Cochinita is the name given to traditional Mexican pulled pork cooked in a simple acidic mix of vinegar, garlic, onion and achiote (more on achiote later). I was recently introduced to cochinita by my Mexican friend who struggled to find authentic Mexican food in Australia since migrating here. She classified most of what was available as ‘Tex-Mex’, ie. not the real deal! When the offer of an authentic Mexican taco masterclass was put on the table I scrambled for my phone faster than you could say ‘si’ to lock in a Mexican cook off at my place. What resulted was the most intensely flavoured, vibrant, tender and mouthwatering pulled pork taco I have ever tasted and the method was SO EASY! Why has it taken me this long to discover cochinita?
Let’s start with achiote paste. Achiote paste is made from annatto seeds, spices and tomato and it has a vibrant orange-red colour. It has very unique, mild earthy notes and gives the pork a distinct flavour, unlike anything you have ever tasted before. You can find achiote in gourmet grocers or online at Fireworks Foods. You simply blitz the achiote paste with water, vinegar, garlic and onion to prepare the marinade, pop it in a pressure cooker with the pork and let it magically melt away. It’s that easy!
Pork leg or shoulder can be used for this recipe, both are great for slow cooking. If you prefer a thicker sauce simply simmer the liquid at the final stage to reduce the sauce to your desired consistency. Be mindful that the pork does soak up quite bit of liquid once shredded so I would shred the meat first.
Now onto the all important gluten free corn tortillas. If you have time to prepare them by hand, great. If you don’t I recommend Dona Cholita organic corn tortillas. They taste exactly like a freshly handmade tortilla and are hands down the best gluten free tortillas I have ever purchased. You will find Dona Cholita tortillas in the frozen section of limited grocers (head to their site for stockists). Simply thaw the tortillas when ready to use and heat over directly fire to warm. I prefer to place the tortilla directly over the fire on my stovetop for a crispier edge but if you prefer to warm them in a dry frypan that is also fine.
One last thing. The pork is even more intensely flavoured the next day so it will be back to back tacos for a couple of days.
- 1 kg pork leg or shoulder, cut into 5cm chunks
- Pork Marinade
- ¾ cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- 50g achiote paste
- 1 brown onion, halved
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbs sea salt flakes
- Picked Red Onion
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- To serve
- Gluten free corn tortillas
- Red cabbage, shredded
- Coriander, chopped
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a food processor and blitz to form a smooth paste.
- Place pork in
pressurecooker or large pot and pour over marinade. Close the lid and cook in pressurecooker for 1 hr on low setting or 3 hrs on low heat in a regular pot. Whilst pork is cooking prepare the pickled onion by combining onion, lime juice and sea salt in a bowl. Set onion aside for 1 hr to pickle. When pork is ready shredpork with a fork.
- Cook tortillas directly on
openfire for maximum heat and crispy edges. Heat on one side for about 10 sec and flip over for another 10 sec. If you prefer to use a frypan cook tortillas over dry heat. Cover tortillas with a tea towel to keep warm and soft.
servefill warmtortilla with pork, picked onion, cabbage and coriander.
Hi, how would you adjust this for a slow cooker or cast iron pot? Thanks
Helen Tzouganatos says
In a slow cooker I would cook it for 4-5 hours. If the liquid needs to be reduced further just cook it for longer. For a cast iron pot just same the as the regular pot method. Enjoy!
Best taco I have ever had! I wasn’t sure about the toppings but was pleasantly suprised. So simple and perfect balance of flavors.
Helen Tzouganatos says
It’s so easy and delicious isn’t it? So glad you loved my tacos. Helen xxxx