Monday, August 4, 2014

Puerco Pibil

I first heard about Puerco Pibil from director Robert Rodriguez, who featured his recipe on the DVD extras of Once Upon a Time in Mexico (naturally, you can find this online:

It’s a really fantastic, tangy pulled pork dish with a little bit of kick to it as well. I made a few notable changes to Rodriguez’s recipe: I omitted the tequila (didn’t have any, wasn’t about to buy a bottle for this) as well as the banana leaves. I don’t know if the banana leaves add any flavor, but I suspect they are used as a traditional garnish since in the past this was cooked on coals buried in dirt (pib is Mexican for pit barbecue)

Puerco Pibil:
5 lbs. pork butt, cut into 2-3” cubes
5 tablespoons annatto seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon whole black pepper
½ teaspoon whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
2 habanero peppers, deseeded and chopped
½ cup orange juice
½ cup cider vinegar
8 garlic cloves, diced
6 limes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt

Use a spice grinder to grind the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, cloves and allspice into a powder.

In the container of a blender add the orange juice, cider vinegar, habaneros, diced garlic, brown sugar, salt, spice blend from the grinder and brown sugar. Juice the limes into the mixture as well.

Blend to liquefy, and add the marinade into a large Ziploc bag along with the cubed pork. Toss the bag into the fridge, and marinate for 4 to 6 hours, turning every so often.

Preheat an oven to 325. Add the meat and the marinade to a 9”x13” baking pan and cover with foil. Bake for 3 hours. Remove the pork from the sauce and shred. Serve over rice with some salsa. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Tomatillo Salsa:
6 tomatillos, halved
2 garlic cloves, still in their husks
1 habanero, deseeded
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
½ cup of water (more if needed)
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black peper

Put a pan over medium heat and add the tomatillos, garlic and habanero, and cook, flipping once, until everything starts to get some color on it. Add the tomatillos straight into a blender. Chop the habanero and add it to the blender. Remove the garlic cloves from their papery husks and chop, then add to the blender. Add the cilantro and water (go easy on the water and add more if you think it needs it) and puree. Season with cumin, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.


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