cochinita. The mixture of meat, spices, and seeds is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked inside a hole that’s dug in the ground.
But that’s not all. One of the most important aspects of this preparation is the condiment that goes with it: a mix of red onions, habanero pepper and citrus juices. Once you’ve tried this mix, you will never go back to eating that boring bottled salsa!
To make a barbecue-friendly version that’s easy to prepare at home, you’ll need:
“Pibil” style pork
To soften the annatto seeds: cover them with enough water and let them rest for two hours. With the help of a blender or food processor, mix all the spices with the liquid ingredients and blend them until it becomes a smooth, red colored paste; the texture should be like a spreadable cream. If necessary, add more oil. Marinate the pork with the previous preparation and let it rest overnight.
|Pork steak (sliced)||1kg|
|Cumin seeds||a dash|
|Coriander seeds||a dash|
|Garlic clove||1 pc.|
|Black Pepper||1 tsp|
|Habanero pepper (no seeds)||Half a pc.|
|Sunflower oil||25 gr|
|Red onion||50 gr|
|Orange juice||175 ml|
|Lemon juice||12 ml|
The next day, be sure to leave the marinated pork at room temperature for at least one hour before grilling it. Grill the pork until fully cooked.
Habanero Onion Salsa
Don’t be afraid of habanero! It’s true that it’s one the spiciest peppers —the pungency Scoville scale will confirm it with its average 200,000 units—, but it’s also true that it’s a delicious ingredient in the kitchen. Imagine a highly concentrated red bell pepper flavor with a fruity note and tremendously hot end. But, you can certainly tame it with acidic ingredients like citric juices and vinegar; the pungency will fade with time, allowing the aromatic notes to rise.
|Red onion||2 pcs.|
|Habanero pepper||2 pcs.|
|White vinegar||1 tsp|
Cut the onions julienne style. Using gloves, take out the habanero seeds and finely chop it. Combine all the ingredients and let them rest in the fridge for one day so the flavors can marry.*
The next day, it’s ready to eat. Add the Habanero onion salsa to the pork and enjoy.
*Note: This salsa can be made ahead of time and lasts at least a week, or more, in the refrigerator.
Photos: ©2018 Aarón Gómez Figueroa