This dish uses similar flavors to those in a mole sauce, though with no chocolate. The addition of dried chiles, cinnamon and allspice make the flavors very much Guatemalan. Though I ate this from street vendors and loved it, I had never made it myself until now. The dish can be made with either beef or chicken, or even turkey with equally good results. Other vegetables may be added to the stew, such as carrots, green peppers or chayote squash, as desired. It is always served with rice.
Serves 6 - 8
2½ pounds beef stew meat, in 2-inch cubes
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil, for browning
2 dried ancho or pasa chiles
1 chile guaque or guajillo
2 cups water, boiling in small saucepan
4 Roma tomatoes
4 tomatillos, husks removed
1 large onion, peeled, cut in quarters
2 - 3 cloves garlic
¼ cup unhulled sesame seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitoria)
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 allspice berries
3-inches true cinnamon stick
½ - 1 cup cilantro
1½ tablespoons annatto seeds, or 1 - 2 teaspoons powdered
1½ teaspoons salt
1 pound potatoes, peeled, in large cubes
2 soaked corn tortillas or 2 soaked slices bread, for thickening
In the saucepan of
boiling water, place the 2 ancho or pasa chiles and the chile guaque (or
other dried red hot chile pepper) and allow to simmer for 10 - 15
minutes, until soft. Set pot aside.
Pepian de Res, served with Guatemalan style rice
Pepian de Res, in the cooking pot
Preheat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches from the heat. On a baking sheet set the whole tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic and onion quarters. Allow the skins to blacken, turning as necessary, and removing them to a blender container. Allow the onions to separate and blacken the edges and soften.
In a dry skillet over high heat, toast the sesame and pumpkin seeds, the cinnamon, broken into bits, the peppercorns and allspice berries until the sesame and pumpkin seeds begin to pop. Pour the seeds into the blender container with the tomato mixture. Remove the dried and soaked chiles from the boiling liquid, reserving the liquid. Remove and discard stems and seeds and add the chiles to the blender container. Add in the cilantro and blend the mixture until fine. If liquid is needed to blend, use small amounts of the chile soaking water.
Place the annatto seeds into the remaining chile soaking liquid and allow them to soak in the hot liquid while browning the meat. Wipe the pieces of meat dry and set them, a few at a time, into some olive oil in a large Dutch oven over relatively high heat. Turn the meat to brown on all sides, removing to a plate while continuing with the rest. This will take at least 4 batches. Do not over crowd the pan or the meat will steam. Once all the meat is browned, return the reserved meat to the pan and pour in the contents of the blender container. Add 2 teaspoons salt and stir. To the blender container, add in the annatto seeds with the liquid and blend on very low speed. The goal is to remove as much of the orange outside of the seed as possible, without actually blending the seeds to powder as the seeds are bitter. You want the color and flavor of the seeds only. Strain the contents into the pot and discard the remaining seeds. Add the potatoes and stir. Cover the pot and place in a 275 degree oven, or whatever temperature will maintain a simmer, for about 2 - 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.
Drain off any remaining liquid from the tortillas or bread and add to the pot, stirring to dissolve and thicken slightly. Serve the stew over rice.
Just as with the cauliflower recipe below, this was the first time I tasted radishes in a way that I liked, again in Guatemala. The radish salad itself is simple, and with a food processor nowadays, also quick and easy. In Guatemala with no such appliance, it was all hand chopped.
12 radishes, trimmed
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion
½ cup fresh mint, chopped fine
2 limes, juiced
Salt, to taste
Place onion and radishes in food processor and pulse to chop relatively fine. Place in a bowl and add all the other ingredients and mix well.
NOTES: If this dish is made with chopped pork rinds added, it is called Chojin.
Chopped Radish Salad with Meat
(Picado de Rabano con Carne)
If the Chopped Radish Salad is marvelous, the addition of an equal volume of chopped beef roast just makes it all that much better. Now you have a main dish, wonderful paired with rice.
1 recipe Chopped Radish Salad (Picado de Rabano)
3/4 - 1 pound Brisket
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
lime juice and salt, to taste
Place the brisket in a pot with water to barely cover. Add the salt, onion and bay leaf, cover and cook for at least 2 hours at a simmer. When tender, remove from pot and cut into chunks. A few at a time, pulse the chunks of meat in the food processor until finely chopped. Add to the bowl with the Chopped Radish Salad. At this point you will need more lime juice and salt added to the mixture.
