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  • Chicken Pibil and someone pouring a glass of Brut Rose

Re-create our Bubbles & Bites: The Flavors of Mexico food & sparkling wine pairing at home with our exclusive recipe for Chicken Pibil!

Pibil is a Mayan word that means “earth.” Traditionally, the recipe calls for “cochinita,” which when you combine the words means “slow roasted little pig,”—a very traditional Mayan recipe. For this dish, we wanted to feature chicken instead of pork. This recipe is originally from Yucutan where they would cook a small pig wrapped in banana leaves for many hours buried in a smoldering pit. Among the traditional ingredients is annatto seed (here as achiote paste) that imparts a vivid yellow color, along with other vibrant flavors like cumin, oregano, and garlic.

For this updated, wine-country version of the recipe, our chefs seasoned the chicken, wrapped it with banana leaves, and slow-roasted it for six hours. Patience pays off with incredibly tender chicken with beautifully integrated flavors!


  • 100 grams (4oz) achiote paste
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp (4-5) garlic cloves, roasted and chopped
  • 3 Lbs boneless & skinless chicken thighs
  • Banana leaves or aluminum foil cut into about 12 X 12 in squares.
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 white or red onion cut in thin slices
  • Salt and pepper to season


  1. Combine achiote paste, citrus juices, oregano, cumin and garlic in a blender; process until it has a smooth texture.

  2. Place chicken in a large glass bowl and cover with the marinade sauce. Marinate overnight.

  3. Place one piece of chicken in the center of the banana leaf or the aluminum foil, spoon on some of the marinade sauce, and garnish with a slice of tomato, some slices of onion, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the chicken into the banana leaves or the aluminum foil rectangles, as if wrapping tamales. Fresh banana leaves are best as they impart additional flavor in the chicken. Repeat with remaining thighs.

  4. If you are cooking the chicken using a Dutch oven or large pot, make a bed at the bottom of the pot using banana leaves or aluminum foil. Add 1 cup of hot water and place the wrapped packages inside the pot evenly. Cover with banana leaves or aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Cook for about 12 minutes on medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 30 more minutes. Do not let the water run dry, refill to keep the steam going. You can also cook this in a slow cooker/crock pot using just ½ cup of water and cooking on low for about four hours.

  5. Unwrap the chicken and discard wrapping, tomato and onion. Serve whole thighs over rice, or shred the chicken and serve on tostadas or as soft tacos, garnished with red pickled onion.

Pair with our Brut Rosé

Recipe by Creative Palate Works Catering
Photo by Sakhon Nhek