Tag Archives: slow roasted

Cochinita Pibil – Yucatán-Style Barbecued Pork

To kick off the 24th UK National BBQ Week I fancied cooking something a little special ‘Low and Slow’ rather than a bog standard BBQ Pulled Pork or chancing my arm with a British Grass Fed Beef Brisket (They can often end up dry as they are bred quite lean for the UK market).

I had been watching a Covid-19 lockdown rerun of Rick Stein’s “The Road to Mexico” and in the final episode, where he heads east from Oaxaca to the Yucatan Peninsula, he had a Pibil taco ( the Piib is the Mayan method of cooking meat in a earth oven, a Piib, with hot stones covered with banana leaves for an extended period of time), so I decided it was time to try a Pibil but in my Nova Kamado Oven not digging a my garden up for an earth oven!

The Conchita Pibil is one of the mainstays of the Festival of Pibil, that takes place in a number of Central South America countries that formed the ancient Mayan civilisation, and normally uses the juice of the bitter Seville Oranges as the base along with Achiote.

The trick with this Pibil is to build up the flavour layers as you go, the result is spectacular and knocks the standard BBQ Pulled Pork into a “cocked hat……”

Ingredients

1.8kg boneless pork shoulder cut into 3cm thick slabs
3 Plum tomatoes, sliced
1 red or green pepper, sliced
1 large brown onion, sliced thinly
12 bay leaves
1 whole head garlic, separated into individual unpeeled cloves
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
40g of achiote (annatto) seeds
2 tablespoons of Mexican oregano (or normal Oregano if you can’t get Mexican)
3 whole cloves
1 large Ceylon cinnamon stick, or a medium piece of standard supermarket cinnamon
2 tablespoons of whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of whole cumin seed
1 tablespoon of whole Allspice berries (a teaspoon of ground Allspice can be used at a pinch)
180ml of bitter (Seville) orange juice, or 60ml each of lime, orange, and grapefruit juice
60ml) of white vinegar
15ml of dark soy sauce
Salt (I used some home oak smoked sea salt flakes, to add another layer smokiness to the marinade)

Optional:
6 to 8 banana leaves (see note)

Method

1. Break up the garlic bulb but don’t skin the cloves, and thread them all onto a metal skewer and grill directly over the flame of a gas hob until completely blackened on all sides. Alternatively toss the cloves in a hot dry frying pan for about 3 to 4 minutes. Peel the blackened skins off the cloves when cool enough to handle.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat until shimmering then add the achiote, oregano, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cumin, allspice and toast, continually tossing until fragrant, this will only take a couple of minutes so be careful not to burn it. Transfer to a blender along with peeled garlic, Seville Orange juice or the Orange\Grapefruit\Lime mix, vinegar, soy sauce, and a big pinch of salt. Blend the mixture until smooth and season to taste with more salt if required. The mixture should be quite salty and have a consistency like tomato ketchup as you want it to cover and stick to the meat, if it’s too thick then thin with a little water until it flows a little more easily.

3. Pour marinade over the slabs of meat massaging it in with your hands. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least for an hour but preferably overnight.

Marinade

4. Lay out a large piece of baking parchment then add a layer of sliced onion, tomato and bay leaves and lay the meat on top, add more onion, tomato and bay as you go. Wrap the parcel tightly with another sheet of parchment and then the whole lot with a sheet of thick foil so that the steam will be kept in.

Ready to wrap

note: if you have banana leaves light toast over a flame to make the leaf more pliable then lay one out and add the onion tomato and bay with a single slab of the pork and wrap, creating a tight parcel with another leaf then tie tightly with twine.

5. Set your BBQ up for indirect cooking and get the heat up to 130 – 150C add a chunk or two of wood (use a fruit wood for a sweeter smoke, apple or cherry works well), adding more wood each hour. Cook the meat until the internal temperature is around 95C (at this temperature the collagen breaks down so the pork will “pull”) and the meat feels soft when probed. It’ll take between 4 to 5 hours.

Smoked and tender

6. Remove pork from the BBQ and transfer the parcel to a platter or shallow bowl. Unwrap and serve immediately, shredding the pork between two forks pouring over any juices that are left in the parcel.

Cooked and unwrapped

Pulled Pibil

Serve and enjoy by stuffing it into tortillas with pickled red onions and salsa with some frijoles on the side

Baked Lamb Breast with Onions

Baked Lamb with OnionsImage bbc.co.uk/food
Baked Lamb with Onions
Image bbc.co.uk/food

We were meandering through the supermarket this weekend, doing the weekly shop and I happened across a piece of Lamb’s breast at a massively discounted price. As this cut is a cheap cut anyway, it was practically being given away, I instantly remembered this recipe from Simon Hopkinson,  so I just had to buy it.

Although it takes a few hours to cook, it’s an exceptionally easy, slow roasted affair, that gives a sweet, tasty and succulent roast to what can be a tough cut.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1.6 kg lamb breast, boned and rolled (you should be able to get your butcher to do this for you)
  • fine salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.6 kg brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp anchovy essence (or several finely chopped anchovies), or to taste.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
  2. Season the lamb with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, lidded roomy casserole dish until hot.
  4. Place the lamb breast into the casserole dish, turn down the heat and colour well on all sides, until golden-brown.
  5. Lift out the meat and remove all fat from the dish with a spoon.
  6. Add half of the onions to make a bed of onions on which to rest the lamb and add the lamb back into to the dish.
  7. Tuck in the bay leaf and cover with the remaining onions.
  8. Cut a circle of greaseproof paper slightly bigger than the diameter of the dish. Dampen it, lightly grease one side, and press it onto the onions (greased side down).
  9. Put on the lid cook in the oven for about three hours.
  10. After an hour, remove the dish to see whether the onion mixture has reduced and to check that the natural juices are running. Scrape down the side of the dish if the onions have stuck.
  11. Replace the paper and lid and place the dish into the oven again.
  12. After about three hours of cooking (check after another hour), push a skewer into the lamb to see how tender it is; there should be little resistance.
  13. Lift out the meat, put it into a small roasting tin and cover with foil. Turn down the oven again to 140C/275F/Gas 1, and return the meat to the oven.
  14. Remove the bay leaf from the onions and drain the onions, reserving the cooking juices.
  15. Put the onions back into the casserole.
  16. Remove any fat that has settled on the surface of the cooking juices (lay a piece of kitchen towel onto the liquid for a moment, to do this, it’s a darn sight easier then trying to do it with a spoon).
  17. Pour the liquid back in with the onions, and simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the vinegar and anchovy essence.
  18. Season the onions to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  19. Remove the lamb from the oven (if any meaty juices have exuded from the resting lamb, add them to the onions), cut off the strings and thickly slice the meat.
  20. Arrange the slices onto a hot serving dish and pile the onions alongside.

Serve with a good mashed potato (like my Garlic Mashed Potato) and a tasty helping of the onions.