Monday, 1 June 2009

Chuchitos bonitos!

Like Pepian and Pacaya, Chuchitos are wholeheartedly Guatemalan, and seem to capture the vibrancy and conviviality of its people and way of life. Like all great recipes that yield deliciously awesome results, you need bags of time set aside. The making of Chuchitos is no exception. These 'little dogs' are made in stages and take the best part of a day to prepare and cook.
The first thing to be made is the 'salsa', a rich tomato sauce that is made all the better for having had a day to develop and the acidity to soften and give way to a luxurious tomatoey spiciness. Two different types of tomatoes, pimentos and onions are blanched, then pureed. The strained puree has pork fat added, and then is allowed to simmer, along with chilli Guace, chilli Passa and good pinches of seasoning and more dried chilli flakes.
The tortillas are made with maize flour, water and seasoning. These are then formed into luscious little rounds by hand. The petals are stripped from the Flor de Isote, lightly washed and spun till dizzy in a salad spinner.
Once each tortilla has been made, a pinch of petals are added, along with a chunk of pork fillet (I'm sure beef would work equally as well here - as would quail breasts come to think of it..!) Then the salsa is draped over, after which the Chuchito is made by folding the two sides together, Cornish Pasty like, and the ends pinched to seal the edges and keep all the delicious ingredients neatly encapsulated. The bit I love best about Chuchitos is how they are then prepared for cooking; corn husks are steamed for a few minutes, and their papery skins are then used as jackets for the little dogs, which are then placed in a pan and steamed for 40 minutes or so until the tortillas are soft and the meat inside is cooked through and tender.
The hot Chuchitos are served in their skins, to be opened at the table, with spoonfuls of salsa and Chiltepé as accompaniments. Buen Provecho!


The Ample Cook said...

Welcome back!

Your photgraphs are outstanding.

Steven Wallis said...

Thankyou for such encouraging comments, much appreciated!