Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Porky Goodness: Cochinita Pibil

Inspired by an episode of "Mexico - One Plate At a Time," an episode that features Rick Bayless and his daughter Lanie digging a pig pit in their backyard (so jealous!), I made a crockpot version of the featured dish: cochinita pibil. Years ago when we went to Merida, the capital of Mexican state Yucatan, cochinita pibil was featured on every menu and I made sure to sample it every time. I am a sucker for a good, slow cooked hog.

An aside, during the TV show, Lanie says, "Speaking of hot, let’s see what my dad is up to outside." The show cuts to a clip of Bayless in a skimpy tank top, muscles rippling as he digs a hole. Before I could turn to the boy and protest, he said "She means he's temperature hot." Who edits this show??? Did anyone else see this episode and have to do a double-take?

Even more of an aside, we had some friends for dinner when the boy made cochinita pibil a couple of weeks ago, and one friend mentioned that Rick Bayless is the kind of guy he expects to see in a dungeon clad in leather. Hm, food for thought.

I had some annatto leftover from who knows what, so into the blender it went with some lemon juice, garlic cloves, and salt. Have I told you how much I love my blender on steroids? Not only can it do demure tasks like make smoothies, but it can grind spices and purportedly grind wheat berries for flour. That's my next experiment!

This spice paste was rubbed over a luscious pork shoulder from Marin Sun Farms, then the pork shoulder was wrapped in banana leaves and thrown into the slow cooker over low heat. I added a scant amount of water to the bottom of the crock to ensure that the leaves didn't burn before the pork started to release its juices. After 6 hours passed, I removed the banana leaves and the bone, and used two forks to shred the pork. The shredded pork went back into the slow cooker to simmer over low heat for another hour with all of the juices.

To accompany the cochinita pibil, I made the traditional side dish of pickled red onions. The boy first made this a couple of weeks ago, and even a life long raw onion hater (me!) liked it. If you want to make some yourself, thinly slice red onions, pour boiling water over the onions and let them sit for a few minutes. Then, rinse them in cold water. Once rinsed, cover the onions with lemon or lime juice and add a heaping spoonful of salt. In about an hour, you have really pink pickles that go well with any rich meat dish.

I've been checking up on my food experiments daily.  The Indian lemon pickles have multiplied - I put up another jar of the stuff because it smells so good. When I can, I sit the jars out to cook in the sun. The miso smells like sake and is bubbling away, the infused vodka is taking on a golden hue, and the preserved lemons are probably done now and I should figure out what to do with them.


  1. *drool* I love cochinita pibil. Can I move in with you guys? I'll walk Mingus and Vespa if you'll cook for me :)

    [Coincidence- the word verification for this comment is "achar", Hindi for pickle.]

  2. Meera, we'd have so much fun together! I'd have you teach me how to make those French macarons I was drooling over on your blog.

  3. OMG, those Rick Bayless episodes with his daughter always have something creepy and suggestive like that! She's so cheesy...I can't stand her. Plus, he's a bit weird, but I was really happy to see him win Top Chef Masters when he was on. He does seem to really know what he's doing!

  4. Sonia, I know, right?!? Both of them are so cheesy! But I continue to watch the show because I do love Rick Bayless, cheesiness and all.

  5. This is one of my favourite dishes at my favourite Mexican restaurant in London! I have to try it.

  6. foodycat, once all the ingredients are assembled, cochinita pibil is a snap to make! You should totally try it out.

  7. She's a bad actress. Rick Bayless is cheesy on his own accord. But his daughter Lanie is cheesy because she is so aware of the camera that her cheeks turn red and each sentence that comes out of her mouth seems fake and embarrassing. The recipes from Rick Bayless are so delicious to watch that his own proper awkward speech that seems cheesy is forgivable. Lanie pretends like she knows what she's talking about and clearly doesnt. I imagine her growing up eventually and getting comfortable enough in her own skin that when it's time for her to actually take over her father's show, she can teach us, with confidence, instead of poorly trying to act.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...