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Yucatan Roast Pork (Cochinita Pibil)

This was originally prepared by the Mayans in ovens dug into the earth and lined with stones. The meat was wrapped in seaweed or banana leaves and left to roast slowly in its own juices.


Roast Pork

  • 2 tablespoons annatto seed
  • 18 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 large cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
  • 16 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed

Sweet Pickled Onions

  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  1. Roast Pork: Cover annatto seed with boiling water. Cover and let stand at least 12 hours; drain.
  2. Place annatto seed, peppercorns, garlic, orange juice, cumin, salt and oregano in blender container. Cover and blend by pulsing, scraping sides occasionally, until annatto seeds are chopped, about 1 minute.
  3. Make several deep cuts in pork roast. Place pork in shallow non-reactive dish. Pour marinade over pork; rub into cuts.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours.
  5. Prepare Sweet Pickled Onions. Place pork and marinade in Dutch oven.
  6. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F, turning pork and spooning marinade over pork occasionally, until very tender, about 3 hours.
  7. Remove pork; let stand 30 minutes.
  8. Remove bones and fat from pork; pull pork into shreds. Skim fat from marinade. Return pork to marinade. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until pork is hot, about 10 minutes.
  9. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the pork mixture onto each warm tortilla; top with Sweet Pickled Onions. Fold in sides of tortillas.
  10. Serve with Baked Plantains, if desired.
  11. Sweet Pickled Onions: Cover onions with water in skillet. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes; drain.
  12. Mix onions, vinegar and sugar.
  13. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours.

Yield: 8 servings

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