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Tortas Cochinita Pibil


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#21 guerita76

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 10:16 AM

Ok, tummy is growling! Mike, is the place on the transversal open just on sundays?
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#22 KarenE

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 10:31 AM

I don't like the hot spices. Can you get this without the bite???
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#23 beachbum53

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 11:04 AM

It is mighty cold here in western Wisconsin (5°F). I think making cochinita pibil tortas this week may be the cure until we can get back to Coz in March.

@ Design Kim, if you have a mercado near your home that has achiote paste, they will probably also have bottled sour orange juice. Look for it with the other juices. Banana leaves are usually in the freezer section. I think that all three ingredients are essential for making good cochinita pibil. I do mine in a crockpot if I can't be home, but I like the low temp (250°-300°) oven method the best.

Mike s, can you give more directions to the jungle cochinita pibil place? Is it along side the road or further back in the jungle? Any signage?
Also since you are, as Carey describes, "our kind of our eat great on the cheap food gourmet", can you list some more of your favorite places? These are the kind of places my family loves too.
We always eat at El Mercado, Camarones Dorado, San Carlos Pescaderia and Loncheria Los Careycitos. We love all the ones listed under Carey's "Cheap Good Eats" but would love to hear about any more that you would recommend.
There are many fancier restaurants on Cozumel, but it's "the cheap eats" ones that we miss the most when we get home.

Feliz Aņo Nuevo every one!
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#24 Design Kim

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:13 PM

Thanks everyone for your input on the recipe! I'm sure I can find the ingredients if I look for them. Despite the fact that we just dug out after a 12 hour long snow storm, one of the good things about Chicago is the availability of ethnic food. And Steve, I love Poc Chuc, so this is definitely something I want to try.

beachbum53 - I couldn't agree more about the little local places. After a lot of years of eating at the tourist restaurants, La Choza and such - which are wonderful, - last year we made a concerted effort to eat off of the "Cheap Eats" list for a change. Delicious! Definitely going back to San Carlos Pescadaria, for one. And yes, I would like to know more about the jungle place on the transversal, too. We always spend at least one day with a car to go around the island. So if they are open during the week, we will definitely look for it.
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#25 cozdude

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:36 PM

Two places I've had great cochinitas tacos and/or tortas are Super Hit (on 30th next to the baseball park -- "Super Hit" = "Home Run"), and in El Mercado - the man and woman whose stand/counter is on the corner inside near the fruit and veggie markets. They do a great cochinitas, as well as lechon and relleno negro (and they're real nice).

FYI, you can buy the recado rojo (the anatto-based spice paste used in cochinitas) in bulk in El Mercado (over on the 25th Ave. entrance by the parking area), from several women who sell balls of the stuff. You can also get recado negro, the black spice paste used for making relleno negro (if you've been to Coz and haven;t had relleno negro, you're really missing out). I always buy several decent-sized balls of the stuff, and bring it home to the U.S. with me. Have never had any issues with Customs/TSA. Stuff keeps in the fridge for up to a year.

For the cochinitas, if you can't find the sour orange juice, just mix half regular OJ with half unsweetened grapefruit juice. For cochinitas, I simply rub down the shoulder/butt with garlic, then stick chopped garlic in any openings in the meat, then rub down with salt and pepper, then rub down with the recado rojo. Place in banana leaves and add a little sour orange juice, then lightly wrap the banana leaf around the meat. TIGHTLY seal your roasting pan with heavy duty foil (I use 2 layers), then roast at 250-300 for 5-7 hours depending on the size of your cut shoulder/butt. I like to get mine with a portion of skin still on it (the more fat, the better this dish tastes!). I cut this off, and lay it on top. That's it. Simple and delicious.
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#26 Steve

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 10:34 PM

cozdude...Have you ever tried making it in a simple way? I've been playing with the recipe for about 15 years and have cooked it every way I can find except for in the ground. I have been making it at least once a month for 15 years. One of the main problems I have is you are supposed to marinate it for around 24 hours in the sour orange juice. That always presents a problem to me because it takes up to much space in the fridge. Winter time is better because I can keep it outside. Another problem is it takes to long. I might have a taste for something else by the time it finishes marinating and has to be cooked.

Like I said, I have tried all different ways of cooking it and it really doesn't make that much difference. The banana leaves give a little flavor but add a lot of aroma when you are cooking. The sour orange juice you can do without. It's the achiote, onion, garlic, and grease that give it the great flavor. Try it the way I posted before and I don't think you will be able to tell the difference. It takes maybe 15 minutes prep time and the rest is cooking. I've even done it on top of the stove in a pot with a lid and it tastes the same. A crock pot works good also.

