Red Onion Escabeche
1/4 cup olive oil
5 whole cloves
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
5 red onions, thinly sliced
1 to 2 habanero chiles, diced
1/2 cup apple vinegar
- The day before, place cast iron skillet over medium heat; add garlic cloves. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Add cloves, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds to skillet. Roast over medium heat until they begin to emit their scent. Add oregano and roast 1 to 2 minutes; remove from heat and let cool.
- Place roasted garlic, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and oregano in blender along with achiote paste, 1/2 cup bitter orange juice, and dried chiles if using. Pulse until thick paste is formed; season with salt.
- Place meat in large resealable food storage bag; add paste and massage to coat. Marinate in refrigerator overnight.
- Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium (about 400°F). Wash the plantain leaves and place them on grill, 1 at a time for 5 to 10 minutes until lightly grilled. You will immediately notice a strong smell, a bit like aniseed.
- Heat oven to 400°F; place large ovenproof pan filled with water on floor/bottom of oven. Line large casserole dish with plantain leaves. Add meat and pour remaining 1/2 cup bitter orange juice over top. Top with remaining plantain leaves and cover pan with lid or aluminum foil. Bake 3 hours until meat is very tender.
- To make Red Onion Escabeche, heat oil in skillet over medium. Add cloves, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon and peppercorns to oil; sauté until spices get aromatic. Add onions and chiles; sauté 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar; season with salt to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Shred meat using 2 forks; add water if needed, season with salt. Serve pork on tortillas with Red Onion Escabeche.
*Substitute equal amounts of orange juice and grapefruit juice if unable to locate bitter orange juice.
Ernest Servantes Recipe