It’s hard to make time for traditional home cooking when life is so hectic. Adapting traditional recipes, like puerco pibil, for your crockpot is a great way to enjoy your favorite recipes without slaving in the kitchen all day long. Using a slow cooker will not only save time in the kitchen, but will also ensure that your meat is juicy and tender.
The key to any good crockpot recipe, is the seasoning. The right combination of spices will make this dish delicious, and with the slow cooker doing most of the work, the only real tricky part of this recipe is the seasoning. You will need these ingredients to create the perfectly seasoned puerco pibil:
Begin by making the spice mixture. Combine the achiote, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, and allspice and grind them together. You can do it the old fashioned way with a pestle and mortar, but since this recipe is all about modern adaption, you can save some time by using a spice grinder or a clean coffee grinder. Throw your ground spices into a blender and add the salt, orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, tequilla, and habanero pepper. Be sure to cut open the pepper and remove seeds and stem before adding it, or you’ll have a very spicy puerco pibil, unless you like it that way! Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.
Now you’re ready to get cooking in the crock pot. You’ll need to cut the banana leaf, which is pretty large, into smaller strips. Line the inside of the pot with the cut leaves. Next cut your pork shoulder into one to two inch cubes, you can also save some time and ask the grocery store butcher to do this for you, most grocery stores will cut meat the way you like for free. Add the cubed meat on top of the leaves and pour the spice mixture over. Fold the ends of the leaves over the meat and spices. Set your slow cooker to low (10 hours), and enjoy the aroma of the puerco pibil as it cooks. If you want to give the meat time to marinade for a little extra flavor, you can prepare this all the night before and store the crockpot in the fridge overnight.
With busy schedules it can be difficult to find the time to cook traditional dishes, but many dishes like this one lend themselves well to slow cookers. Try experimenting with recipes, adapt some to save time, and enjoy the dishes your family loves.