Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Food so good it may send you "over the edge."

To compliment my "all things lead to food"-type obsession...I also find myself drawn to movies with great "food scenes". Chocolat, Under the Tuscan Sun, Tortilla Soup, Woman on Top...the list goes on. One movie in particular, amidst the violence, gore, people- who range from unsavory to Oh-So-Savory (Johnny Depp...aaaahhhh), is Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Johnny's character (Agent Sands) orders his favorite dish in any cantina, taqueria or restaurant he's in. Have you seen it? Remember when he practically forces somebody else to try his Puerco Pibil? He is so obsessed with this dish and finding the best version of it, that when he DOES find the perfect plate of it, it sends him over the edge (don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it...and want to).

Since I enjoy most of Robert Rodriguez's work (Director/Producer extraordinaire..think Spy Kids, From Dusk til Dawn (Clooney, Donna), Sin City, Planet Terror and the two movies that basically find their finale in this particular movie, El Mariachi and Desperado), I did end up buying the movie as soon as I could. Now, as much as I enjoy the movie, it's the "extras" that make me particularly pleased with myself. Good thing you bought the movie, or you may not even know this was here, girlichef!! The special features include a featurette titled 'Ten Minute Cooking School'. Rodriguez himself teaches us how to make that amazing Puerco Pibil that was just too much for Agent Sands to handle. And believe me, it's definitely a "killer" recipe....

Puerco Pibil
by Robert Rodriguez
5 Tbs. annato seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbs. whole black peppercorns
8 whole allspice
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
2 habanero chiles
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. white vinegar
2 Tbs. salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled
Juice of 5 lemons
splash of Tequila
~5 lb. pork butt (shoulder)
banana leaves
First, place first 5 ingredients into a spice grinder (or coffee grinder...kept separate for spices) and grind until it is a very fine dust. Annato (or achiote) seeds are super hard, so be sure to get them to a powder or you'll be cracking a tooth on them later.

Next, carefully dice your habaneros. Remove the seeds & veins...or leave them in if you'd like to set your mouth on fire.

Add the habanero, along with the orange juice, white vinegar, salt and garlic cloves to the jar of a blender. Dump in your spice mixture and blend. Add the lemon juice and splash of "best quality" tequila (tequila is "optional", but come on...Rodriguez says this was that extra little something that sent Sands over the edge). Blend everything together until well combined.


Cut your pork butt into 2" chunks. Place in a large zippered baggie and pour the mixture in the blender over the meat. Close it and make sure all the meat is covered well. Set aside for a bit.
Line a large, deep pan with the banana leaves. Pour in all of the contents of the baggie. Cover again with more banana leaves to seal it all in. This will add flavor and keep all the steam inside. Before I put it in the oven, I also cover the whole dish with foil.


Cook in preheated 325 degree F oven for 4 hours. Remove from oven carefully and remove foil.


Carefully (steam!!) pull back the banana leaves.


Serve over plain rice (white or brown...I used brown)...scooping some of the juices over the meat. Eat as is or roll some into a warm corn tortilla. Beware...this dish is so good it could push you "over the edge", too!!

This plate of goodness contained habaneros....another tasty addition to my chile pepper roundup!! Don't forget to send me a link to any of your recipes containing chile peppers (along with a photo) by May 27th...can't wait to sweat my way through this tasty lineup!!
I think I will also send this over to Gloria at Tex-Mex Recipes for Taco Tuesdays...mmmm, Puerco Pibil filled tacos....