Cooking pork at home

February 19, 2008

President's Day is one of those odd holidays I get off that my wife doesn't have off. On those rare occasions, I usually try to cook something that would take longer than usual. I'm intrigued by long cooking methods, so I decided to poke around some Gourmet magazine's I had kept to look for something to take up my afternoon. I came across Cochinita pibil (or puerco pibil) and made a mental note, it looked easy enough but I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to find several key ingredients. After viewing the following on YouTube, I knew I wanted to try cooking it.

I hit a snag at Whole Foods though, they didn't have any pork butt so I went with tenderloin (nothing too huge there). The major issue was I couldn't find any annatto seeds (doh!), so I'd have to do something I love to do when cooking, improvise.

I decided to cook the tenderloin as if I was cooking a Cuban pork shoulder, with the additional herbs and spices to head in the direction of the flavors I wanted. I dumped into the blender the following: clove, salt, pepper, lemon (3), one orange (turned out it was a blood orange - doh!), white vinegar, garlic cloves (3) and one habanero pepper. After blending I poured that liquid (which turned bright pink because of the blood orange) over the pork tenderloin, which I'd cubed and dropped into a oven safe glass pan. Tightly covered with foil the whole thing went into the oven for two and a half hours.

So how'd it turn out? Excellent actually, I was worried that the tenderloin would dry out, but the pork was wonderful, along the texture of pulled pork. The habanero added a bit more heat than I expected, I think I'll try it with a half a pepper next time. Also kids, when handling the habanero pepper WEAR GLOVES, I can't emphasis this enough. I handled the pepper for all of ten seconds with my left hand and it was burning for the rest of the night. Not fun.

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