|Photo credit: Pedro Szekely|
Guatemalan cuisine is, as you might expect, similar to the sorts of dishes you find in Mexico. Actual Mexico, I mean, not the one that pretends to occupy your local taqueria. The food comes from Mayan traditions, since it's the descendants of those ancient Mayans who now occupy the area. Corn, beans and chilies are all on the typical Guatemalan menu. Sounds good to me!
During my research there was one dish that kept popping up over and over again, and since it contained pretty much no ingredient that I don't find incredibly delicious I couldn't ignore it, even though it was kind of the obvious selection. Here it is:
- 1 pound pork*
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tomato, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- 6 green onion stalks
- 20 tomatillos
- 4 sprigs of cilantro
- 2 green chilies (if you want it spicy)
- 1 oz margarine
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs
On the side:
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet red peppers, green peas), finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 6 corn tortillas
- 12 oz fresh Mexican cheese (I used queso fresco)
- 3 eggs, separated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- About 4 tbsp vegetable oil
So here goes, starting with the pork:
Place the pork in a pot with the onion, tomato and one of the garlic cloves. Add 1 tsp of the salt and cover everything with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the pork reads 145 degrees with an internal meat thermometer. Remove the meat from the pot, reserving the broth. Let cool and then cut up into bite sized pieces.
|Diced pork in very strange lighting.|
Place the green onions, tomatillos, cilantro, the remaining garlic cloves and the chili peppers into a food processor with about two cups of the broth. Blend well, then strain off some of the liquid.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot and add the rice. Stir for a few minutes, until all the grains are coated but don't let them brown.
And finally, the Chilaquilas. Spoiler alert: these are pretty danged tasty and also really simple, if you don't mind beating egg whites.
First beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until you get some lovely stiff peaks.
Slice the cheese into quarter-inch thick slices and put them inside the tortillas, covering one half of each one. Then fold the tortillas in half.
The pork was delicious, and went perfectly with the tomatillo sauce, which was not surprising since that's the basis for a chili verde recipe I sometimes make. But by far my favorite part of the meal was the chilaquilas. They were kind of like little tortilla-stuffed omelets. Now I know I'm a mean mom but I had to kind of tell Hailey a half-truth when she wanted to know what she was eating, because the chilaquilas contained her two arch nemeses, cheese and eggs. So I told her she was eating tortillas dipped in huevos and stuffed with queso, which meant nothing to her and which she evidently didn't think to question. So even she liked it. Now of course it was a heart-attack inducing mass of cholesterol-stuffed bad for youidness, so really, what's not to like. Hailey just hasn't figured out yet that she really does like cheese and eggs.
Still picking through the alphabet and can finally see a light at the end of the "G" tunnel! Next week: Guernsey.
For printable versions of this weeks recipes: