It has been a while I know, but I have been crazy crazy busy with work, and love and friends. But now I am stuck at home for a while there were no more excuses ofcourse and i have all the time in world.
I will split up Mexico in 4 parts, because it is simply impossible to simply choose 1 dish, and Mexican food is one of my favorites.
Soooo First up is the peninsula of Yucatan. The states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo are all found in the peninsula. Northern sections of neighbouring Belize and Guatemala (haven’t been to Mexico but I have been to Guatemala and Belize, best trip I ever made!) also form part of its expanse. Yucatan is a little different from other parts of Mexico, traditionally it’s a Mayan region, and the signs of that are still very visible, for example Chichén Itzá an incredibly well-preserved Mayan center that was once a major spiritual and economic hub, which is listed as one of the seven wonders of the world. Strangely the entire peninsula has no rivers that run above the ground, but there is a complex network of underground rivers which have formed beautiful caves and underwater sinkholes called cenotes. They are a popular place to swim, snorkle and dive.
Things you didn’t now about Yucatan:
- The word “Yucatán” may be the result of a misunderstanding. The origins of the word Yucatán are the subject of debate. According to Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, the name arose from a confusion. Cortés wrote that a Spanish explorer had asked a native what the area was called. Apparently he responded “Uma’anaatik ka t’ann,” which in Mayan means “I do not understand you.” Misunderstanding his response, the Spanish named it Yucatán.
- The Yucatán is famed for its troubadour music, or trova, which has roots in Cuban and Colombian rhythms. “La Peregrina” (The Pilgrim) is one of the most popular trovassongs. Written by Ricardo Palmerín in 1923, the haunting song was commissioned by the Governor of Yucatán, Felipe Carrillo, for his fiancée, the American journalist Alma Reed. Tragically, the romance was ill-fated. Carrillo was shot dead by a rebel army while Reed was in San Francisco preparing for their wedding.
- The Yucatán Peninsula is the site of the Chicxulub crater, which was created by an asteroid about 6 to 9 miles (10 to 15 kilometers) in diameter. The impact, which struck around 65 million years ago, caused worldwide climate problems and may have triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs.
- Yucatan is the worlds top producer of the super spicy habanero pepper
The food of the Yucatán peninsula is distinct from the rest of the country and is based on Mayan food with influences from Cuba and other Caribbean islands, Europe, Asia and Middle Eastern cultures. In this recipe you can most certainly taste the Mediterranean influences.
- 6 large chicken pieces
- 6 tbsp of sunflower oil
- 1 large onion
- 1/2 small head of garlic
- 3 tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 jalapeños (chopped)
- 2 bell peppers
- a small hand full of raisins
- 15 pitted green olives
- 1 teaspoon of grated blood orange zest
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 blood orange sliced as garnish
- parsley as garnish
For the marinade:
- 4 cloves (dry-roasted)
- 1 cinnamon stick ( dry-roasted)
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns (dry-roasted)
- pinch of saffron threads
- 1 tsp of dried oregano (dry-roasted)
- 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of blood orange juice
- 1 small head of garlic
- To make the marinade, grind together the cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, saffron, and oregano in a mortar and pestle.
- Put 1 1/2 tbsp of the spice mixture into a bowl, stir in the vinegar and orange juice to make a paste and season with salt. Crush the garlic. and stir into the paste.
- Rub the paste over the chicken. Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat until the chicken nice and golden on both sides.
- Remove pan from the heat. Preheat the oven to 190C (375F)
- Heat the remaining oil in another pan and stir in the garlic and onion on medium heat.
- Add tomatoes, jalapeños, bell peppers, raisins, olives, orange zest, orange juice, sugar, and a pinch of the remaining spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Season with salt.
- Put the chicken in an ovenproof dish and pour the sauce over it. Cover with aluminum and bake for about 40 minutes. Until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Garnish with the blood orange slices and parsley.