Everyone comes up with these complicated recipes to make. I try to imagine what they would have done when they were making it. There probably wasn't much fresh water around so they used what was near them. Sour oranges. I doubt it was marinated as there wasn't any refrigeration but maybe they thought it would help preserve the meat. Cooking in the ground was most likely the easiest way to slow cook something and the banana leaves helped keep the dirt or sand off the food. The achiote they had. They used it for dying clothes, paints, and for flavor in food. How they started putting it in there food I'll never know. I think if you use the simplest ingredients in food you will get back to how the food is supposed to taste. The cooks back then didn't have any money to buy expensive ingredients to put in their food.
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#27 cozdude

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 09:48 AM

Steve, I didn't think it got any simpler than the way I described it! Agree, it's the paste that does all the work. I just add a tad of sour orange (or the substitute mix) for a little extra flavoring and enough moisture to start to break the meat down in the roasting pan. I've also done it in the Crock Pot, with good results. And yeah, the banana leaves are a nice touch, but not essential. Made some just the other night (actually used "used" banana leaves from some tamales I'd bought that day). Delicious.
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#28 Steve

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:18 AM

I've got a pot of leftovers I'm going to heat up tonight. The butt roasts are on sale this week for $1.69 a pound so I bought 3 of them to put in the freezer. In another 22 days I'll ne eating a torta at the little stand down by the bus station in Playa and I'll wash it down with a cold Dos Equis.
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#29 Design Kim

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:58 PM

Thanks so much, cozdude and Steve. I found all of the ingredients: achiote, sour orange and banana leaves at a little store near my house on Sunday. So now I'm ready to try this next weekend. It will be a good way to spend a winter weekend marking 4 weeks left til we get back to Cozumel!

Steve - I love to mess around with recipes, but the first time around I usually follow one, then figure out how to change them! That's half the fun!

And cozdude - Yes, I will definitely look at the Mercado. I can't picture Super Hit, but we've probably walked by it a dozen times.

No, I've never had the relleno negro! Now I will have to look for that, too. I have seen the black spice balls at the Mercado and wondered what to use them for.
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#30 Design Kim

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:48 PM

My Cochonita Pibil was a success! My family loved it. Now I have to find it down there to see how close I was.
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#31 Steve

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 08:37 PM

Kim... now you are a great cook. I think the only thing that will make a difference is a few onions and a dab of habarenro sauce. Of course you have to make the decision if you want it on a tortilla or a torta. Try one of each.
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#32 Design Kim

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 12:58 PM

Thanks Steve. I did have onions and habanero sauce, though I didn't make that - thank you Rick Bayless. I only had tortillas. I would like to try it as a torta, though.

I'm so excited - 25 days and I can go look for the real thing to see how close I was.
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#33 mstevens

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 05:06 AM

El Super Hit (which has 2 locations on 30a) always has cochinita pibil. We get tortas in the morning to take on the plane to drive everyone crazy. Theirs is fine but far from the best. The problem with finding the best is that the little place that you find one time won't be there the next. At least these guys stay put.
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#34 zman96

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 09:41 AM

Mine is cooking in the crock pot right now. I did marinate mine overnight just for the hell of it and used ideas from different recipes that suit my tastes. Hopefully I won't be ordering pizzas tonight! Thanks for all of the ideas.
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#35 Steve

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 03:09 PM

I'm sure your's will turn out great. It's pretty hard to screw up unless you run out of liquid. I did that once down there. I put it in the oven and set the dial on the oven. I didn't realize that the numbers on the dial only set the flame heigth and not the temperature. I wanted it to be in the oven for 4 to 5 hours at between 250 and 300 degrees. I went out for that amount of time and when I came back the juices were all gone and the pan was dry. The oven never turned off when it reached a certain temperature. I did salvage it by adding chicken broth but it wasn't the same.
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#36 zman96

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

It came out very good, the bone pulled right out like it is suppose to. Minor changes for me, less Achiote Paste, little less lime juice in the concoction. The habeneros gave it a nice little bit of heat I might add.
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#37 Steve

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:04 PM

That's great. I am down to about 1/3 of a small brick of achiote. I use around 4 cups of sour orange juice or if I am out of that chicken broth.
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