Mukbil Chicken

Mukbil Chicken . It is a recipe where various products of European origin are mixed with the indigenous people of Central America. And although it looks like a tamale, it is not, since it is baked like a cake. We can assume that it is a variant of transculturation after the Encounter of Two Worlds, given the incorporation of chicken and pork in this recipe. Although in the city they are made in normal kilns, the correct and indigenous thing is to do it in a buried kiln with preheated stones

Summary

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  • 1 Background
    • 1 Greco-Latinos
    • 2 Medieval
    • 3 America
    • 4 Central America
  • 2 Mukbil Chicken
  • 3 Mukbil chicken I
    • 1 Tender xpelon (beans)
  • 4 Mukbil chicken II
  • 5 External links
  • 6 Sources

Background

Greco-Latinos

Which came first the chicken or the egg? The chicken or this poultry is native to Southeast Asia and yet it must have entered Europe after the campaigns of Alexander the Great. It is known that in Greco-Latin culture recipes already existed where these birds were used. Sure, it seems that the Romans outnumbered the Greeks in chicken-based culinary recipes for the use of Garum. Although in the Odyssey of Homer the meals based on geese are mentioned, and Arquéstrato mentions the fattening of goose chicken. This is also mentioned in the Geoponic play that they are fattened with dried figs and the ficatum is called as the fattened goose liver, which was later named by Athenaeus of Naucatris as foie, and Persio says that foie gras was a culinary treat. For the Greco-Latin culture, the rooster and the chicken were the birds par excellence, with numerous varieties. But about the fattening of the rooster and the hen, a fundamental fact happens that has survived to this day: the capon. In 162 BC, the shortage of grain caused the Fania Law, which prohibited fattening chickens. Thus the first capons were born, later the pularda would appear. The invention of the incubator is also attributed to the Romans since they included eggs for incubation in stoves heated by steam. The Egyptians already had chicken ovens, as did the Chinese around the same time as the Romans. In two culinary books of the Romans are that of Aspicius and that of Athenaeum of Naucatris where there are multiple recipes for poultry. Chicken dumplings were very well-known, similar to those that are currently made. Other dishes were numidic chicken, which is stuffed with dates, pine nuts and honey as well as spices and baked. Or laser chicken, a spice widely used by the Romans and made with wine and garum. Other recipes are semi-roasted chicken, chicken with puff pastry, cooked in its juice or with colacasias. There were also two well-known that were Verdano chicken and Frontonian chicken; both very spicy and with garum, sauce used in many dishes.

