Recipe courtesy of Mi Cocina Restaurant and Jose Hurtado-Prud'homme

Yucatan Pork Baked in Banana Leaves: Cochinita Pibil

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 day 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 day
  • Cook: 2 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1 pound frozen banana leaves* (See Cook's Note)

2 (4-ounce) packages achiote paste* (recommended: Recado Rojo)

6 cloves garlic

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon kosher salt

5 pounds trimmed, boneless pork butt, halved

1 cup water

Marinated Red Onions, recipe follows

Habanero Salsa, recipe follows

Serving Suggestion: steamed white rice or fresh, warm tortillas

Marinated Red Onions:

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

3 cups water

1 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Habanero Salsa:

8 habanero chiles

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons salt


  1. Run the banana leaves under warm water for about 5 minutes to defrost. Line a medium baking dish with the banana leaves.
  2. Combine the achiote paste, garlic, vinegar, orange juice, and salt in a blender until smooth. In a large bowl, rub the achiote mixture into the meat. Place the meat in the prepared baking dish. Wrap the meat with banana leaves. Cover container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. After meat has marinated, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Add 1 cup water to the baking dish. Bake the meat until fork tender, about 2 hours.
  5. Serve wrapped meat on a bed of steamed white rice with Marinated Red Onions and Habanero Salsa on the side. Alternatively, remove meat from banana leaves and wrap in fresh, warm tortillas with Marinated Red Onions and Habanero Salsa on top.

Habanero Salsa:

  1. In a dry skillet, lightly toast the habanero chiles. Stem, seed, and roughly chop the peppers. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a small serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cook’s Note

*Can be found at gourmet supermarkets or specialty Mexican markets.

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