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I first came across a version of this when watching "Once Upon a Time in Mexico". The mariachi orders puerco pibil (roasted pork) in every restaurant he visits. After eating one chef's version, he declares it the best he has ever tasted, walks into the kitchen, and kills the chef, thereby retaining the balance of the universe. A segment following the movie shows how director Robert Rodriguez cooks his version. Between that, and a recipe in 'la parilla: the mexican grill', I think I have found my own happy medium. Serve with Pink Pickled Onions (Pink Pickled Onions), your favourite fruit salsa (I use Spicy Tropical Fruit Salsa ), a salsa cruda (I use Salsa Cruda III), and warmed, soft tortilla shells. Prep time includes marination time.
- 3 lbs boneless pork butt, cut into 2 inch thick slices
- 2 pieces freshly washed banana leaves, as needed (can be found frozen in an Oriental supermarket)
To make Achiote Recado
- 4 tablespoons annatto seeds
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons allspice, freshly ground
- 4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup dried ancho chile powder
- 1⁄4 cup sea salt
- 2 tablespoons toasted dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled,then pan roasted until brown and soft
- 1 medium white onion, thickly slices,pan roasted until brown and soft
- 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
- For the Achiote Recado....place annatto seeds and water in small saucepan over high heat; bring to boil, cover, and lower to simmer.
- Cook about 30 minutes, remove from heat, and leet seeds steep for about 2 hours, or until softened.
- Drain, then place in food processor with remaining ingredients; Blend until a smooth paste forms.
- If you would like a spicier recado, add 2-3 habaneros to the processor.
- Combine pork butt and recado in large ziploc, sealing tightly.
- Refrigerate, and let marinate for at least two days (but no longer than 5; meat will grow saltier the longer it is kept), turning occasionally.
- Place a sheet of tin foil in a sturdy pan.
- Cross banana leaves on top of the foil, and place meat in center.
- Add any remaining marinade to pork- it is important that the pork stews in its own marinade.
- Wrap leaves around the meat, covering with more leaves if necessary, to make a neat package.
- Cover pan with one more layer of foil, to prevent steam from escaping.
- [NOTE:If you are unable to get banana leaves, simply place the pork in a roasting pan, covering very tightly with tin foil- But the banana leaves look much cooler.]
- Cook in a 325-degree oven for about four hours, until pork is meltingly tender.
- Let rest for 30 minutes, then coarsely shred, removing any large fatty pieces.
- Serve with salsas, pink pickled onions, warm tortillas, and icy cold beer (or tequila, if that's your thing).