Medieval

It is already in the Middle Ages when poultry reappear as appreciated meat. Poultry represents for the man of the Middle Ages (especially for the fourteenth century) the meat that they consumed most frequently, although there were differences between the poultry of the nobleman and that of the servant: in general, it can be said that the hen was of the servant and the rest of the poultry was from the estates of greater economic power. In general, it can be said that the hen, rooster, capon and some ducks were raised in barns and orchards, while the rest of the birds that were consumed were hunting birds. Enrique de Villena, in his Arte Cisoria, written in 1423, has left us an entire chapter dedicated to the medieval culinary tradition with respect to those that were most frequently cooked. And Juan Manuel in his work El caballero left a list of hunting birds. Poultry meat was so important that Jaime I, King of Aragon founded the Order of the pigeon in 1379, and that day he celebrated a great feast with roasted pigeons. This order was made up of faithful husbands, in such a way that the order lasted one year, for lack of the following year of said husbands. Because, according to what they said, the pigeon was an aphrodisiac meat, which is why the Order lasted so short. This idea that poultry was a healthy food would remain for centuries, both in Christian, Muslim and Jewish thought. In this case, there was no distinction between these three cultures, since all three consumed them frequently. If you have to make a distinction about how to consume them, then the chicken was used by Jewish Christians and Muslims in the same way, that is to say for the pots or adafinas and the broths, however with the rest of the birds we will make a distinction: the Jews and Muslims preferred whether or not hunting, in stews with spices and nuts, while the Christians preferred it roasted. A distinction that can be brought to the kitchen, that is, the Jew and the Muslim like more the aromas and flavors of spices, and the Christian was a lover of roasts and bittersweet less sophisticated than the Jewish-Muslim world. A good example of how birds were consumed in the Middle Ages is in the book of the Archpriest of Hita, the Book of Good Love: Thus there are stanzas where there are references to the pots and the importance of the hen in them or quote a Jewish meal: adafina: Leonardo da Vinci used to write down in the margin of his writings some recipes that had impressed him; in one of them was the Salai egg, made with hard-boiled eggs and then mixed with yolk and white, specifying it. Another dish was Crestas de gallo con migas. Rooster crests in the history of gastronomy have been highly appreciated, the same in the Romans after maceralas en garum, as well as in 19th century cuisine and are currently part of the so-called modern or signature cuisine. The treatment of poultry by the great chefs of the 17th, 17th and 19th centuries is similar to that of today. Perhaps the way to consume chicken since the 17th century has changed little, the only thing that has been changing has been the population that consumes them. Thus, it reached great popularity at the end of the 19th century with the start of the breeding of birds in batteries with special feeding. made with hard-boiled eggs and then mixed with yolk and white, specifying it. Another dish was Crestas de gallo con migas. Rooster crests in the history of gastronomy have been highly appreciated, the same in the Romans after maceralas en garum, as well as in 19th century cuisine and are currently part of the so-called modern or signature cuisine. The treatment of poultry by the great chefs of the 17th, 17th and 19th centuries is similar to that of today. Perhaps the way of consuming chicken since the 17th century has changed little, the only thing that has been changing has been the population that consumes them. Thus, it reached great popularity at the end of the 19th century with the start of the breeding of birds in batteries with special feeding. made with hard-boiled eggs and then mixed with yolk and white, specifying it. Another dish was Crestas de gallo con migas. Rooster crests in the history of gastronomy have been highly appreciated, the same in the Romans after maceralas en garum, as well as in 19th century cuisine and are currently part of the so-called modern or signature cuisine. The treatment of poultry by the great chefs of the 17th, 17th and 19th centuries is similar to that of today. Perhaps the way of consuming chicken since the 17th century has changed little, the only thing that has been changing has been the population that consumes them. Thus, it reached great popularity at the end of the 19th century with the start of the breeding of birds in batteries with special feeding. Another dish was Crestas de gallo con migas. Rooster crests in the history of gastronomy have been highly appreciated, the same in the Romans after maceralas en garum, as well as in 19th century cuisine and are currently part of the so-called modern or signature cuisine. The treatment of poultry by the great chefs of the 17th, 17th and 19th centuries is similar to that of today. Perhaps the way of consuming chicken since the 17th century has changed little, the only thing that has been changing has been the population that consumes them. Thus, it reached great popularity at the end of the 19th century with the start of the breeding of birds in batteries with special feeding. Another dish was Crestas de gallo con migas. Rooster crests in the history of gastronomy have been highly appreciated, the same in the Romans after maceralas en garum, as well as in 19th century cuisine and are currently part of the so-called modern or signature cuisine. The treatment of poultry by the great chefs of the 17th, 17th and 19th centuries is similar to that of today. Perhaps the way of consuming chicken since the 17th century has changed little, the only thing that has been changing has been the population that consumes them. Thus, it reached great popularity at the end of the 19th century with the start of the breeding of birds in batteries with special feeding. as well as in the kitchen of the 19th century and is currently part of the so-called modern or signature cuisine. The treatment of poultry by the great chefs of the 17th, 17th and 19th centuries is similar to that of today. Perhaps the way to consume chicken since the 17th century has changed little, the only thing that has been changing has been the population that consumes them. Thus, it reached great popularity at the end of the 19th century with the start of the breeding of birds in batteries with special feeding. as well as in the kitchen of the 19th century and is currently part of the so-called modern or signature cuisine. The treatment of poultry by the great chefs of the 17th, 17th and 19th centuries is similar to that of today. Perhaps the way to consume chicken since the 17th century has changed little, the only thing that has been changing has been the population that consumes them. Thus, it reached great popularity at the end of the 19th century with the start of the breeding of birds in batteries with special feeding.

America

The American turkey or Meleagris gallopavo, wild bird and domesticated mainly in Central America in pre-Columbian times.

