Onilikan Blue Agave Spirit in the Kitchen
In a prior blog, we mentioned the use of spirits in the kitchen and of certain techniques that can be employed to incorporate them into recipes. We had also made mention of the use of spirits in the preparation of marinades, enabling all aromatic ingredients to better penetrate the meat, thereby enhancing the process of seasoning. Since then, we have come up with the idea of testing Onilikan blue agave spirit with the traditional cochinita pibil recipe. The name pibil comes from the origin of the technique used to prepare meats in the old days. In pre-Hispanic times, an earth oven was used to cook wild boar, venison, and pheasant in some regions of the Yucatan Peninsula. In its traditional version, a whole pig could be cooked by digging a hole in the ground, creating a sort of pit, which was then covered with wood coals, placing stones on top and covering the entire thing with leaves to keep the heat and trap the aromas.
As you can imagine, this method of cooking is not the easiest, so the dish was intended only to special occasions. To our benefit and delight, the recipe and method of cooking cochinita pibil have evolved over time, and it is now very easy to prepare this dish using pork shoulder or leg cooked in a slow cooker (crock-pot). The slow cooker works perfectly for this purpose, and there is no need to check the meat frequently so it doesn’t burn or dry. The only trick to make sure the cochinita is tasty is how to marinate the meat. Here we share a simple recipe for the achiote marinade used to season the pork, leaving an exquisite seasoning in the meat, ready to be tossed in the slow cooker.
- 1 Kilo of pork leg or shoulder, diced in 5 cm cubes
- 100 grams of good quality achiote paste
- Orange juice, sufficient to dissolve the achiote into a soft paste
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves, depending on the size
- ¼ cup Onilikan Blue Agave spirit
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt to season the paste or rub
- Salt and pepper to taste to season the meat
The achiote paste you can buy is rather dry paste, and you’ll need to make a paste, which is liquid enough to coat the meat completely. To dissolve the achiote, we use Onilikan Blue Agave spirit and the orange juice. With this semi-liquid paste, add the oregano, cumin, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and the vinegar. Use this marinade to coat the meat completely either directly with your hands or by putting the meat in a plastic bag and then sealing it. Put the seasoned meat in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably all day. To cook, place the meat and liquid in the slow cooker and add the garlic. If you love garlic, feel free to add more! Cook on slow for 8 hours.
If you have to go to work, leave the meat cooking in the morning when you leave, and by the afternoon when you get back, it will only take you 10 minutes to finish preparing the dish. When completely cooked, the meat is so tender that you can shred it using 2 forks. Shred the meat well, and you are ready to enjoy some delicious taquitos Cochinita Pibil with a touch of Onilikan Blue Agave Spirit. The tradition is to use flour tortillas for the tacos, but corn tortillas also work, or even a roll of bread to make a delicious ‘torta’ or sandwich. What if I recommend is to accompany the meat with sliced purple onion seasoned with habanero chile. This is what I do: cut an onion in half and slice it rather finely. Some people blanche the slices in boiling water for a few seconds up to several minutes to remove the strong flavor of the onion, but I really like onions, so I skip that step most of the time. Place the sliced onion in a deep bowl and add the juice of an orange and the juice of a lemon. Cut habanero chili in fine slices, avoiding at all cost the seeds, unless you are very brave to love super spicy foods. If you like, you can sprinkle a little oregano as a finishing touch to the taco. Enjoy it!
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