Mike’s Yucatan pressure cooker "pit cooked" pork – Reader Recipe
Since my carnitas recipe was inspired by Mexican cookery, I bring you second pork recipe today that is authentically Mexican in every way except one… it’s pressure cooked instead of being steamed in a pit.
When Mike, the dad behind Dad Cooks Dinner, was running out of time to get dinner ready, he reached for his pressure cooker – digging a pit in his lawn was never really an option.
In his words:
Fonda San Miguel is a restaurant in Austin, Texas that specializes in interior Mexican cuisine. Why interior Mexican? To distinguish it from the frontier Tex-Mex food that surrounds it in Texas. Not that there’s anything wrong with Tex-Mex, but this meal was a whole different experience. I came back determined to make some of the food I ate while I was there.
Cochinita Pibil topped the list. It is a specialty of the Yucatan region, “pit cooked pork”. It is pork shoulder, marinated in scarlet achiote paste, annato seeds and other spices ground up, then mixed with citrus juice. The pork is topped with a cooked salsa, wrapped in banana leaves, and then, traditionally, buried in a pit filled with heated stones.
I got the specialty ingredients, achiote paste and banana leaves, from my local Mexican supermercado. I was not going to dig a pit. First, there is the wife annoyance factor at a hole in the lawn. Second, and more important, a pit is way too much work. Thanks to some poor time management on my part, I didn’t even have time for oven roasting; I had to pressure cook it to get dinner done on time. This wasn’t a problem; the pressure cooker turned out great pibil, deeply flavored with the sweet, sour, earthy achiote.
|Pressure Cooker Recipe: Cochinita Pibil (Yucatecan pit cooked pork)
Adapted From: Fonda San Miguel cookbookCook time: 60 minutes
Saute the salsa: Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sliced onion, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt on the onion, and saute until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Rub the ribs with achiote marinade: Put the achiote paste in a large bowl with the orange juice, cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Using a fork, mash and stir the achiote paste into the liquid until thoroughly mixed. Remove one tablespoon of the achiote marinade and stir it into the simmering tomatoes. Sprinkle the pork strips with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, then add to the bowl with the achiote marinade and toss until the ribs well coated.
Pressure cook the pork: Put 1/2 cup of water into the pressure cooker. Then put one piece of banana leaf in the cooker, and put the second piece in to form a cross. Put the pork in the middle of the banana leaf cross. Put the simmered tomatoes and onions on top of the pork, then fold the banana leaves over the top. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain that pressure and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow the pressure to come down naturally, 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve the pork: Open up the banana leaves and remove the pork, tomato and onions to a platter. (For a nice presentation, use one of the banana leaves to line the serving platter.) Spoon a couple of ladles of the liquid in the pot over the top of the pork, and serve.
*In a hurry? Buy pre-mixed achiote marinade, and pre-made tomato salsa.
*Serve with pickled red onions, refried beans (preferably black beans), mexican crumbling cheese (substitute feta or pecorino romano), and lots of tortillas.
Recipe and Photo Credits Mike Vorbel from Dad Cooks Dinner
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