Mexican Date Night – Achiote Chicken and Ancho Pork

A friend of mine recently took me to a Mexican shop in Midrand called Azteca where I bought some authentic Mexican ingredients.  Obviously the next date night had to have a Mexican theme and I decided on achiote chicken and ancho pork.

With both the chicken and pork recipes below, I first put the meat in a brine. The recipe for this basic brine is simple:

  • 4litres water
  • 225g kosher salt
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 8 bay leaves

Bring the water to boil, add the other ingredients, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved, and let it cool down to room temperature. Put the liquid in containers, add the meat and put something heavy on top of the meat to keep it submerged – I use a small plate.  Keep it in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

Brining the chicken and pork
Achiote chicken
  • 20g achiote paste
  • 30ml lime juice
  • 15ml red wine vinegar
  • 15ml olive oil (or grape seed oil)
  • 5ml dried oregano
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 5ml Nali sauce (or any other pepper sauce)
  • 5ml salt
  • 5ml ground black pepper

Break up the achiote paste in a small bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

I used a whole chicken this time, but you can replace it with 4 chicken breasts.

Rub the chicken well with the marinade, especially under the skin and put it in the fridge for 12 hours.

Put the chicken in an oven proof pot and slowly cook at 120 degrees Celsius for 4-5 hours in the oven.

Strain the chicken, remove the bones and put the meat back with the marinade in the pot. Let it simmer very slowly for 20 minutes and then strain again. You can freeze the marinade if you want to make a similar dish again.

Chicken wait achiote marinade
Ancho pork
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 1 dried guajillo (mirasol) chile or just another ancho chile
  • 30ml course sea salt
  • 15ml sweet smoked paprika
  • 15ml onion powder
  • 15ml mustard powder
  • 15ml cayenne pepper
  • 50ml water

Rehydrate the chillies in hot water for 30 minutes, remove the seeds (as they can be bitter) and chop the chillies into pieces. Add the other ingredients and liquidize.

Rehydrating the chillies

I bought a 2kg cut of pork leg and rubbed it with this marinade. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Put the pork in a slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours.

Remove the skin and bone from the pork, shred the pork and let it simmer in the marinade for another 20 minutes. Strain the pork.

Pork with ancho rub
Smoked paprika pepper sauce

I also make a smoked paprika sauce to go with the above.

Smoked paprika peppers
  • 2 smoked, fresh paprika peppers
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 15ml red wine vinegar
  • 10ml brown sugar
Fry peppers and onions

Fry the peppers and onions together until the onions are soft. Put all the ingredients together and liquidize. That’s it!

Tanya made a guacamole as well to go with the platter.

Guacamole ingredients

We served this with corn, black beans, red onions, fresh coriander, sour cream and fresh chopped chillies in tacos.

Mexican platter

And what is a Mexican dish without some good tequila ?

Good tequila

All of this was washed down with spicy Rhebokskloof Shiraz 2013 and Raka Biography Shiraz.

Write a Comment