by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Sunday, September 16, 2012
Puerco Pibil (or Cochinita Pibil)
Skip back a few weeks to when I asked my hubby what he wanted me to make to eat on Día de Independencía. He said Barbacoa. Yes, I realize this is not Barbacoa. Though you can make variations of Barbacoa with pork, beef, chicken, or even fish, the type he was talking about is the type he grew up eating. And that was made from goat. I knew I'd have trouble finding goat. And I did. So I thought maybe I would just go with lamb. But I needed the shoulder, and for some reason I absolutely could not find any lamb should anywhere, either. Chops? Yes. Rack? Mm-hmm. Leg? You got it. But shoulder? Aaahhh, no.
So, on to plan B. I told hubs that the Barbacoa was a no-go right now, but that the next time I found either goat or lamb shoulder, it was so on. What was his second choice, I asked. I bet you can guess what he said. Cuz you're good like that. His second choice was Puerco Pibil.
recipe revisit! Oh yeah. I first talked about Puerco Pibil and how I fell for it after watching Once Upon a Time in Mexico. The Robert Rodriguez film. Do you know it? Typical Robert Rodriguez- there's plenty of great actors with lots of guns and violence and humor all crescendoing to a righteous conclusion. Plus, Johnny (Depp, thank you) plays a man obsessed with finding the best Puerco Pibil in Mexico. He found it. But it pushed him over the edge.
Well, if you're familiar with Rodriguez, you may know that he puts fun bits in the "special features" sections of his dvd's like 10-minute film school or 10-minute cooking school. This recipe is one that he makes and shares in the special features on Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Warning - don't watch this if you have young (or maybe even older) kids in the room!
- 5 tablespoons (~2 ounces) annatto (achiote) seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (scant 2 teaspoon ground)
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns (scant 1 tablespoon ground)
- 8 whole allspice (1/2 teaspoon ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves (scant 1/2 ground)
- 2 habanero chiles
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- freshly squeezed juice of 5 lemons
- splash of good Tequila
- 5 pounds pork butt (shoulder), cut into 2" chunks
- banana leaves
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.