Cochinita Pibil – Roast Pork & Black Bean Tortillas
In episode 6 of “Around the World with Manu” I had an amazing opportunity to spend a day with Elias, a Mexican American cook who welcomed me into his home. He showed me how to make Cochinita Pibil, a citrus-y slow roast pork served on black bean tortillas with a spicy slaw — gorgeous.
Serves 4 – 6
- 1 kg fleshy pork belly on the bone, cut into chunks
- 2 – 3 whole banana leaves, edges trimmed
- Lime wedges, to serve
For the marinade
- 300 ml orange juice
- 50 ml lime juice
- 20 g achiote paste
For the black bean tortillas
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 125 g canned black beans
- 400 g masa flour
- 400 ml water
For the slaw
- 1 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienne
- 1 cucumber, deseeded and thinly sliced
- ¼ jicama, peeled and finely diced
- 1 habanero chilli, very finely diced
- If you don’t have a tortilla press you can gently roll out the masa dough between two sheets of baking paper.
- Jicama (pronounced ‘hick-a-ma’) is sometimes called yam bean. In Australia it’s most often found in Asian grocery stores under a wide variety of names. If it isn’t in season, firm nashi pears are a good substitute.
- Achiote paste is a popular South American blend of spices which usually includes annatto, oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt.
- To make the marinade, place all ingredients in a high speed blender and pulse until smooth. Place pork in a deep glass or ceramic dish, pour over marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut banana leaves into 10 cm wide pieces and gently wave over a gas hob to soften. Line a clay or cast iron pot with the banana leaves, add pork and marinade, then cover with more banana leaves and a lid.
- Bake for 3 hours or until meat is very tender and falling apart. Allow to cool slightly and remove from pan, discarding the banana leaves. Shred meat, pour over cooking juices and keep warm until required. Season with a little salt if desired.
- To make the tortillas, heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes or until translucent. Add the beans and a teaspoon or two of water and cook for a further minute or until the water is evaporated and the beans are soft. Remove from heat and mash roughly, leaving the mixture a bit chunky.
- Combine masa flour and water in a bowl, stir with a knife then knead with your hands to form a smooth dough. Add a bit more water or a bit more masa so the dough does not stick to your hands, but isn’t crumbly, Divide mixture into 16 pieces and roll into balls. Make a hole in each ball with your thumb, fill with 1 teaspoon of cooled refried beans and pinch dough to enclose.
- Using a tortilla press lined with baking paper gently flatten filled masa balls to approximately ½ cm thick. Cook as you go, or stack uncooked tortillas between sheets of baking paper so they don’t stick to each other.
- Place a clean, dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the tortilla for 1 – 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Keep warm under a clean tea towel.
- To make the slaw, place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine.
- To serve, place a generous amount of pulled pork onto a tortilla, finish with a little bit of slaw and a lime wedge on the side.
Don’t miss all my destination tips from my time in the US!