Cochinita Pibil

Yucatán-Style Pulled Pork (Cochinita Pibil)

Traditionally, this Yucatán-style pork is cooked all day in a pit, but a pressure cooker gets it on the table much quicker. Cooking the pork wrapped in banana leaves is optional but adds an authentic grassy note. Source: EatingWell Magazine, May 2020


• 2 ½ tablespoons Annatto Spice Blend (see Associated Recipes)
• 2 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 3 cloves garlic, grated
• 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
• 2 ¼ pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
• 2 pieces banana leaves, 10 by 10 inches each, thawed if frozen (optional; see Tip)
• 1 cup water
Pickled Onion & Peppers
• ½ medium red onion, very thinly sliced
• 2 ¼ cups water, divided
• 2 habanero or red jalapeño peppers, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
• ½ cup cider vinegar
• 3 whole cloves or 4 allspice berries
• ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
• ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
• ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
• 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas, warmed
• Cotija cheese & lime wedges for serving


Instructions Checklist
• Step 1 To prepare pork: Whisk spice blend, 2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Add pork and stir to coat.

• Step 2 If using banana leaves, rinse off any white residue and trim any hard, brown edges. Place one leaf so it covers the bottom of the inner pot of a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker. (Or see Oven Variation.) Arrange the pork in a single layer and drizzle with any juices from the bowl. Pour 1 cup water around the pork. Cover with the other banana leaf. (If not using banana leaves, proceed without them, arranging the pork and adding the water.)

• Step 3 Lock the lid and cook at high pressure for 45 minutes.

• Step 4 Meanwhile, to prepare pickled onion & peppers: Place onion in a small, deep heatproof bowl. Cover with 2 cups water and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain well, then return to the bowl. Add peppers.

• Step 5 Combine the remaining 1/4 cup water, vinegar, cloves (or allspice), oregano, peppercorns and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat, then pour over the vegetables. Set aside, stirring occasionally.

• Step 6 Let the cooker pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Carefully release residual pressure manually, unlock and remove the lid. Use tongs to remove the banana leaves.

• Step 7 Transfer the pork to a serving platter and shred with 2 forks. Loosely cover with a banana leaf or foil to keep warm. Pour the cooking liquid into a measuring cup and set aside for 10 minutes. Skim off any fat. Return the liquid to the pot, set the cooker to Saute on high and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix the liquid into the pork.

• Step 8 Drain the vegetables and remove the whole spices. Serve the pork and vegetables in tortillas with crumbled cotija and lime wedges, if desired.

To make ahead: Refrigerate pickled onion (Steps 4-5) for up to 1 week.
Equipment: 6-qt. electric pressure cooker (or see Oven Variation)
Tips: Banana leaves can be used to wrap foods before barbecuing, baking or steaming, lending a subtle sweet flavor and aroma to whatever is folded inside them. They're sold frozen and fresh at Asian and Latin American markets.
Oven Variation: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Pour 1 cup of water into a 6-quart heavy pot, then line it with two banana leaves (or 12-by-18-inch pieces of parchment paper): one covering the bottom (let it go up the sides), the other leaf across the first one. Add the pork in a single layer and drizzle with any juices from the bowl. Fold the leaves (or paper) closed. Tightly cover and roast until very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Continue with Steps 4-8, reducing the liquid in the pot on the stovetop in Step 7.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 2 tacos each
Per Serving:
472 calories; total fat 16.6g 26% DV; saturated fat 5g; cholesterol 148mg 49% DV; sodium 689mg 28% DV; potassium 778mg 22% DV; carbohydrates 29.8g 10% DV; fiber 4.4g 18% DV; sugar 2g; protein 49.4g 99% DV; exchange other carbs 2; vitamin a iu 184IU; vitamin c 26mg; folate 109mcg; calcium 144mg; iron 4mg; magnesium 78mg.