Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pollo Pibil is a Mexican chicken dish from the Yucatan in which chicken is smothered with achiote paste and sour orange juice and slow cooked in banana leaves over hot wood coals in a hole in the ground. As we don’t have a hole to dig aboard, I slow roast the pibil in a crockpot.

Achiote paste is a dark red paste made of ground annato seeds that can be found in Latin grocery stores that has a soft, earthy flavor, similar to saffron. For this spin on a traditional Pollo Pibil, I use split chicken breasts (though thighs can be used for the budget cook) and slow cooked them in a delicious Achiote spiced sauce.

3 lbs skinless split chicken breasts
1/2 cup sour orange juice
2 habaneros, seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 onion, chopped into quarters
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
4 tbsp Achiote paste
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to the crock pot.

In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients to form the sauce. Pour over the chicken.

Cook on low heat for 4-5 hours until the chicken can be easily shredded from the rib with a fork. Shred the chicken (discard rib bone) and let everything cook for 30 more minutes with the crock pot lid off. Leaving the lid off will help some of the water evaporate so the sauce thickens up.

Makes excellent tacos or burritos, or serve over yellow rice, Garnish with cilantro, cebolla mordada (from last month’s recipe) or pico de gallo. Enjoy! JW

Friday, January 9, 2015


Just before the holidays, I went down to Panama to pick up a vintage 64 foot Burger to deliver back to Florida. An early winter delivery, there were my fair share of weather delays which allowed myself and the crew to explore Isla San Andres, Roatan and Isla Mujeres. Always on the scent for a new recipe, especially one where leftovers can be utilized.

Salbute is a Yucatecan dish served on fried masa piled on with shredded meats like a chimichurri, chicken mojo, and taco meat or for the vegetarian, portobello mushroom and garnished with vegetables. This recipe requires a couple of easy preps but you will find it most rewarding.

Masa Recipe

The first thing you will need is masa; a corn flour found in a Latin grocery store or the international section of your local supermarket. Once you have found this follow the recipe below:

•1 cup dry masa harina
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•2/3 cups warm water
(Makes 5-6 tortillas)


Combine masa and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Slowly add warm water and mix with a spatula. Knead this dough on a flat surface until it becomes smooth; similar to the consistency of Silly Putty©. Use a small bit of oil on your hands to ensure the dough does not stick and roll a portions in your hands, about the size of golf balls. Set the masa balls aside for approximately 45 minutes.

Once the masa has rested it is ready to be pressed into tortillas with a tortilla press (available at Bed Bath Beyond©, Williams Sonoma© or Sur le Table©) between two pieces of waxed paper. If you do not have either, you can cut the edges of a plastic bag and press dough on the counter top with a plate. They should be smaller and thicker than regular tortillas, about ¼ ″ thick and 2 ½ ″-3″ in diameter. In a deep skillet, fry them on both sides in hot oil. They will inflate as they cook. Flip over tortilla and cook other side and then drain in a colander lined with paper towels.

Ingredients For the pickled red onion:

•2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced or diced
•1/2 cup vinegar
•1/4 cup orange juice (if you can find sour oranges in your local grocery store, this is best
•salt and pepper to taste
•dices habenero chiles for those who like it hot

Preparation of Cebolla Mordada:

Place onions in a saucepan, add water to cover, bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Place the onions in a glass container with the remaining ingredients and allow to sit for several hours before serving. This will keep up to one week in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups.


•1 cup shredded cabbage or lettuce
•1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken, or beef/portobello
•pickled red onions (see below)
•diced tomatoes
•habanero chiles in vinaigrette or any hot salsa
•sour cream if desired