Pork Cochinita Tacos
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Just in time for you to make for Taco Tuesday, or any other day. This past weekend I made a Cochinita Pork recipe that my Son prepared for all of us last Thanksgiving. (Yes, all my children are accomplished Cooks) This is a great slow cooker recipe; the result is flavorful citrus pulled pork with a slightly spicy finish. The beauty of this dish is that you can make as spicy or as not-so-spicy as you would like, based on what peppers you add. If you want a little flame thrower action, use Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, or Thai peppers. A medium road would be Jalapeno, Serrano, or Thai. Want to take a walk on the mild side, use Poblano, Banana, Green or Red Pepper.
Scanning the ingredient list Achiote Paste may be something new to you, it was to me. Achiote paste doesn’t really have a lot of heat on its own, it reminds a bit of Sumac actually. It is a blend of Annatto Seeds, Coriander, Cumin, Oregano, Vinegar, and citrus zest. The flavor profile of Achiote Paste mirrors a version of a much spicier Northern African condiment, Harissa. Achiote Paste can be purchased as a solid form much like a bouillon cube or a powdered version. You will be able to find both versions of Achiote paste in your local Bodega or numerous outlets online including Amazon. My suggestion, as always shop local, support your local economy by shopping your local Bodega.
My preference when grilling, roasting, braising or slow cooking any type of meat or poultry is to leave the bone in. The flavors from inside the bones the marrow being the most important adds an incomparable depth to your dish. That said, of course, you can use a boneless pork shoulder roast, simply remove the netting prior to cooking, adjust your cooking time, start checking the temperature at 4 hours in the mark for pork is 145 degrees. Once you have your pork cooking, start your pickled onions, this a quick pickle that only takes a few hours. Again, you have the option to add a spicy pepper if you so choose.
Assemble Tacos You Will Need:
Tortillas (great fresh from your local Bodega)
Fresco Cheese, crumbled
Pickled Red Onions (see below for recipe)
Pineapple sliced thin, grilled (optional)
Cochinita Sauce (see below for recipe)
Your Favorite Taco Toppings, whatever they may be, there are few rules in Taco Land.
7 lb Pork Shoulder
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 oz Achiote Paste, crumble or shred
3 Tbl Cumin
1/2 cup lime juice (the juice of 7 Limes)
1/3 cup orange juice (the juice of one orange)
1 tsp orange zest
6 cloves garlic minced
3 jalapeno peppers diced (spice to taste)
Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker top with the onion, achiote paste, cumin, garlic, peppers, orange juice, lime juice, and orange zest. Cover cook on low for 6-7 hours. Once the pork is cooked, transfer to a large bowl for shredding. Reserve the cooking juices for sauce.
2 Red onions, thinly sliced
1 Pepper, thinly (optional)*
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl kosher salt
1 Tbl sugar
Place onions (and pepper if using) into a large mason jar. In a 2 cup measuring glass combine vinegar, salt and sugar, stir until dissolved. Pour vinegar mixture into the jar with onions, cover and shake occasionally. If you are using them that day no need for refrigeration. These can be made in advance, if so then refrigerate, and try not to eat them all before Tacos.
*Optional: you can add thinly sliced peppers into this mix, it would be made with peppers in most Mexican restaurants and street stands. Use your spice judgment in this department.
Strain the cooking juices through a mesh sieve, reserving the liquid. Put the solids into a blender, puree until smooth, do not over blend. Slowly, in small amounts think small ladle add reserved juices, blending and repeating until you have reached a sauce consistency, thick or thin your call. This would be another opportunity to bump up the heat by adding spicy peppers or hot sauce. Season to taste, and start building Tacos.