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Puerco pibil, Yucatán pickles and gorditas

Australian Gourmet Traveller Mexican recipe for puerco pibil, Yucatán pickles and gorditas.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 4 hrs 25 mins cooking plus marinating, soaking, resting
  • Serves 8
  • Print
Puerco pibil, Yucatán pickles and gorditas
Gorditas are little fried or baked corn pockets that are like leavened tortillas. We've stuffed these with feta, herbs and puerco pibil, a festive Mexican pork dish. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 220 gm (1¾ cups) masa flour (see note)
  • 50 gm (1/3 cup) plain flour
  • 40 gm lard
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • To serve: feta, crumbled
  • To serve: parsley, mint and coriander, torn
Puerco pibil
  • 1.2 kg piece of boneless pork shoulder
  • Juice of 4 oranges and 2 lemons
  • 2½ tbsp annatto paste (see note)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 pickled jalapeño, finely chopped, plus extra, sliced, to serve (optional; see note)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp finely crushed black peppercorns
  • Large pinch of allspice
  • 2 banana leaves, for wrapping (see note)
Yucatán pickles
  • 2 Spanish onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 250 ml (1 cup) white wine vinegar
  • 4 whole allspice, cracked
  • 1½ tsp dried Mexican oregano (see note)
  • 2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced


  • 1
    For puerco pibil, combine ingredients (except banana leaves) and 2 tsp sea salt flakes in a large non-reactive container and turn pork to coat, then refrigerate to marinate overnight. Preheat oven to 180C. Line base and sides of a large casserole with banana leaves, letting leaves hang over the edges. Add pork and marinade, fold over banana leaves, tucking in edges, then cover and bake until very tender (3½-4 hours). Slice pork thinly and keep warm.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for Yucatán pickles, rinse onion under cold water, then soak in a large bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, drain and return to bowl. Boil remaining ingredients with 250ml water and 1 tsp sea salt flakes in a small saucepan over high heat, then add to onion and stand until cooled. Pickles will keep refrigerated in a sterilised jar for 2 weeks.
  • 3
    Stir masa flour and 290ml hot water in a bowl until combined, then set aside to rest (30 minutes). Combine plain flour, lard, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a separate bowl, add to masa mixture and knead until combined and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest (30 minutes).
  • 4
    Divide dough into 14 balls, then roll out into 12cm-diameter rounds with a rolling pin. Heat a dry frying pan over medium-high heat and cook gorditas in batches, turning once, until golden (3-4 minutes), then set aside.
  • 5
    Heat 5cm oil in a frying pan to 180C and fry gorditas, turning occasionally, until sides separate (1-2 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper. Open gorditas and serve stuffed with pork, pickles, feta and herbs.


Note Masa flour, also known as masa harina, is a type of corn flour. Annatto paste, also known as achiote paste, is made from annatto seeds and other spices. Masa flour, annatto paste, pickled jalapeños and dried Mexican oregano are available from select grocers, Mexican specialty stores and Monterey Mexican Foods. Banana leaves are available from Asian grocers.
Drink Suggestion: An aromatic, hoppy pale ale or an exotically perfumed and creamy viognier. Drink suggestion by Max Allen