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Mexican Cooking Project #2


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Yesterday I made chicken breasts with an achiote marinade, and the result was very good - I realize it is not pork, but I had to make some DB would eat. Here's what I put into the marinade:

 

juice of 2-3 oranges, from my orange tree

juice of 1/2 lime, from my lime tree

juice of 1 lemon, also from my own tree

1/4 cup achiote paste

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbs Chinese chili paste

 

The marinade tasted pretty good with just these ingredients, and so I stopped there. I thought about adding perhaps some onion, and/or cumin, but I decided to keep it light. I marinated the three chicken breasts for a couple of hours, and then baked them in a pyrex pan with aluminum foil cover at 350° for about 45 minutes. Then I turned off the heat from the oven and let them rest inside for 15 more minutes. I checked the meat with my instant read digital meat thermometer (which isn't really instant, since it takes 1-2 minutes), and the temp was 140°, which I considered sufficient. I served them with Mexican rice (rice made with a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes) and guacamole. The sauce that was in the pan with the chicken was very good over the rice.

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Well, as I said in my opening post, I've always wanted to try cochinita pibil, and those exquisite pickled red onions, and some fried platanos.   I've got quite a few recipes, but don't know if I'm

if they give any flavour at all it's minimal. i think balic made this point months ago. they do give the pork a wonderful color though.

Thanks. What I'm hearing is, use whatever's available and treat it accordingly.

Finally got to do the cochinita pibil. I pretty much followed the recipe in D. Kennedy's first book although I made a few significant departures. I used pork butt instead of loin and marinated for three days rather than a couple of hours. Kennedy says to put the banana leaf-wrapped meat on a rack in a Dutch oven and add a little water to the pot. I do not have a rack that fits in the oval le Creuset pot I used so I improvised with a couple of turned over saucers which worked fine. Kennedy also says to cook the meat for five hours, which is much too long. After three hours it was cooked perfectly but I should have paid closer attention since the liquid in the bottom of the pot had scorched a bit.

 

On first tasting I was disappointed in the flavor but when I reheated and served it the next night the flavor had bloomed and it was quite nice. I made the pickled onions which I loved and which are so simple that they are now going to enter the repertoire. I also made Kennedy's salsa para cochinita pibil, an absolutely incendiary mixture of habaneros, onion, salt and Seville orange juice. I liked this very much but fear I almost blew one guest's head off with it. :blush: We started with ceviche of scallops, had rice with the meat and onions and finished with tangerine sorbet and some Mexican sweets. A nice, easy meal that can be almost entirely made ahead of time. I would do this again. Three and half pounds of pork provides more than ample servings for four.

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Daisy's cochinita pibil was terrific. The accompaniments that Daisy described were delish also. A lovely progression to the mael too: scallops to pork to the citrusy tangerine sorbert. The sour(tamarind, I think)-sweet Mexican candy went very well with the sorbet. The margaritas G and I made could've been a little sourer, i think. A little less Cointreau, would have been better.

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I know I'm bringing up the rear on this one, but Mr. Scorched and I made cochinita pibil last night, using a hybrid of the two Bayless recipes: we used the small batch from Mexican Kitchen, but cooked it in the grill a la One Plate at a Time. We also made his habanero salsa -- just a drop per taco was enough! -- plus pickled onions and homemade tortillas.

 

I've never had cochinita before, and I loved it. The achiote and the banana leaf gave it the most ethereal scent and taste. I had 2 tacos this morning for breakfast, and another 2 with some leftover black beans for lunch today. Man! It's a good thing I have another project planned for dinner, or else I would eat it again!

 

I took a bunch of photos, but left the camera-phone at home... will post tomorrow if I don't have another memory failure.

 

Thanks to you all for giving me the impetus to cook a dish that I probably never would have bothered to try. Next stop: Picadillo!

 

~A

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Ok, I finally have my photos online here. (Click on the photo to bypass the login). Sorry for the blurriness; I am still getting the whole camera-phone thing dialed in.

 

A few more thoughts: We used a whole pork shoulder, too, and had plenty of meat. Ours took about 4-4.5 hours for a bone-in roast about 3.5 pounds and 4 inches thick on our gas grill that we kept at around 325 degrees F. The marinade didn't completely dry up, but we did add about a cup of chicken stock to it to deglaze the pan, and then simmered that down to reduce back to the right consistency. We didn't lift the wrapped roast up off the bottom of the dutch oven, nor did we cover it.

 

I had a quesadilla today for breakfast... the yumminess keeps on coming. There's so much meat left that I froze about a quart of it for later use, and I'll still be having tacos for breakfast all week. :blush:

 

~Anita

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Nice photos! I think making it on the grill sounds like a great idea--I wonder how much it changes the flavor?

 

Did you use dried or fresh masa for the tortillas and if fresh, where did you get it?

 

I think the banana leaves would be a great idea for a whole, grilled fish too.

 

Jan

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I used dried masa, because the one place I heard would have it (Mexican Grocery at Pike Place Market) near my house was closed on Sundays. :blush: The other mexican place at the Market, Mercado Latino, didn't have it. I am thinking of going to Guererros in Bellvue today and seeing if they sell fresh masa. Man, I miss California sometimes...

 

I liked the idea of doing it on the grill, although we don't have a charcoal one anymore. In any case, I think it still gave the whole thing a smoky flavor we wouldn't have gotten in the oven.

 

~A

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I'm coming to this thread late, but now that I'm a woman of leisure I'm hoping to cook a bit more.

 

Regarding the cochinita pibil...since we keep kosher, what would be a good substitute for pork butt?

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Regarding the cochinita pibil...since we keep kosher, what would be a good substitute for pork butt?

In the Yucatan, they give the same treatment to chicken and fish, and, less commonly, beef. Obviously you'd cook the chicken less than the pork, and the fish even less. But you can smear them with the achiote marinade (add a little oil to the marinade for the fish), wrap them up in banana leaves and bake until done. Serve them with fresh corn tortillas and all the fixin's.

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I made cochinita pibil last May and found it to be pretty easy and very delicious.

 

Lots of talk about it on this thread.

 

One recipe.

 

Diana Kennedy's recipe.

 

I mostly used the Rick Bayless recipe but used the others as guides.

My second go at cochinita pibil, this time I mostly used the Rodriguez recipe. I used an 8 pound pork shoulder for 6 hungry poker players. Also served the pickled onions, and many salsas including: dried mango-coconut, roasted pepper-anchovy and a roasted corn. Forgot to put out the tortillas. Whoops.

 

Note to Adam: the anatto seeds do play a major role in the flavor of the meat.

 

Pound cake and homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream finished the meal.

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It was delicious. Seriously delicious. (Was any leftover? ) The pickled onions were a great match, and that anchovy salsa was outstanding.

 

Despite an attempted cookbook embargo, I think we'll get that Rodriguez book. S saw lots in it that he'd like to make.

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