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Monday, April 26, 2010

Cochinita Pibil and Flan Napolitano

We had a wonderful time with friends on Saturday night.  This was our second get-together with these 3 couples where we had a themed dinner.  The first was Cajun Night and the food was absolutely incredible.  We hosted Mexican night this weekend and it was so much fun.  As I was busy cooking and socializing I neglected to take any pictures at the party itself.  Bad hostess/blogger.

I made some side dishes and Palomas (a margarita cousin and the best drink ever), but my main offerings were the main dish Cochinita Pibil and Flan for dessert.  The recipes are below.  Both are super easy.  If you try them out - please let me know!

Cochinita Pibil
I did not have an after photo so I pulled this one from the web.
Cochinita pibil is very popular in the Yucatan region of Mexico.  It's slow-roasted pork served with corn tortillas.  I recently learned to cook it at my Cooking Club.  It's delicious!

You need 3 ingredients that may not be found in your normal grocery store.  If you have a Hispanic store, they'll have these items.  If you can't find Bitter Orange juice, you can substitute regular orange juice with lime juice.  The 3 ingredients below are traditional though.

3 lbs pork loin, cut into large cubes
2 tsp salt
1 cup bitter orange juice (or 1/2 c orange juice and 1/2 c lime juice)
1 bottle Achiote (8.45 oz)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
5 peppercorns
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp piqin powder (usually found by the fruits in major grocery stores)
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut the pork into large cubes and place in a slow cooker.  Rub with salt. 

In a blender mix the remaining ingredients.  Pour over the pork and cook on low or medium for several hours.  The lower the temp and the longer you can cook it, the better.  It will be more tender.

After you've cooked it thoroughly remove the large pieces and on a cutting board remove any fat and shred the pork.  Place the shredded pork back in the sauce until ready to serve.  Keep over low heat.

You serve the pork on warmed corn tortillas.  Its' traditional to serve with habanero sauce (just buy a bottle of it at the grocery store - it's green and very hot) and red onions.  My friend in Cooking Club made a delicious red onion sauce.  I'm not an onion eater, but the sauce with a couple of dashes of habanero really completes the meal.

Red Onion Sauce
Slice 1 red onion and add 3/4 cup orange juice.  In a blender, puree with 1 tsp of salt.  Let sit out for 2 hours before serving.  It will be pink and frothy and delicious.


Again, I forgot to take an "after" so here's one from the web.  I guess we were too busy eating!

Mexican dinner would not be complete without this wonderful dessert.  Strangely enough - I had never made flan until just recently.  Which is odd because I cook Mexican quite often.  I can't even remember what I served for dessert before.  EVERYONE loves flan.  I'm so glad I have learned how to make it (from another Mexican friend).  It's delicious and very easy.

Flan should be made the day before if you can.  If not, make it in the morning and serve it that night.

3 eggs
1 14oz can evaporated milk
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c sugar

Over medium heat, melt the sugar.  Just make sure it doesn't burn.  If you think you cooked it too high and it smells burned, start over.  It will ruin the flavor of the flan.  It's pretty easy to get the consistency you're looking for if you keep an eye on it and stir it regularly.

Once it's melted, pour it into a deep dish.  Put the dish into a roasting pan and pour water in about 1/3 of the way up.

In a blender, blend the remaining ingredients until well mixed.  Pour over the caramelized sugar.

Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees.  My friend then turns off the oven after 1.5 hours and leaves it in the oven for another hour or two before putting it in the refrigerator.  I don't know if this step is necessary, but I always follow it and the flan turns out perfect every time.

Refrigerate the flan overnight or all day.  When you're ready to serve it, take a knife and go all the way around the edge of the flan and then invert onto a plate.  Slice and serve.  Perfect every time I've tried it.  Again, enjoy!  And if you try out the recipe, please let me know.  I'd love to hear how it turned out!


mississippi artist said...

I have made this flan before and substituted low fat condensed milk and low fat evaporated milk- NO-ONE can tell the difference. We have to save those calories where we can!LOL

Evelin said...

I am a great fan of flans and in Brazil we make it also but we use 1 can of condensed sweetened milk, the same can of water, 3 eggs and some sugar to make the caramel.

the preparation is the same: caramelise the sugar, put the other ingredients in a blender and blend them until nice and frothy and then bake in the oven au-bain-marie for about an hour (in Brazil we have special pans that can be used on a gas burner which is ideal). You can let it cool a little in the oven but as I use a metal pan (aluminium) I let it cool in the sink with a little bit of cold water in it.
This is really the best of all flans and will be a little less heavy than yours with the cream cheese... try it!!!

Alice Maynard said...

I'm going to try this Saturday for cinco de mayo.

CrazyItalianQT said...

My boyfriend's family is Panamanian and I made this for his mother's birthday. I was so nervous because I had never had flan before, let alone made it. This recipe came out amazing! They have been eating flan for years and said it was the best they ever had. His mom even wants the recipe because she liked it better than her family's! Thank you :)