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Cochinita Pibil Tacos in the Slow Cooker ?

Originating from the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, this slow cooked dish is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves. This version we make a little more user friendly and let the slow cooker do the work. Essential are the pickled onions which cut through the richness of the meat perfectly.

  • 4-5 lb. pork butt
  • 3 Tbsp achiote paste (or annatto powder mixed with water to form paste)
  • 2 cups  + 1/3 cup orange juice
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • 1 onion (medium to large or 2 small), cut into wedges, root end attached
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 chipotle pepper, seeded and finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco or 2 cups shredded Monterey jack
  • Pickled onions – Click for recipe
  • 16 corn or flour tortillas, charred over open flame and kept warm in tortilla warmer or towel

Rub down pork butt with achiote paste. In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, habanero and the spices. Place pork in the orange mixture and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight. Turn the pork at least once in the marinade to ensure even saturation.

Take the pork out of marinade (reserve marinade). In a large pan (or Dutch oven if you’re not slow cooking) over high heat with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Put the pork in the pot and evenly brown the meat all over, it will take about 10 to 12 minutes; remove the pork to a plate and reserve.

Turn heat down to medium-high, and add extra-virgin olive oil to the pot. Add the onion and garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, the oregano, habaerno pepper and 2 bay leaves and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Deglaze the pot with remaining orange juice, scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the reserved pork back to slow cooker with the reserved marinade (the liquid should come about 2/3 the way up the meat), if it doesn’t add water or chicken stock. Cook on low for 8 hours.

While the pork is cooking, prepare the pickled red onions.

Once the pork is cooked, it should shred apart easily with a fork. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat apart with 2 forks.

To kick it up a notch: Simmer the braising liquid over medium heat until reduced by half. Add the chipotle and adobo sauce. Add the shredded meat and stir. 

To serve, put the pulled pork on a platter and garnish with pickled onions. Serve with crumbled cheese and tortillas for wrapping. Guacamole is optional but always delicioso!




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