Hello- or should I say hola! Today I bring you to Guatemala, the land of many trees (actual translation). Did you know there are 25 spoken languages used today in Guatemala? There are many indigenous Mayan communities that make up the country, most of which speak their own language. The national dish in this beautiful country is called pepián. This meal consists of pollo (chicken) covered in recado (a thick, flavorful sauce). When researching I found the sauce can be made thinner and served as a stew with additional vegetables. Traditionally this dish is made for special occasions and holidays, but I think we can all appreciate a special meal right about now?
Pepián is a wonderful fusion of the new and old world, full of flavor and attitude. It is said to date way back before European settlers arrived. The natives would often make this dish during political, religious, or special rituals. Over time this dish was adapted by all and embraced as the national dish. Over time the meal has grown with Spanish influence.
I had fun preparing this meal and enjoyed putting new flavors together that I would have never thought of before. I can honestly say neither one of us has had something like this! The recipe I used can be found here along with a cool video of a Guatemalan making the dish while teaching the bloggers of The Uncornered Market. I made the recommended rice pilaf to go with the pepián.
We appreciated the balance of spice, smoky, and almost bitter flavors that evolved overtime on our taste buds. Some bites you could taste the cinnamon more and others the chili or pumpkin seeds. Ian thought the sauce would taste nice on meat balls (if we try this I’ll let you know how it goes! We rated this dish 6.5/10. What I would change if I made it again would be thinning the sauce by adding more broth. Coming up next we travel West to Lesotho!
For a little bonus I bring you the pikelet. Hailing originally from Wales, these little guys can be served with jams, fruit, syrups, and powdered sugar (similar to the American pancake). You can also find Brits and Kiwis enjoying them at breakfast or tea time.
Back to the origins, “bara-picklet” translates roughly to “bread-cake.” Bara often refers to a bread or bun being cooked in a griddle or hot plate versus an oven. In the beginning yeast was used to give these little cakes their rise, but nowadays that’s what the good ole baking powder is for. Time to get to it!
The recipe I used can be found here. I ate mine with a little strawberry jam and syrup- yum, yum, yum! These baby pancakes are delicious and quite adorable. I did make mine a little on the thicker side so I would suggest for the best results using slightly less batter or spreading the little dough blobs out for even cooking.
This tops off Australia week I hope you enjoyed the journey, maybe you pet a kangaroo or wrestled a croc or two -crikey! Next up is Guatemala. Stay tuned my fellow foodies.
For the first country I will be bringing you down under to the Australian Outback! We will be trying four different traditional dishes and to kick things off I give you the traditional Aussie Meat Pie. These pies are often hand-sized and filled traditionally with ground or minced meat, gravy, and topped with tomato sauce and/or mashed potatoes (how could it not taste good?). These yummy delights can be found in supermarkets, restaurants and pie stalls throughout Australia.
A little back story on the meat pie..
Although England is thought to be the creator of these personal pies, the origins trace back to ancient Greece and Egypt. Because there were no baking dishes at the time, the purpose of the pastry was meant to be a container for the meat which left the exterior inedible and tough (don’t worry this pie crust is totally edible). In the Medieval times, England sold these small pies on the streets making them affordable even for the poor. The rich and royal often added many more spices and used a large variety of meats such as boar and venison to fill their pies. Meat pies became a celebratory staple in the 1800s for citizens of all classes.
Once settlers first arrived to Australia in the early 1800s they solely relied on what was brought over with them from overseas. Over the next 6 years steam mills started to pop up over Sydney making wheat flour. At this time, the meat pies were being adapted to the Australian culture. From pie carts in the mid 1800s and big meat pie businesses eventually came the frozen pies for the modern microwave era.
Now onto the recipe!
I used this recipe for my pie although I did a few tweaks. I substituted a gravy packet instead of the beef bouillon cubes. I also made a simple sauce combining canned tomato sauce and herbs at medium heat in a sauce pan. This was then drizzled over the top of each pie slice like so (see below). As you can see I tried to make a little kangaroo on top to be a little extra.. Can I just say this was the only way to start off this blog? WOW do the Australians know how to make pie! We appreciated the savory and rich flavors of the gravy with the ground meat and spices. The nice crispy crust of the puff pastry was a nice contrast. Even the little bit of nutmeg made a wonderful influence on this dish. Ian and I rated this meal 7/10 and we can’t wait to try the next recipe! Talk to you all soon 😊