Neighborhood Eats celebrates Cinco de Mayo at Estrellita Poblano

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Lauren Glassberg reports on Estrellita Poblano in the Bronx.

Estrellita Poblana serves the food of Puebla, Mexico as well as dishes from all over the country. Kiki and Leonardo Gonzalez opened it in 1999, in Castle Hill section of the Bronx where Leonard spent much of his life after moving from Puebla.

They started with a grocery store featuring Mexican specialties, but the snacks and meals they served in the back took hold. Estrellita Poblana also has a sister restaurant on Arthur Avenue.

You might not know if from the cooking, but Kiki is Greek. She fell in love with Mexican cuisine after meeting Leonardo and she learned to cook it as well as he does.

You'll find specialties like cochinita pebil, mole poblano, bistec Estrellita and molcajete estrellita.

They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the Mariachis play on weekends.

Cochinita Pibil Recipe

8 servings

Ingredients:
5-6 pounds pork butt (trimmed but with some fat remaining)
2 oz achiote paste
20 peeled garlic cloves
1 3 inch piece Mexican cinnamon
1 tablespoons whole allspice berries
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
1 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole black peppers

1 tablespoon whole cloves
cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 cup fresh bitter orange juice
2 tablespoons seasoned salt
1 large red onion sliced
15 whole bay leafs
1 pound banana leaves

Pickled Habanero- Red Onions
(Mix together)
3 large red onions sliced
8 fresh habanero chiles sliced
2 cups fresh bitter orange juice
1/5 cup white vinegar
Salt

1. Make several one inch deep cuts on fat side of the pork to allow the marinate to penetrate.
Season with seasoned salt.

2. Preheat oven to 350F

3. In a blender combine achiote, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, oregano, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, vinegar & orange juice until it's a smooth paste

4. Toast the banana leaves to get them more pliable. Line the bottom of a heavy roasting pan with of the banana leaves. They should overlap the pan on all sides.

5. Place half of the sliced onions & whole bay leafs on bottom of pan.

6. Place the pork into the pan fat side up. Pour marinade over the pork and cover with the remaining onion slices & bay leafs.

7. Fold in the banana leaves over the meat and than secure tightly with aluminum foil.

8. Bake at 350 for 3-4 hours until fork tender.

9. Allow to cool for 20 minutes

10. Spoon off some of the fat and serve with its juices on a banana leaf. Top with pickled habanero onions

Enjoy with hot corn tortillas!!

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