Sunday, July 10, 2005


These are little puffed, fried tortillas w/ chicken & pickled onions -- delicious & authentically Yucatecan.

Chicken-In Yucatan they would use a whole chicken, but I often do this with chicken parts. (It's better if you can grill it, but not neccessary.) Frugal cooks in Yucatan would use the chicken stock for a 1st course soup, serve the chicken as a main course, and then use the leftover chicken in the evening for salbutes. (You can use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket if you don't have the time for this.)

2 tbl olive oil
1/2 onion, whole
1 garlic clove, whole
2 sprigs of cilantro
1 chile xcatic (chile guero) (Just use a really mild fresh chile) - whole
salt & pepper
canned chicken stock or water to cover
1 whole chicken or your favorite chicken parts

1 block of recado rojo
enough vinegar to make a paste

Saute in olive oil until lightly brown the onion & garlic. Add the cilantro & chile, saute a minute. Add chicken & water to cover, a little salt & pepper. Bring just to the boil and immediately turn down the heat to a bare simmer. Simmer til almost done-7 minutes for breasts, 10 for dark meat, 30 minutes for a whole chicken. Let cool in stock.

Mix recado rojo and vinegar to make a paste. When chicken is cool, remove from stock and pat dry. Cover chicken with paste and grill over medium heat or bake in a 350 oven for 5-15 minutes more or until done. Let cool and shred.

Pickled onions
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
Red wine vinegar, enough to cover onions
Heat red wine vinegar w/ a 1/4 tsp of mexican oregano til just boiling. Pour over onions & let sit at least 1/2 hour.

Hot "Sauce"
1 chile habanero
juice of 1/2 lime & 1/4 orange

Stick the chile on the end of a fork and grill til it begins to get some brown spots. (DON'T INHALE THE FUMES). Place in a small bowl & slice open. Add lime & orange juice and let sit for 1/2 hour. The longer it sits, the hotter it gets. A couple of drops on anything will give it plenty of heat.

Salbutes-If you can get fresh masa, definitely use that--just follow the recipe for forming the balls.

Masa harina
1/4 cup flour
boiling water
Crisco for frying
Tools-a tortilla press, damp tea towels

Follow the measurements and instructions from the masa harina package, but substitute the flour for a 1/4 cup of the masa harina and use boiling water. When cool enough to handle form into a big ball and cover w/ a damp tea towel. Begin make ping pong sized balls with the dough, transferring them to another bowl also covered with a damp tea towel.

Pressing & frying - Heat about a 1/2 inch of crisco in a iron skillet until it glazes but doesn't smoke. Use two pieces of heavy plastic wrap, one on each side of the press, to keep the dough from sticking. Don't press these out as thin as tortillas, they need to be at least 1/8 inch thick.
Slide the salbute into the hot fat and immediately begin spooning the hot fat over the top of the salbute. When puffed, turn and brown the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet or rack. (When the rack is full, move to the oven to keep warm). Continue frying until you have about 3 per person.

To Serve
Place some shredded chicken on a salbute, add some pickled onions & a small slice of avocado. Pass the hot sauce.

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