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Yucatan Carnitas, Pozole, and Halibut Ceviche from El Centro de la Raza

Food & Drink >

My name is Patrick Nelson, Brown Paper Tickets’ food and drink specialist. I have been working with a Latino community center in the Seattle area called El Centro de la Raza. My mission is to help them create a program  that brings the community together to learn how to create authentic Latin cuisine.  Chef Vincent Rivera, a long time Seattle chef currently working at Jazz Alley, volunteered his time to demonstrate recipes that fill the soul and the belly with comfort: Carnitas, Ceviche and Pozole.

We cooked and tasted and laughed and chatted and when we were done we ate our delicious creations together in a wonderfully relaxed environment. Everyone had an an ear to ear smile, felt satisfied and full and we received a certificate of completion. Mission accomplished, BPT and El Centro de la Raza. Well done!

Here is my recipe for Yucatan Carnitas, Ceviche and Pozole with Pico de Gallo, which we made at the cooking workshop at El Centro led by Vincent. Enjoy!


Yucatan Carnitas


10 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2” cubes
1 quart orange juice
1 brick achiote paste *
4 cinnamon sticks
4 dried New Mexico chilies, ground
1 quart stock or water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper and brown in a large braising pan over high heat quickly to get a good crust on the meat. In a separate container, mix together the anchiote and orange juice and set aside. Add the cinnamon sticks and NM chilies to the pork once it’s browned and stir until fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. Add the orange juice and anchiote mixture to deglaze the pan (be sure to scrape the bottom). Add the stock or water to cover the pork cover and place into the 325 degree oven. Cook about 2 hours until pork is fork tender. Be sure to check the level of liquid periodically to ensure the meat is covered!

* Recado rojo or achiote paste is a popular blend of spices from Mexico. Originally a Mayan blend, it is now strongly associated with the Mexican cuisine of Yucatan and Belizean cuisine. The spice mixture usually includes annatto, Mexican oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt. The annatto seeds dye the mixture red, and this gives the meat or vegetables it seasons a distinctive red hue. Definition courtesy of Wikipedia.



8oz Pozole/hominy
1-2 cured pigs feet
4-5 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp oregano
2 dried New Mexican chilies crushed
2 large onions chopped
6 cloves of garlic chopped
3 bay leaves
3 Tbsp cumin
Water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over low heat, sweat (gently cook) the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add bay leaves, oregano, chilies and cumin along with the corn and pigs’ feet. Stir together and cover with water. Bring the Pozole to a simmer and cover for 1-2 hours or until the corn is tender. Remove the pigs’ feet and let them cool until you can pick the meat from them. Roughly chop the meat and add it back in. Season the Pozole with salt and pepper to taste.


Halibut Ceviche

3 lbs halibut
1/2 red or sweet onion, thinly sliced (optional)
4 oz lime juice
1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1 tbsp of cilantro chopped

Prepare the fish: Skin and bone. Remove any darker pieces of flesh, particularly anything along the blood line. Pat the remaining flesh dry. Cut into ½ inch cubes.

Combine the halibut, red onion, and lime juice in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Gently stir to coat. Cover and place in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes, gently stirring halfway through.

Remove from the refrigerator. Gently strain the fish and onions through a mesh strainer. Transfer to a clean mixing bowl.

Add the jalapeño, and 1 tablespoon of cilantro. Gently stir to combine.

Salt to taste.

Pico de Gallo


4 tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 bunch cilantro
3 limes
2 Jalapenos

Dice tomatoes and onions and put them in a bowl mince and add jalapenos. Chop the cilantro and add it along with the juice of the three limes. Mix together with a spoon season with salt and pepper to taste.


If you’d like to work on making these culinary delights with Chef Rivera or any of the other fantastic guest chefs at El Centro de la Raza, they have a wealth of classes available to attend. The next one coming up is a Tamale Making Class on Saturday, June 16.

Class fees go to support El Centro’s Senior Wellness Program that provides balanced daily congregate meals, daily social and educational activities, exercise classes three times a week, and delivered meals to home-bound seniors each week.