During a recent trip to Mexico, our good friend and chef prepared this incredible pork recipe. Ingrid Pankonin of Miel Cooking, put together this dish in her bikini during a day of surfing at our beach house. It all happened so effortlessly and turned into a beautiful dinner under the palapa with the sound of waves as our soundtrack. Our dinner table was also joined by Linda Aldredge, of Lulu Organics. It was true tropical magic with good folks and constant laughs.


This traditional Mexican style pork recipe is from the Yucatan peninsula with Mayan origin. Ingrid improvised this recipe which was based on Diane Kennedy's version from her book, The Cuisines of Mexico.

  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 4 tbsp salt ( you can use rock salt for marinade if using molcajete)
  • 2 cups Seville orange juice ( plus 2 TB of juice for marinade)*
  • 2 tbsp achiote paste (or seeds)
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 6-8 arbol chilis, roasted
  • fresh banana leaves to wrap pork pieces 
  • 6 Cebollitas, green spring onions cut in half ( or one sliced large white onion )

Pierce the pork all over and rub in 2 tablespoons of salt. Set aside while you prepare the marinade paste.

Using a Molcajete or mortar and pestle, you will grind all the marinade ingredients together in several stages. First grind 2 tablespoons of salt (you can use rock sea salt), oregano, peppercorns and arbol chilis together to a fine paste. Add a few drops of orange juice to help break down the chilis into a paste. Add the cumin and coriander and continue grinding until smooth and incorporated. Then add the garlic and after, the achiote paste and 3 tbsp of orange juice. 

The mixture should be a thick paste. Coat the pork well with the paste, wrap in the banana leaves and place in a dutch oven style pot (or in our case, a glass casserole dish). Tuck the cebollitas ( or white onion) around the wrapped bundles and pour 2 cups of orange juice over the top. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°. Place a rack at the bottom of the oven, make sure the pork is covered with a tight fitting lid or foil ( if not using a dutch oven type pot). Roast for 2 1/2 hours. Turn the meat over and baste it well with the juices from the bottom of the pot. Cook for another 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is soft and falling apart.

After cooking, shred the meat roughly, then pour the fat and juices from the pan over it. Serve hot, with fresh hot corn tortillas and all your favorites. We served ours with traditional black beans with cotija cheese on top, sauteed zucchini in coconut oil, and a slaw with lime vinaigrette. You can also use the pork in tortas, mexican roll sandwiches, or any way you desire really. It's so good.

* If you cannot find seville oranges, you can use regular sweet oranges and substitute 1/3 of the juice with juice from 4 limes and a lemon. The juice should be tart and sour.
 Serves 6.

garlic, cumin, coriander and arbol chilis / tart oranges gettin squeezed

it only takes about 5 seconds to roast arbol chilis over a gas flame 

 Achiote paste is added to the marinade mixture in the Molcajete


The final marinade paste is thick and a vibrant red... the smell is intoxicating 

the pork shoulder is completely covered in the marinade and then wrapped snuggly in banana leaves 

Cebollita onions get tucked around the pork and then the tart citrus juice is poured on top 

 The Cochinita Pibil after it's long roasting period
 Remove the banana leaves and start shredding. The pork will be extremely tender.

Sauteed zucchini and traditional black beans with cojita cheese sprinkled on top

our dinner table under the palapa with the lovely Linda and Barbara snuggling our baby Anton

Ingrid opens up the freshly warmed tortillas to begin the feast


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  2. Your photos tell such a beautiful story, and that pork looks sooo good (but I like seeing it wrapped up in those bright banana leaves too!). And I love seeing all those stoneware cooking vessels. I've been working to improve my lifestyle after reading a book called Health on Your Plate, where I learned about how easy it is for bacteria to hide in scratches on plastic. I'm trying to avoid plastic in my kitchen now, so I love seeing tools like in your photos that are useful and beautiful as well. I guess I'll have to invest in a Molcajete!

  3. I tried cochinita pibil in tacos for the first time ever yesterday in Valladolid. I have to say, though, that yours looks even tastier than the stuff I ate! Definitely have to try and make this when I get home.

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