Cauliflower in Egg Batter
(Coliflor Envuelto en Huevo)
I never liked cauliflower until tasting this dish in Guatemala. I was raised to always taste any food presented when I was a guest in someone's house. In Guatemala, this stricture was severely tested, with so many very different and unusual foods presented daily. Before moving to Guatemala, I never liked cauliflower, so tasting this dish was a revelation. I hope it will bring joy to others as well. It was always served with a simple tomato sauce over top. This type of tomato sauce is used in Guatemala for many simple applications; over vegetables, meat, steak.
Makes about 4 servings
1 pound cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons salt
3 eggs, separated
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour (or rice flour in Gluten Free)
oil, as needed for frying
Cauliflower in Egg Batter
Set cauliflower florets in a pot with enough water to just barely cover. Bring to a boil and add the 2 tablespoons to the pot. Cook until just tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain into a colander and allow the florets to cool to just warm.
Make the egg batter: With a mixer, beat the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl until stiff. Separately, beat the egg yolks until very pale and lemon colored and when dropped from the beaters, form a ribbon that does not immediately disappear. Add the ½ teaspoon salt and the flour/rice flour and mix well. Fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites gently so as not to deflate.
Heat a large skillet with oil. Nonstick comes in very handy here. Dip each cauliflower floret into the egg batter so it is completely covered and fry in the pan until golden brown, turning so all of the egg is cooked. When starting out, the florets look like puffy white clouds. Once fried, they become angular golden chunks of goodness. Place the finished cauliflower on a plate to serve and pour the tomato sauce over all.
SIMPLE TOMATO SAUCE
1 tablespoon olive oil or other cooking oil of choice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 - 2 tomatoes, or 4 - 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
While cauliflower is cooking and cooling, make the Simple
Heat a skillet with oil of choice and saute the onion for
about 15 minutes, stirring often until nicely golden. Add the garlic
and salt and saute another 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and lower heat.
Cook over a low simmer until the tomatoes and onions are very soft. If
it gets too dry while cooking, add in some water. Keep warm.
This refreshing beverage is made with the calyx of the Roselle hibiscus flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa), called Rosa de Jamaica in Guatemala. It is a brilliant deep red and makes a tartly thirst-quenching chilled beverage that is reputedly very healthy. Claims are made that drinking this each day will lower blood pressure, a great side effect. It is just delicious.
Makes 1 quart
1/3 to ½ cup dried Rosa de Jamaica
4 cups boiling water
¼ cup sugar, more, or less to taste
Place the dried Rosa de Jamaica calyxes into the boiling water and allow to steep for 20 minutes or so. Strain and sweeten to taste. Chill and enjoy.
Pollo en Jocon
This can also be made as Carne en Jocon by substituting beef stew meat for the chicken. Basically, either meat is stewed in Green Sauce with a couple of additions, either on top of the stove or in an oven. If the green sauce is already made, the dish takes no time at all to prepare. It is usually served with rice, preferably made in the Guatemalan way, with the addition of peas, carrot, green pepper and onion. I also use achiote (annato seeds) to make the rice a lovely color.
Serves about 6
1 whole chicken, cut up, or 2 lbs beef stew meat (for Carne en Jocon)
olive oil, for browning
1½ cups (more if desired) Salsa Verde / Green Sauce, recipe below
1½ teaspoons salt
1 - 2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 corn tortillas, broken into small pieces
Pollo en Jocon
Carne en Jocon
Have the recipe for green sauce already made, either fresh or frozen. Heat some olive oil in a heavy duty oven safe enameled cast iron stew pot or Dutch oven and brown the meat. Pour the green sauce over the meat and add in the salt, bay leaves and oregano. Bring to a boil and cover with tight fitting lid. Place covered pot in a preheated 300 degree oven for 1½ to 2 hours for chicken and about 2 to 2½ hours for beef.
Tear the tortillas into small pieces and cover with water. When nearing serving time, place the pan on top of the stove over medium-low heat and add in the drained, soaked tortilla bits, stirring until the tortilla thickens the sauce a bit. Serve with rice.
