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Yucatan-Style Pit Pork with Hatch Green Chile Cornbread and Pickled Red Onions
By Cy Yontz - Rio Grill, Carmel, CA


Serves 4

Ingredients for the Yucatan-style pit pork:
3/4 C crumbled achiote paste (about 4 oz.)
3 T juice of Seville orange (about 1 orange)
1 t white wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t dried Mexican oregano
1 3-lb. boneless pork shoulder roast (pork butt)
1 large banana leaf (about 4' long)
3 medium yellow onions, quartered
1/2 C water
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedures:
Combine achiote paste, orange juice, vinegar, garlic and oregano in a medium, nonreactive bowl and stir until well blended. Generously season pork on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in bowl with achiote mixture and turn to coat well, rubbing spice mixture into crevices. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate for 12-24 hours.

When ready to cook pork, remove from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat oven to 300∞ F and arrange rack in middle.

Remove center core from banana leaf and run leaf under hot tap water until it becomes soft and pliable. Pat dry with paper towels and cut in half horizontally.

Overlap the two pieces of leaf so that they roughly form a rectangle about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. Place pork on banana leaves, fold in left and right sides, and roll up like a burrito to completely encase pork.

In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, arrange onions evenly on bottom to form a layer. Place pork on top of onions with seam of banana leaves facing down and pour water into bottom of pan. Cover pan and place in oven to cook until pork is fork tender, about 3ñ1/2 hours.

Ingredients for the Hatch green chile cornbread:
1 C yellow cornmeal
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/3 C melted shortening
1 C sour cream
1 8-oz. can cream-style corn
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C chopped cilantro
1 C cheddar cheese or Mexican blend of cheeses, shredded
1/2 fire-roasted New Mexico Hatch green chile pepper, chopped

Procedure:
Heat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch skillet; place over medium heat while preparing cornbread batter. Combine cornmeal, salt and baking soda; blend well. Stir in melted shortening. Add sour cream, corn and eggs, blending well. Spoon one-half of batter into greased hot skillet. Sprinkle batter with cheese and chile peppers; cover with remaining batter. Bake cornbread at 375∞ F for 35ñ40 minutes, until browned.

Ingredients for the pickled red onions:
2 red onions, peeled, sliced into rings
2 C lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 C sugar
2 T salt
Salsa

Procedure:
In a nonreactive sauce pan, bring lime juice, sugar and salt to a boil. Turn off heat and add onion rings. Stir onion rings for 2ñ3 minutes, then strain juice, place onions on a tray and place in refrigerator to cool down, approximately 10 minutes.

To Serve:
Place meat in a bowl and, using two forks, shred into bite-size pieces. Add onions and pan juices and stir to mix thoroughly. Serve with Hatch green chile cornbread, pickled red onion and a favorite salsa.

 

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