Labor Day’s on Monday — that beloved government-sanctioned holiday acknowledging the contribution us worker bees have made to the American economy by giving us the day off. It also signals the end of summer, is greeted with celebration, and so it follows, celebratory food.
In the relaxed spirit of the holiday, I reserve my energy for balancing a libation on my belly in a hammock. Therefore, I looked for a recipe that is festive, yet can be made — for the most part — in advance.
Ground annatto is the primary spice in the Achiote seasoning used to rub the pork.
Cochinita Pibil, a slow-cooked pork dish seasoned with acidic juices and served with pickled red onions, is often part of Yucatan family celebrations, so why not ours? In Spanish, “cochinita” translates to “baby pig” and “pibil” is the Mayan word for buried, and traditionally a pig is wrapped in banana leaves then slow cooked over burning embers buried in the sand.
Rick Bayless, of Chicago’s Frontera Grill notoriety, penned a close to authentic version that looks absurdly delicious, yet absurdly labor-intensive, defeating my lazy-girl holiday intent. I found a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens that offers a crock-pot version of this famous dish, yet would not terribly offend those of Mayan descent.
The pickled red onions (Cebollas Encurtidas), tomato sauce (Chiltomate) and Achiote seasoning may be made a couple of days in advance. I slow-simmered the pulled pork the day before serving, and let the shredded meat stew in the cooking liquid overnight for added flavor.
Shot glasses shimmering with smoky mescal are a fine idea to pass, hazing the reality of manana.
Disclaimer: This is not a recipe you can whip up in 30 minutes. This is a Polish Grandmother Recipe. And anyone who is a Polish Grandmother, or anyone who has a Polish Grandmother, or anyone (like me) who lives next door to a Polish Grandmother, knows that Polish Grandmother Recipes can’t be completed in less than thirty minutes. But … Full recipe post »
On Sunday’s journey back from Utah (an impromptu trip utilizing a free AMEX companion plane ticket), while poring over photographs taken hiking Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, I lamented that I forget to take my wide-angle lens. Still. I could never capture Ansel Adam‘s American West no matter how many strings of cameras I roped around … Full recipe post »
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