Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 4 - Pepinos Rellenos, Jocon, and rice

Today we had stuffed cucumbers and a chicken dish with a tomatillo/cilantro sauce. I really liked this dish. I know that everyone falls into one of the following categories, you hate cilantro or you love it. We love it in our house. We use it quite often. The Jocon recipe uses a lot of cilantro but when it's cooked down, it's flavor does mellow out. It isn't as strong as the fresh cilantro flavor. I'll definitely make this again.
I only put in one jalapeno in the chicken dish and it wasn't that spicey. I try to make my dishes not too spicey so my son will maybe like it and eat it.

Pepinos Rellenos
Recipe from

2 cucumbers
1/2 of a lime (for rubbing)
1 red pimiento chilies (or can use a red jalapeno) (I didn’t this so I used red bell pepper and a dash of cayenne)
3 ounces cream cheese
1 tsp cream
1 tsp basil
1 T green onions, chopped
1 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pinch paprika
Cut the cucumbers down the middle, lengthwise, peel and remove the seeds. Rub the cucumbers with lime juice, and salt and pepper. Cut the red pepper down the middle, remove the seeds, and dice into small pieces. Combine the cream cheese and cream together with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Fill the cucumbers with mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cut into slices and serve. Can serve on a bed of iceberg or romaine.

(Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)
Recipe from

4 to 6 servings
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 cups water
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds/pepitas (the green ones)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained
1 cup tomatillos, hulled and chopped
couple large handfuls to 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 to 5 jalapeños or serrano chile peppers, chopped

Place the chicken, water and salt into a large pot over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain and set aside the broth. Let chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Set aside.

Heat a dry skillet over medium flame. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove to a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions and chile peppers to a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and process until smooth. If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.

Return the chicken to the pot. Pour over pureed sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the remaining broth to give it a sauce-like consistency. Heat over medium-low flame and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice.

Jocon Variations:
~Leave the chicken pieces whole if you prefer.
~ If you can't find pumpkin seeds, simply use 1/2 cup of sesame seeds. And if finding sesame seeds is a problem, you can substitute a slightly smaller amount of tahini.
~ Cubed pork can be substituted for the chicken. There is no need to shred the pork, but you may need to simmer it longer for it to become tender.
~ Use any remaining broth to make rice to accompany the meal.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 3 - Pollo en Pina with rice

This pineapple chicken dish was really good! It sounds like an odd combination of ingredients but it comes together nicely and easily. I used 1 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts instead of the whole chicken.

Guatemalan Chicken with Pineapple (Pollo en Pina)
2 T canola oil
3 -3 1/2 lbs broiler-fryer chickens, in pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pineapple, cut in 1 inch cubes 
1/2 cup dry sherry (or chicken stock or water)
2 T vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 dash pepper
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped      
hot cooked rice (can cook concurrently so all is ready at the same time)
Heat oil in large skillet; cook chicken on med heat until brown on all sides-- approx 15 min. Remove chicken, cook onion and garlic in remaining oil until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Return chicken to skillet. Mix all remaining ingredients except tomatoes and rice; pour over chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 min. Add tomatoes; simmer, uncovered, until thickest pieces of chicken are cooked through-- approx 20 min. Serve with rice. Serves 6.