Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book club cookin': Stage 1 - Puerco pibil

Remember in the movie, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico", when Johnny Depp's character shoots the cook because the pork dish he makes is too good? Yeah, that's this recipe. Now, if you put "puerco pibil" in the Internet, you'll come up with a few different versions. I use a crockpot version of this recipe from The Spice House.

Quick note about The Spice House: Never been? Go! Such a neat place -- they have locations in Chicago, Evanston and Geneva, Ill., and two locations in Milwaukee, Wis., one on 3rd Street and one in the public market. Great prices, great gifts. Don't leave without the Old World Seasoning. Put it on every piece of meat you can find, except the hottie at Starbucks. I digress -- back to the pork.

Okay, so I took the Spice House version and tweaked it for the crockpot, because I'm just not going to go look for banana leaves in Iowa and stand by the stove for 3 hours. Also, because my sister made this before I ever heard of it, made it in the crockpot and told me it worked. I should mention that when I make this, I use 2-3 lbs. of pork, use half the seasoning and all the liquids. It's juicy, but I like it that way. The original recipe calls for 5 lbs. of pork, so you could do that, too. Your call!

The spices

5 T. annatto seeds (should be able to find these in your local Mexican market. Get two packets.)
1 T. black peppercorns
2 t. cumin seeds
1/2 t. whole cloves
8 whole allspice

Put this in a spice or coffee grinder. Blend and set aside. I use half of this for the pork, and save the rest.

The juices

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. kosher salt
juice of 4 limes
1 shot of tequila
2 hot peppers, diced

Mix this all together and set aside.

The meat

2-3 lbs. of pork butt. I get the kind tied in a net. Makes it easier to shred later.

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. Put in pork. Top with spices. Pour juices over. Cook for 8-9 hours on low. Shred meat with fork. Actually, it will just fall apart with goodness. So awesome.

I served this over cornbread, with broccoli slaw and salad, and super-awesome brownies for dessert. Recipes for those to follow!

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