Now today's recipe is Black Dinner or Relleno (pronounced reyeno) it's referred to by both names in Belize; and it's SUPER good and absolutely divine. So let's start.
Relleno: A little background on Relleno.
Relleno is a black soup made with Chicken, Onions, Tomatoes, Black Recado, Ground Beef, Ground Pork and Boiled Eggs (optional) and served with either rice or corn tortillas. Now there are a few people who are greedy like myself and will eat the soup with both rice and tortillas.
It's a Spanish soup as far as I know originated in Mexico and since we're right next door it trickled down into our diverse little country. Now, this soup is especially good this time of year when Belize Celebrates several holidays, including our Independence Day on September 21st, making September one of the best months to party in Belize. The entire country celebrates and everyone is in good spirits. After a night/long weekend/week/month of celebrating and drinking trust me, this soup is the best for getting your nutrient levels back up. As we say in Belize about most of our soups "good fu put it back" meaning it's good to renourish the body.
Now, I mentioned in the beginning of that paragraph that the sop contains Black Recado. What is that?
It's a paste made from burned corn tortillas, onion, garlic, cominos, cloves, black pepper, and vinegar. And it's used to flavor the Relleno as well as the Chimole in belize. We'll do Chimole in the weeks coming don't worry.
Now, I have to give a little story as to why I decided to start back up with Relleno as my dish.
Everytime we go to the store and walk pass the spice shelves Tony, my husband who has only been in Belize for 3 years, always stops and asks me what it is, and he always is very tempted to squish it like play dough. So for weeks I've been trying to explain what it's for and he always responds with " a black soup cannot taste good. After dinner last night he thinks otherwise...he loved it.
Now, On to the recipe...
1 Chicken (Turkey can also be used)
3 medium sized tomatoes
1 large onion
3 Bay Leaf
6 Garlic cloves smashed
1 tsp ground all spice
1 ball Black Recado or 1/4 of the small block
Cilantro or Culantro (optional)
1 ball Red Recado or 1/4 of the small block
Boiled eggs (optional)
1/4 cup vinegar
1lb ground pork (optional)
*In this recipe i used neither the eggs or the Ground Pork just Chicken.
Ok now on to the recipe...
1. First thing's first, the chicken/turkey. Cut up your whole chicken into parts or you can just buy a pack of breasts with the bone. I prefer cutting up a whole chicken because the bones are good for flavoring the stock.Season the chicken with salt, pepper, all spice, and soy sauce to coat it. Take your ball of Red recado and put it in a 1/4 cup of warm-hot water and dilute it by mashing it in the water with yor hands or the back of a spoon. The spoon wold be better being that Red Recado stains. Let it sit and marinate for about 15 mintes.
2. While your chicken is marinating chop up your Tomatoes into cubes, Onions in slices lenth way, chop up your cilantro or culantro fine and mash and peel the garlic.
3. Put your Rice to cook. i usually do mine 2 cups of rice to 3 cups of water add some sea salt not too much about a pinch or 1/2 tsp. i cook it high heat for 10 minutes, 5 mins on medium heat, and until it's finsihed on low heat. Usually gives me nice med grain.
4. In a cast iron skillet, or non stick pan add a little bit of vegetable oil and cook the garlic in it for about a half a minute. Take out the garlic and set aside you'll be putting it back into the soup. Brown your chicken. while your chicken is browning in a measuring cup or small bowl dilute the ball of red recado by putting it in a little bit (1/4 cup) of warm water. when it's diluted pour it over the chicken and cook it for about 10 minutes on high heat. after 10 mins turn off the chicken and put in a bowl for shredding. let it cool off first before you start shredding. I like to use my fingers for shredding chicken but u can use and knife or for just take off all the meat and skin.
5. In a pot, on low heat, add some more vegetable oil (about 2 tablespoons) and start cooking your onions and tomatoes. Add in the Pork now if you choose to add the ground pork. add salt and cook for 2 minutes, then add in the culantro/cilantro, add in shredded chicken and cook everything together. Add garlic and add in more seasoning if it needs it. It shouldn't though.
5. Take the Black recado and add in warm water and mash it until diluted...like this. Add it to the mix of chicken, veg, bay leaf and pork and start cooking it for 15-20 minutes on medium to low heat. Let her boil slow. If you want to add boiled eggs just boil the eggs in a seperate pot and separate the cooked olks from the whiles. Take the yolks and add them to the soup. You can also just cut the whole egg and add the wolk and the whites up to you.
Now. when this is finsihed you can put it in a bowl like so and enjoy...if you want to add a little bit of pepper you can add a whole habanero pepper to the soup while it's boiling and when the soup is finsihed and the pepper hasnt popped yet then grab a fork and pop it. This will release all the heat into the soup and give it an extra spice. If you would like to see more pictures from this meal and other meals and blog posts, please find us on Facebook under "Tizzle Sizzles Blog".
Here, enjoy a couple more pictures :)
Chicken & vegetables cooking together
The finished product...enjoy :)