Pollo pibil is a Yucatecan dish: chicken marinated in achiote paste and sour orange juice and baked in banana leaves. The hardest ingredients to find are fresh banana leaves, and sour oranges. You may be able to find fresh banana leaves in Mexican markets, and they are almost always available frozen in Asian supermarkets. If you can’t get banana leaves, you can bake the chicken in foil instead, but the banana leaves lend a unique grassy note to pibil dishes, notes adamclyde. Defrost frozen leaves, cut out the thick veins, and steam them just long enough to make them pliable. Sour oranges can also difficult to find, but a combination of orange juice with lime juice or vinegar makes a good substitute.

Pollo pibil is served with a red onion escabeche (pickled onions). Here are PBSF’s recipes for both:

1 cut up chicken, about 3 lbs.
1/4 cup achiote paste
1/4 cup orange juice
juice of half a lime
2 tsps. grated orange zest
1 yellow or white onion, sliced
2 small tomatoes, sliced

Mix together the achiote paste, orange juice, lime juice, and zest. Rub the paste over the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onion in a little oil until brown and soft. Season with salt and pepper. Line a baking dish with banana leaves or foil. Place the marinated chicken pieces, including any marinade liquid, on the leaves or foil. Season with salt. Spoon the cooked onions on top of the chicken and top with tomato slices. Place more banana leaves or foil over the chicken to completely enclose it in the pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes. Turn the oven up to 450, cut the banana leaves or foil on top open, and let the chicken brown on top (about 10 minutes). Check to be sure the chicken is cooked through.

Pickled Onions

2 peeled red onions, sliced into 1/8- to 1/4-inch rings
1 small hot chile (jalapeno, serrano, or habanero, depending how much heat you want), sliced into thin rings
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed cumin seeds
1/2 tsp.crushed black peppercorns
large pinch dried Mexican oregano
large pinch salt

Bring about 4 cups water to a boil. Turn off heat and add the sliced onions. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Drain. Combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients and let them sit for a few hours before using. They’ll keep for weeks refrigerated in a covered jar.

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Have Achiote Paste..want to make Pollo Pibil

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