Puerco al Horno con Achiote (Roast Pork With Annatto Marinade)

This is another family recipe shared with me by my prima Ofelia Lopez. Her mom, my tía Velia, had 12 kids all together, so she would cook in big quantities enough to feed a big family. I downsized the ingredients by a third, or else I would have had enough pork to feed the whole block, LOL! It’s a wonderfully delicious and simple recipe that is easy to prep. In my house, there is only my husband and myself, so I split the pork into three sections and make three different dishes from it. I am truly blessed to have reconnected with my extended family and that we can share family recipes.

Yields up to 8 servings


4 pound pork butt roast
1 1/2 ounces annatto (achiote) paste
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped


The first night we made tacos with homemade corn tortillas…


1. In the blender, combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt. Pour marinade over pork to coat evenly. Marinate for 24 hours.

2. Remove pork from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Transfer the pork butt, along with all the marinade, to a roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil or lid and roast for 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours, remove cover or foil and roast for another hour, basting ever 15 to 20 minutes. The last few minutes, cook the roast under the broiler to brown and crisp the top of the roast. Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes before slicing.

4. Serve as-is with your favorite sides of rice and beans, warm tortillas or as a filling for tacos, burritos, enchiladas and taquitos.

Notes: For a variation on the marinade, you could add some chipotles in adobo for a spicier version or add some fresh squeezed orange juice for a hint of citrus and sweetness. I chose to leave all of the liquid in the roast while it was cooking. If you cannot find annatto, you could add 2 teaspoons turmeric and 2 teaspoons smoked paprika to create a similar marinade.


LA RECETA en español (This is the exact recipe sent to me by my cousin!)

Los ingredientes:

1 pierna de puerco
1 caja de achiote/annatto

1 taza de vinagre
1 taza de agua
3 dientes de ajo
2 hojitas de laurel
1 cucharada de consome
1 trozo de cebolla
1 tomate grande o 2 medianos
La Preparación:

Se licuan todos los ingredientes

Se marina la pierna un dia antes de que se valla a cocinar

Se mete al horno 1 hora por cada kilo (2,2 libras) que pese la pierna

Vaciarle su jugo cada hora para que se reseque


My tía Velia… a sweet lady who loved being in the kitchen.

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