Salsa Verde is made with tomatillos as the base, with other green vegetables and herbs to round out the flavors. It can be used as a green salsa appetizer dip, or as a sauce for other dishes. One of the main dishes using a salsa verde is Carne en Jocon, or Pollo in Jocon. Carne means beef, and Pollo means chicken. The basic sauce is delicious, wherever the application. Use it to braise a pork roast! This sauce freezes beautifully.
Makes about 3 cups
1 pound tomatillos
1 large onion
1 - 4 jalapenos, more or less as desired
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 large green pepper
3 stalks celery (about 1½ cups, roughly chopped)
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Turn on broiler with rack
in highest position. Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse. Set these
on a baking sheet along with the whole jalapeno(s) . Cut off root and
stem ends of onion and quarter. Set on baking sheet. Place under broiler and allow to char slightly,
4 to 5 minutes. Turn over and char opposite side. Remove from oven.
Place tomatillos in blender container with the parsley and cilantro.
Heat olive oil in a large
skillet. Roughly chop the green pepper and celery, along with the
charred onion and saute in the oil until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add in the garlic and the jalapenos (stems removed; seeds removed or
left in as desired) for another 2 minutes. Add the contents of the skillet to the blender and puree just until no large chunks are left.
Salsa Verde, above. Tomatillos, below.
Return to the skillet and add in the salt, pepper, allspice and thyme leaves and simmer, stirring occasionally for another 8 to 10 minutes, to cook through and round out flavors.
"Tostada" means "toasted." These are snack foods found everywhere in Guatemala, and generally found just as shown: one of each. Three simple fried corn tortillas, one with guacamole, one with tomato sauce and one with black beans. All are topped identically with fresh onion rings, cotija, or "fresh" cheese (queso fresco) and chopped parsley.
TO MAKE TOSTADAS:
Tomato Sauce: same as for Enchiladas Black Beans, pureed and cooked until thick
Guacamole (avocado, lime juice, scallion and salt)
corn tortillas, fried until crisped, but not hard
cotija cheese for sprinkling
Three Tostadas: Black Bean, Guacamole and Tomato Sauce
Prepare the tomato sauce. Make black beans, puree them and cook a portion down until quite thick. Make guacamole. Guatemalan guacamole is made simply with mashed avocado, a little chopped onion, salt, lime juice and sometimes a tiny pinch of dried oregano. No Tomato! In 12 years living in Guatemala, never once did I see tomato in the guacamole.
Once the individual items are prepared, you can make as many tostadas as desired. These are entirely Gluten Free.
Little shortbread cookies that burst apart when you bite. The name comes from "polvo" meaning dust or powder, which is what you get when you bite. Messy and delicious, these are a real treat. Traditionally a small cookie, about 1½ inches wide by ½ inch high with defined edges, use a mini muffin tin to achieve the shapes.
Place granulated sugar into a food processor or blender to make it very fine. Cream the butter and shortening, then add the sugar and cream well.
In another bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and cornstarch. With a wooden spoon mix the flour and cornstarch mixture into the creamed mixture, with a pinch of salt. This will never be a cohesive dough like other cookies, but crumbs that can be pressed together.
Using a mini muffin tin, pack the crumbs into the little wells, then turn the muffin tin over, holding from the opposite side. Rap sharply down onto counter or cutting board to release the cookies. You may try to make other forms out of this mixture, but the mini muffin tin idea worked really well.
Gently place cookie forms onto a baking sheet. Bake these in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Dredge in confectioners' sugar while still hot from the oven.
Pack Crumbs into Mini-Muffin Tin | Rap Tin Down Sharply to Release
Guatemalan Chimichurri is most often used as a marinade, rather than a sauce to pour over a meat, as is most often found online. It seems an unlikely combination of ingredients, yet turns out such wonderful flavors. There is one ingredient that I have never seen or used: Cashew Fruit Wine, or Vino de Maranon. This recipe is a pared down version of a recipe given me in Guatemala, and that I make and keep frozen for any time I need.
The cashew nut is an external seed hanging off the flower end of the cashew fruit, or "jocote maranon". The fruit itself can be quite astringent. Just FYI.
