This Mayan Style Pork Cochinitas recipe has a very unique flavor and is home to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Often referred to as Cochinitas Pibil; cochinitas referring to the suckling pig that is traditionally used & pibil meaning cooked in a pit. What I love most about the origin of this dish is that it was made by the Mayan people who were creating rich, deep flavors with what they had on hand. That is the best part about cooking- adapt & use what ingredients, materials & cooking methods you have access to. Sometimes the best dishes are created that way. This meal is no exception! The flavors are SO bold- unlike anything we’ve ever tasted and Mexican food is our favorite!
Instead of using pork shoulder or butt like most slow cooked pork recipes use, we used pork tenderloin to “healthify” our recipe. The meat falls apart and is loaded with all of the delicious achiote paste & guajillo chile flavors. The Mayans cooked their pork in banana leaves; this is a common method of cooking in Mexico and we hope to try it sometime! The achiote paste creates the most vibrant red/orange color as well as a very distinct flavor.
When something is this tasty, you really want to keep it simple to allow for the pork to be the center of attention- believe me it will be! Pickled red onions add a sweet crunch while the cotija cheese mellows the strong flavors. Pickled onions store easily for months maintaining the same crunch and flavor. You may need to hunt for achiote paste, guajillo chiles & cotija cheese- we are fortunate to have a couple of great haciendas where we shop for our ingredients. If you don’t have a latino supermercado, you may be able to find the ingredients in the international aisle of your grocery store or at a specialty food store. It’s well worth the search! This pork can be enjoyed in quesadillas, fajitas, nachos, enchiladas and really any Mexican dish you would like to recreate! What’s your favorite Mexican pork recipe?!