My mother and grandmothers used achiote oil to flavor rice dishes, sancochos (stews), and to make wet adobo (what a glorious color on whatever you’re roasting!), but I have used it to make mash potatoes (or sweet potatoes!), Gnocchi, alcapurrias, buñuelos, and a million other things! This has always been in my “BASICS” section of any of my cookbooks, and I promise you that next to SOFRITO, this will become one of your favorite recipes in your culinary arsenal!
I know you have heard me say it a thousand times, but remember to show your Achiote Oil a little love and it will love you back 10 fold! A little patience and you will be rewarded with a delicious, fragrant, vibrant result.
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons of good quality achiote seeds
1. Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan, and add the achiote seeds at high heat, until you see the rim of the oil in the pan start to twinkle. Immediately lower the heat on the oil so you can control how fast you leach the color and flavor out of the seeds. When your oil reaches a brilliant orange color, turn the heat off.
2. Pass the oil through a fine sieve or chinois into a glass receptacle and let cool until ready for use.
NOTE: Achiote oil is not something you can put on the stove and walk away from; you must watch it very closely to monitor the process. If the heat is too high or you cook it too long, the oil will turn green, the seeds will turn black, and the whole thing will turn into a bitter mess. It must be discarded as it is not fit for use.