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Chicken in an onion and chili souse (Pollo en Escabeche Oriental)
6 to 8 servings
Pheasant in souse is one of the classic dishes of Spain that has been adopted and adapted by some of the South American countries and Yucat�n. It is a light and refreshing dish with a most interesting flavor.
The curassow-now rather rare-is the "pheasant" of Yucat�n, and it was seasoned and cooked in a pib and served with lightly pickled onions and chilies.
Nowadays chickens or small turkeys are cooked in this way. The chicken used here is rubbed with a paste of ground spices and garlic, cooked, then broiled and served in a mild souse of onions and chilies.
If you are able to charcoal broil the chicken do so, for it makes all the difference to the flavor and simulates the smoky flavor of pib cooking. Some Yucatecan cooks prefer to use the purple onions, while others argue that they should be used in fish souses only.
Have ready: 5 medium onions, sliced thin and prepared as for Cebollas only.
Encurtidas (page 307) but left to soak in mild vinegar for 1 hour
A spice grinder
4 whole allspice
5 whole cloves
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon oregano roasted (page 43)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
A molcajete or mortar and pestle
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons mild white vinegar orSeville orange juice
The powdered spices
A large chicken or small turkey (about 5 pounds), cut into serving pieces
4 cloves garlic, roasted (page 43)
1/8 teaspoon oregano, roasted (page 43)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water, approximately
The remaining paste
A little melted lard or oil
A glazing brush
A broiler, preferably charcoal
The reserved chicken broth
6 chiles g�eros, roasted (page 43)
A warmed serving dish
Grind the spices together until they are almost a powder.
Crush the garlic and mix in the salt, vinegar, and powdered spices. The mixture should be like a rather thick paste.
Using one-third only of the paste, coat each piece of the chicken very lightly. Set the pieces aside to season for at least 30 minutes.
Barely cover the chicken with the water, add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer the chicken until it is just tender--about 25 minutes; take care not to overcook it.
Drain the chicken and set it on a rack, reserving the broth and keeping it warm. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, spread each piece lightly with the remaining paste.
Brush the chicken pieces with the lard and broil it until the skin is just crisp and a pale golden color.
Put the onions and chilies into the broth and bring it to a boil.
Place the chicken pieces on the dish and pour the broth with the onions and chilies over them.
I think this is best served as it is in Yucat�n with white rice (Arroz Blanco, page 290) and a salad of thinly sliced cucumbers and avocado; any left over can be shredded and used on Panuchos (page 126).
Stuffed fish (Pescado Relleno)
The fish are small red snappers, one for each person, stuffed with a filling of shrimps, scallops, and crabmeat. This is a delicate and delicious recipe given to me by a distinguished old lady, Sra. Mart�nez from Veracruz. She has great patience, too; she has sat for hours talking with me about the regional food.
I prefer to serve this fish untypically--with boiled new potatoes, tossed in melted butter and freshly chopped parsley.
6 small red snappers (about 3/4 pound apiece), one for each person
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons lime juice
A frying pan
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped or 1 3/4 cups canned tomatoes
1/2 pound raw shrimps (about 1 cup), peeled and deveined
1/2 pound raw scallops (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound cooked crabmeat (about 1 cup)
A coarse needle and thread
An ovenproof serving dish
6 tablespoons melted butter
Foil to cover
Have the fish cleaned, leaving the head and tail on. Have as much of the backbone removed as possible to form a good pocket for stuffing the fish without completely opening it up.
Crush the garlic and mix it to a paste with the salt, pepper, and lime juice.
Prick the fish all over on both sides with a coarse-tined fork and rub the paste well in inside and out. Set the fish aside to season for at least 6 hours. Preheat the oven to 350� and prepare the stuffing. Melt the butter with the oil and cook the onion, without browning, until it is soft.
Add the tomatoes and cook them over a brisk flame until some of the juice has evaporated.
Cut the shrimps into halves and the scallops into quarters. Add them, with the parsley and seasoning to the tomato mixture and let cook over a medium flame until the scallops and shrimps are just tender-about 10 minutes, stir in the crabmeat.
Stuff each fish with about 1 cup of the filling and sew it up. Put half of the butter into the dish, place the fish side by side, and sprinkle them with the remaining butter. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the fish is tender--about 20 to minutes.
Everything can be done well ahead of time up to the point of stuffing the fish. That should be done at the last moment so that the stuffing does not get watery.Cuisines of Mexico. Copyright � by Diana Kennedy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.