Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1st Annual Mayan Fin del Mundo Fiesta: The Recipes Pt. II

An alux (duende in Spanish), or Mayan leprechaun or forest goblin. Described as imp-like and knee-high, these little bastards can wreck havoc when they get pissed off......

This second edition on the blog is made up of the salads and the entree for the Mayan dinner party. Part I was the menu, the spirits, the appetizer, and the soup. There will be a corresponding article in the Austin Chronicle Food section on Thursday, Dec. 20. Plan your own Mayan End of the World (or Beginning of the New World) party!


Zic de Carne / Salpicón de Carne – Salad of Braised Shredded Beef
Serves 8 as an appetizer
Traditionally this salad is made using venison meat (small deer are indigenous to the Yucatán peninsula), but beef is an acceptable substitute. A lean cut like flank or brisket is perfect, as the meat gets shredded apart after long braising.

4 black peppercorns
4 allspice berries
½ stick cinnamon or canela
1 Tbl dried Mexican oregano
1 bay leaf
1 medium white onion, peeled and roasted on a comal or griddle
1 whole head garlic, top sliced off, roasted on a comal or griddle, cloves squeezed to extract
3 serrano chiles, roasted on a comal or griddle
2 cups beef broth
2 pounds flank or skirt steak, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 Tbl oil
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup radishes, diced
¼ cup chopped green olives
1 avocado, diced
½ cup sour orange juice (¼ cup orange juice + 2 Tbl lime juice + 2 Tbl grapefruit juice)
Salt to taste

Combine the peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, oregano, bay leaf, onion, garlic, chiles, and beef broth in a blender and puree the mixture. Rub the beef with salt and pepper and heat a sauté pan to medium high heat. Pour the oil in the pan and sauté the beef on both sides until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Pour in the broth mixture, add enough water to cover the  meat by 1-inches, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover the pan, and simmer over low heat for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the meat is very tender. Let the meat cool in any remaining pan liquids and finely shred the meat, moistening with some of the cooking liquid. Reserve.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and let them rest for 15 minutes to combine the flavors. Add the shredded beef to the mixture and serve immediately or refrigerate and bring to room temperature at serving time. Spoon onto tostados/totopos, to be eaten out-of-hand.

Ensalada Xec -- Jicama and Mandarin Orange Salad 
Serves 8
1½ pounds jicama, peeled and cut into julienne strips
¼ cup sour orange juice (2 Tbl orange juice + 1 Tbl each grapefruit and lime juice)
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
5 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned, seeds removed
½ teaspoon crushed dried chile: chilaca > pasilla > pequin > habanero (mild > hot), or more to taste (I prefer pequin)
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
Pequin chile powder for garnish (optional)

Peel jicama. Cut jicama into julienne strips and immediately toss in a large bowl with sour orange juice to prevent discoloration. Mix oranges and cucumber with jicama (you can use canned Mandarin oranges if you’re really lazy). Mix in chile and cilantro. Toss well and taste for seasonings. Garnish with pequin chile powder, if using. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Baked Banana Leaf-Wrapped Marinated Pork -- Cochinita Pibil             Serves 8 to 10
Pibil dishes are traditionally cooked in a pib: a hand-dug pit in the ground lined with mesquite coals and stones heated in the fire. A corrugated metal top covers up the pit, which is then sealed with earth. Meats cooked inside a pib are first wrapped and bundled in banana leaves to contain juices and flavor. The pib cooks with heat and steam making anything cooked within tender and succulent.

Any meat, poultry, or seafood can be cooked pibil style, with varying appropriate cooking times. Fresh banana leaves should be pesticide-free and need to be softened over a flame so that they become pliable. Frozen banana leaves can be used as a substitute, but must be briefly flamed or blanched in hot water to become pliable. Aluminum foil can be used as a last resort, but the flavor of the dish will suffer. 

4 lbs pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
8 oz achiote paste
1 cup bitter orange juice (½ cup orange juice + ¼ cup lime juice + ¼ cup grapefruit juice)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 allspice berries, coarsely ground
8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed into a paste
4 güero chiles, crushed into a paste
2-4 habanero chiles, finely minced or crushed into a paste (optional)
About 4 to 6 banana leaves, passed over a flame to soften
2 Tablespoons melted lard or butter
Pickled red onions and corn tortillas for service

Place the pork in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Dissolve the achiote paste in the orange juice, add the remaining ingredients except the banana leaves and the lard or butter, and mix well. Pour the marinade over the pork, distribute evenly, and marinate overnight.
Line the bottom of a large oiled baking dish with banana leaves, letting them hang over the sides of the dish so that they can be folded over the pork. Place the marinated pork and the marinade on the leaves. Drizzle the melted lard or corn oil over the pork, fold the banana leaves to cover the pork, and seal all tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 1½ hours. Remove the dish and allow the pork to rest, sealed, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, fold back the banana leaves, and use two forks to shred the meat. Drain all juices from the pan into the shredded meat.
Serve with pickled red onion rings and hot corn tortillas (the tortillas at Tortilleria Rio Grande I and II are fantastic).

Mick Vann ©

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