Pollo Pibil is a classic Mexican dish from the Yucatan peninsula. Chicken pieces are marinated in Achiote paste and sour orange juice then slow-cooked until tender.
This is the first time I have used achiote paste which is made from the ground-up seeds of the annatto tree, mixed with salt, garlic, oregano, vinegar and spices.
The cooked chicken is beautifully coloured from the paste and full of wonderful citrus flavours.
The traditional method of cooking Pollo pibil in the Yucatan has the chicken wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a fire pit, but we will use a cast-iron casserole (dutch oven).
For the marinade:
- 120 ml orange juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 45 g achiote paste
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano preferably Mexican
- ½ tsp salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the chicken:
- 900 g chicken thighs
- 1 onion finely sliced
- 1 red pointed pepper halved, de-seeded and finely sliced
- 240 ml water
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- 1 bay leaf
For the pickled red onion:
- 1 red onion halved and finely sliced
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 pinch oregano
- 1 pinch salt
To marinate the chicken:
- Combine the orange juice, lime juice, achiote paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and allspice in a blender. Add to a large Ziploc bag or non-reactive bowl, add the chicken pieces and marinate for at least 1 hour, but no more than 4 hours.
To cook the chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4
- Put the sliced onion, peppers and minced garlic in the bottom of the casserole. Place the marinated chicken thighs on top, pour over the marinade and add the water and bay leaf.
- Cover and cook in the oven for 90 minutes.
To make the pickled red onion:
- Wash the sliced red onion with cold water, put it in a bowl, add some salt, leave it for 10 min.
- Wash it again, add the lime juice, a pinch of oregano and salt.
- Leave it to pickle for 10 min.
- Serve with rice and the pickled red onion.