Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cooking Class

A couple of weeks ago a friend from church invited me to a cooking class she attends at a local DIF (stands for Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, translation 'Integral Development of the Family').  Local DIFs offer many kinds of classes and services, from cooking to hair-styling to crafts to sports.  Classes are sometimes free, although the cooking classes cost a little to help offset the expenses.  Each class costs 25 pesos, or about 2$ US.

These classes are offered several times a day every day of the week except Sunday, but my friends only go on Wednesday nights.  While the ladies are at the class, the guys usually take all the kids over to the park to ride their bicycles and then everyone eats supper together afterwards.

I decided to go since the ladies are learning to make traditional Christmas dishes and also because it's a good chance to hang out with friends.  I was also curious about the class and figured it would be a great cultural experience!  Since it was somewhat a last-minute invite, I didn't have any ingredients to make anything that day, so I just watched and took pictures.

One of my friends made a carrot cake, but I was more interested in my other friend who made cochinita pibil, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish.  We love cochinita pibil and I was pretty excited to see it made.

Some of the ingredients for cochinita pibil:  oranges,
lemons, peppercorns, red onions, dried chiles, habanero peppers, 
achiote paste (red annatto seeds mixed with 
vinegar, salt, garlic and spices)

First of all, the cook helped select the right banana leaves to wrap the pork in while it was roasting in the oven.  They put the pork pieces in the oven to bake for about 1/2 an hour before adding the sauce.

Then the dried chiles were de-seeded, soaked in water, warmed and then blended together with some orange juice, the achiote paste and the peppercorns.  Salt, garlic and chicken bullion can be added, too.  Once the sauce was ready, they pulled the pork out of the oven and poured the sauce over the pork and baked for another hour or so.

In the meantime, she prepared the topping to eat with the cochinita pibil...grated carrot, sliced red onions, sliced habanero peppers (yes, it was SPICY!!!) along with lemon and orange juice.  She didn't happen to have another dish handy, so she improvised and used this baking dish.  I thought it looked pretty cool...

When the pork was finally done, we tasted a bit before heading home...the end result was absolutely delicious!  Cochinita pibil is traditionally shredded and then served  inside of corn tortillas and topped with the carrot/onion mixture.

For an actual recipe and more complete instructions on how to make cochinita pibil, check out this page!  It has a few differences from the process I observed, but is probably more complete and therefore more yummy.  :)  I don't have an oven or I would have tried this recipe at home already!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to cooking class last week and my friend couldn't go this week, but I am looking forward to learning how to make something interesting next week!


Cindy said...

I was just wondering the other day where i had put my recipe for cochinita pibil. i'm so excited to see this!! gonna make it really soon.

Rebecca Conduff Aguirre said...

Awesome! Glad I could be of service...hope it turns out delicious! :)