Achiote recado pork is a delicious, tasty, spicy Mexican recipe, ideal to be prepared during the weekend when people have usually more time to cook. The flavour and the taste are mainly given by achiote recado; this mild, citrusy red spice paste can transform the blandest of foods into extremely tasty dishes. It comes from the Yucatan, where it typically flavors Pibil-style suckling pig. The pig, at least in the original recipe, is rubbed with the recado, wrapped in banana leaves, and then cooked in a stone-lined pit until the meat is so tender it falls off the bones. Grilling is a less traditional, but no less delicious, method. Use achiote recado for meat, fish, and poultry. Purchased achiote paste saves a good deal of time and makes a less complex but acceptable recado so don’t worry, your achiote recado pork will still taste really good!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE ACHIOTE RECADO
6 pork chops
2 tablespoons annatto seeds
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 onion, cut ino 8 wedges
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder, or other Mexican chilli powder
Orange juice: 200 ml.
Juice of 2 limes
Cider vinegar: 50 ml.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHILLI-FRIED ONION RINGS
6 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons chilli powder, or paprika
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 large onions, thinly sliced on a mandolin
To start preparing your achiote recado pork, place the annatto in a small saucepan, cover with a cupful of cold water, bring to the boil then simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the seeds to steep for a couple of hours, then drain them in a colander, reserving the liquid. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Place the garlic and onion in a small roasting tin and roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Transfer to a plate, allow to cool, then remove the garlic skins. Roughly chop the garlic and onion on a wooden board.
Place the garlic and onion mixture in a food processor with the drained annatto, allspice, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cumin seeds, oregano, saffron, chilli powder and 1 tablespoon of sea salt and blend to a rough paste. Add the orange and lime juice, cider vinegar and about 4 tablespoons of the reserved annatto liquid then blend briefly again to combine. Transfer the mixture to a large nonreactive bowl. Place the pork chops in the marinade, cover with clingfilm and marinate for 3–4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove the pork chops from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat a barbecue or cast-iron griddle pan to a medium heat. Cook the pork chops, turning once, for 6–10 minutes each side depending on thickness, occasionally adding some more marinade with a brush during cooking. When done, move the pork chops to a board and leave them to rest for a couple of minutes. For the onion rings, place the flour and chilli powder in a large bowl, season well and mix to combine.
Very carefully heat the oil in a large saucepan to 180°C. Place the onion slices, in batches, in the flour and coat well. Shake off the excess flour and carefully lower the onion slices into the oil. Cook for 1–2 minutes, in batches, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, then drain on kitchen paper and keep them warm while you cook the remaining onions. Transfer the onions to a bowl and serve with the pork chops, whole or cut up. Enjoy this wonderful achiote recado pork!