In addition to a whole group of birds that were hunted there was only what we can consider as a poultry in some parts of both American continents. We refer to the American turkey, the Meleagris gallopavo (the common turkey) and the Meleagris ocellata (the ocellated turkey), which the Mayans call udtz. This turkey that appears as domesticated for the first time in Mexico around the year 1 of ne; it is nothing more than the famous turkey of the thanksgiving day of the americans. Yes, that wild turkey that the Indians shared with the first English colonists and whose tradition is maintained today. It is true that in Europe, the Middle East and Asia a turkey was known, but these are: Pavo cristatus (Indian peacock) and Pavo muticus (green turkey). Logically, in Europe they were served mainly or only at the tables of the nobles. So in the Americas, European poultry appeared because some of them survived the journey in a Galleon. There is no doubt that breeding of these poultry began in the encomiendas and missions established in the different colonial settlements. However, in the case of Central America, the turkey or turkey, continued being its bird of indigenous culinary use. And so much so, that the first recipe collected from moles, in 1645, and the one that used turkey meat to add chocolate. Of course, nowadays mole can carry the same turkey as chicken. Of course, nowadays chicken for its versatility, rapid growth, etc., is on the same level as other fast food ingredients (Hambergues, hot dogs, corn chips, etc.), featuring Kentucky Chicken, chicken wings chicken, and others. And of course, we are counting on those simple homemade chicken soups, the Sunday fricase and the occasional chicken salad with spaghetti. Therefore, even coming into the controversial concentrated chicken broths, or plucked in the backyard, these birds have become a common food for the rich and poor.

Central America

We have already mentioned the case of mole, but that in addition to chocolate and flavoring condiments or ingredients, originally used turkey. However, nowadays, and it cannot be defined from when, many times they use chicken as a substitute. And this they do regardless of the stock of typical or unique dishes where chicken is the basis of the recipe. We can mention the case of Jocón from Guatemala, but there is also Pollo Pibil, also from Yucatan. On the other hand we have the Pollo Sudado from Honduras, where the banana leaves play an important role. And further on we have the Roast Chicken with the pigeon pea (pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan, (L.) Huth) from Panama

Mukbil Chicken

Although Jocón is native to Guatemala, and still has a large part of Mayan origin, Mukbil chicken is quite different from it. First, because it adds another type of meat imported by the Conquistadores; the pig. And second because it uses combined techniques that we can assume as habitual of Oceania and Southeast Asia, for banana leaves and burial.

A freshly opened Mukbil Chicken displaying banana leaves.

Mukbil Chicken (Muk: bury, bury; Bil: twist, stir, both particles together, that is: Mukbil, means “that has been or should be buried”, whence this would be “Chicken that has been buried”), and This in Yucatec Mayan language the name of a stew prepared with nixtamalized corn dough, fat (butter) and pork, chicken and other condiments, making a kind of large tamale, in banana leaves and cooked slowly under the ground to the Mayan style. Its preparation is done from one night before the Day of the Dead, it starts with the meat and the sauce. In the early morning the mukbil chicken is assembled to bake it on wood or underground.

Sample of the Day of the Dead Altar where a portion of the Mukbil Chicken is placed

However, this recipe is typical or essential once a year at Hanal Pixán. For this, whose festivity begins from October 31 to November 2, altars, vessels, tablecloths, candles and censers, images and clay vessels are created for this activity. But the special is precisely this recipe. Attending that in the Mayan and, later Aztec cultures, a special cult had been developed for the dead and not because they believed in the resurrection or reincarnation, but because the dead had other tasks to fulfill. We do not know, because the original recipes they used have been lost and we have only been left with this syncretization that has lasted to this day. And there are still some variations between recipes from one place to another (houses or regions) to do it. Of them we offer some variants

Mukbil chicken I

A portion of Mukbil Chicken where you can see the chicken in the corn dough.

  • 1 1 / 2Kg of corn dough
  • 100 gr. lard
  • 1kg of chicken
  • 1/2 kg of pork
  • Two bundles of Xpelón (beans)
  • Achiote (red message)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 / 4Kg of red tomato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 branch of epazote (apazote)
  • Habanero pepper (hot pepper)
  • Banana leaves.

