Photo by Tam West
This popular slow-roasted Mexican pork dish, originating from the Yucatan Peninsula, is truly one of the best ways to cook pork — and use for your tortillas. This particular method and recipe was made even more famous when it was featured in the Robert Rodriguez film Once Upon a Time in Mexico starring Johnny Depp. The unique rusty orange colour of the dish comes from the annatto or achiote seeds harvested from a shrub; the flavour is uniquely earthy and peppery. Annatto seeds can be found at spice shops, good food stores and delicatessens.
|2 tsp||Cumin seeds|
|1 Tbsp||Black peppercorn|
|1 tsp||Allspice berries, whole|
|4 Tbsp||Annatto seeds, also known as achiote|
|2||Habanero chilli, fresh or dried, seeds removed and finely chopped|
|½ cup||Pineapple juice|
|½ cup||Orange juice|
|½ cup||Apple cider vinegar|
|8 cloves||Garlic, finely grated|
|2 Tbsp||Brown sugar|
|2½ kgs||Pork shoulder, diced into 6cm pieces|
|1||Banana leaf, optional|
- Grind the cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, whole allspice berries and annatto seeds in a mortar and pestle or with a coffee or spice grinder.
- Mix the fresh ground spices with the habanero chilli, pineapple and orange juice, citrus juices, cider vinegar, garlic, sugar, tequilla and salt.
- Add diced pork and massage marinade into meat. Cover and leave in the fridge for four hours or, for maximum flavour, overnight.
- Line a roasting tray with foil then lay a banana leaf on top. Place pork and all marinade on top then fold leaf and foil over and seal the edges completely to form a tightly closed envelope. Roast at 140C for 3½ hours.
- Allow to rest for half an hour before opening, then squeeze over extra fresh lime juice to finish before serving with plain steamed rice. Accompany with guacamole and Mexican slaw.