Makes about 5 to 6 cups
5 ripe Roma tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped, stems discarded
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1½ teaspoons paprika
1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
2 - 3 bay leaves, crumbled, stems discarded
¼ cup yellow mustard
½ cup olive oil
1 beer (Guatemalan style, or German)
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 cup cilantro leaves
Salt, to taste
Cut up vegetables as needed and place all in a blender to puree. Use a portion for a marinade or cooking liquid for a roast. Divide the rest into containers to freeze until needed.
NOTES: Use to marinate skirt steak for grilling, or equally at home as a savory stewing liquid for a roast beef.
FOR GLUTEN FREE: Substitute the beer for a gluten free variety.
Guatemalan enchiladas bear no resemblance to those we know in the U.S. Far healthier, made with fresh vegetables cooked and lightly pickled, homemade tomato sauce, cooked meat and served on a fried corn tortilla base, these are so good they have to be tasted to be believed. "Enchilada" means "something that is made hot by use of chiles". The title is a misnomer, as there are no chiles or heat of any kind, unless one chooses to use a hot sauce on their own serving. This recipe requires various separate recipes to create the final product.
Makes about 8 - 10 enchiladas
3 medium beets, about ¾ pound
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced green beans, optional
½ - 1 cup julienned or thick-shredded carrots, optional
Vinegar / water solution
The main vegetables used are always beets and cabbage. Sometimes green beans and carrots are added as well. Boil the beets whole, then peel and shred. Place in a container with a lid. Cook the cabbage until tender; place into another container with lid. If using green beans and carrots, repeat, placing each in their separate container.
Mix up a solution of half white vinegar and half water, with a little salt for flavor. Pour about ¾ cup of this solution over each of the separate vegetables, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
1 pound brisket
1 medium onion, whole
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place brisket in a pot with water to cover, along with the next three ingredients and cook at a slow simmer for 2 to 2½ hours, or until very tender. Remove meat from pan to cool. Strain and save the delicious broth for another application, or freeze for later. Slice the meat very thinly across the grain, which is very apparent in brisket. The meat will easily fall apart into tiny, "shredded" pieces.
Heat a skillet and add in the oil until it shimmers. Saute the chopped onion until well cooked and golden. Add in the meat and saute over relatively high heat, tossing constantly. The goal is fine bits of meat, nicely browned. Place in a container and refrigerate or set aside for later.
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes - OR -
(4 to 5 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped)
1 onion, chopped
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 stalk celery, finely minced
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ - 1 teaspoon salt, as needed
In a skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers and add in the onion. Saute until nicely golden but not brown. Add in the garlic and celery and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add in the tomatoes and cook until completely melded (if using Roma tomatoes, simmer until tomatoes are cooked through); if there is too much liquid, cook until some liquid has evaporated. Season with salt to taste. Place all in a food processor or blender and puree until fine. Set aside or refrigerate for later.
Enchilada, Guatemalan Style
Other Items Needed:
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
8 - 10 Romaine lettuce leaves
Cotija cheese, grated, for sprinkling
Sliced raw onion rings for garnish
Parsley, chopped, for garnish
8 to 10 corn tortillas, fried in oil of choice
ASSEMBLING: Refer to the picture above right. Drain all the vegetables and combine. (Keeping them separate while pickling allows each vegetable to retain its own flavor.) Set aside.
Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the tortillas on each side until mostly crisp. They should still have a tiny bit of "give". The only tortillas I have seen available in the US that approximate the type of homemade corn tortillas in Guatemala are from "La Tortilla Factory". Called "Home Made Style Corn Tortillas," they have a small amount of flour to give the thickness and flexibility of the true corn tortilla made by hand. The thickness is required to be able to pick these enchiladas up to eat them. Any corn tortilla can be used, but will be too thin to lift easily.
Once the tortillas are fried, set out all the ingredients. Place a good dollop of tomato sauce on each tortilla and spread to the edges. Set one good sized lettuce leaf onto the tomato sauce. Place about a half cup, or more as desired, of the well-drained vegetable mixture onto the lettuce. Top with a scant half cup or so of the meat mixture. Set on top one slice of onion and hard boiled egg. Sprinkle on some grated Cotija cheese and parsley. Eat immediately. THESE DO NOT KEEP, ONCE ASSEMBLED.