Walter’s Cochinita Pibil

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While recently in the Yucatan, Chuck Hughes got a crash course in Mayan cuisine, while trying to keep up with Mexico's hardest-working man - a cab driving, 'conchinita pibil'-making whirlwind named Walter.

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Recipe courtesy Chuck's Week Off: Mexico
Yield: 4 servings

Recado (Spicy Paste):

1 tablespoon annatto (ground achiote seeds)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 whole cloves, ground
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 habanero chile, seeded and chopped
Juice of 8 limes or bitter oranges, or white wine vinegar

One 4-pound/2 kg bone-in pork shoulder
8 banana leaves, soaked

Mild Salsa (Red Onion Salsa)

2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves finely chopped
1 red onion, diced
Juice of 1 seville orange or 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Xni Pec Salsa (Dog's Nose)

4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
Zest and juice of 3 limes or 2 seville oranges
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 habanero chile, seeded and diced
1 onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 sections of baguette or tortillas

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

For the recado: Using a food processor, reduce the annatto, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon, salt, cloves, garlic, oregano and chile to form a paste. Add the juice and pulse until combined.

Rub the pork shoulder with some of the recado. Lay half the banana leaves in a roasting pan. Put the pork shoulder on the banana leaves and cover with the remaining leaves. Pour the remaining recado on top. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in the oven until the meat falls off the bone, about 6 hours.

Meanwhile, for the mild salsa: Mix together the olive oil, cilantro, onions and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the spicy salsa: Mix together the tomatoes, lime zest and juice, cilantro, chile and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serve the pork with baguette sections or tortillas, add a ladle of the sauce and garnish with the salsas.

 

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