Achiote (red sauce), to taste

Preparation: Meats are half cooked. To the broth that results from cooking, add the red recado (achiote) and a touch of salt and then add a little dough, thickening the broth called “kol”, with which the meat is covered halfway cook. Mix the dough, butter, beans and salt to taste and add color with the achiote. The corn dough is placed on the banana leaf and the whole is put on a bread pan. The meat is arranged, add the remaining “kol” and add onion, tomato, habanero pepper, all chopped or sliced ​​and add some epazote leaves. A “cover” of dough is put on top and the whole is wrapped with the banana leaf. The stew contained in its mold and well covered by the banana leaves is buried in a hole or cavity previously prepared with firewood and stones that will serve as an oven. In domestic kitchens, this classic procedure can be substituted using the gas or electric oven for an hour and a half, at 200 degrees Celsius.

  • Note: The “kol” or sauce that bathes the meat should have the ideal degree of thickness, determined by the amount of dough that dissolves with the annatto and the amount of water that is obtained by cooking the pieces of meat.

The size of the pieces of meat should not exceed three centimeters, so that, with their weight, they do not break the dough when handling the mukbil chickens. A slice of the mukbil chicken is placed on the altar table of the Day of the Dead.

Tender xpelin (beans)

Example of the Spur in pods and grains.

The cow pea or cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.), Is a tropical-subtropical legume that has been planted successfully in the irrigated areas of northern Tamaulipas (Mexico) in the last two decades. Its pod is exported to the United States where it is marketed in canned, frozen and fresh market form. In other regions the grain is also consumed and its foliage is used as fodder. In southeastern Mexico it is planted for self-consumption and is known as ‘xpelón’ beans. In the Yucatan Peninsula, one of the most demanded bean varieties, especially in the months near the day of the dead, is xpelón, which It is used for steams or mucbilpollo. The xpelón or espelón, which is a tender bean, contains all the properties of the mature bean. Its fiber content helps to stimulate intestinal transit and, consequently, prevent cases of constipation. In addition, it helps improve cholesterol levels in the blood. The proteins of the bean are of lower quality than that of the egg or meat; however, this quality can be increased if combined with the consumption of cereals, such as rice.

Mukbil chicken II

A Mukbil Chicken more typical of modern cooking or baking using a tartar or pan.

  • 1/4 kg. pork fat, cut into small cubes
  • 1 kg of prepared tortilla dough, or 3 1/2 cups of flour dough and 2 cups of boiling water
  • A 1 1/2 kilo chicken
  • 1/4 kg. pork loin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon annatto
  • 1 tablespoon of soft white vinegar
  • 1/3 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 whole habanero pepper
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 sprig of epazote
  • 1 large tomato
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • Water to cover ingredients
  • 4 rope lengths, each approximately 75 cm.
  • Some large pieces of banana leaves

Preparation: Heat the pork fat until the butter comes out. Turn the pieces over once in a while so that they do not burn, and are evenly browned and crisp. Lay aside. Cut the chicken into pieces and serve the pork in 2.5 cm squares. Put them in the pan with 4 roasted garlic cloves, and 11/2 teaspoon of salt, just covered with water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the meat is tender – the chicken should be about 35 minutes, the pork a little longer. Strain the meat, reserving the broth. Remove the bones from the chicken. Set the meat aside. Reserve 11/2 cups of the broth and little by little, stir it with 2 tablespoons of the tortilla dough until it boils. Lower the heat, and stir the mixture until it thickens a little. Set the thickened broth aside. Crush the pepper, salt, annatto and 2 peeled garlic cloves and integrate with the vinegar until you achieve a smooth sauce and set aside. In a frying pan, put 3 tablespoons of melted pork fat and fry the chopped onion, green pepper and epazote, without browning, until soft. Add the ground seasonings and continue cooking the mixture for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and cooked meat to the ingredients in the pan and continue cooking the mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat. Set aside. Lay two pieces of parallel rope across the plate and the other 2 pieces across. Quickly pass the banana leaves over a flame to make them more flexible, and wrap the plate with them, the smooth side, shiny on top, so that it overlaps the pan by about 10 cm. Set the bowl aside while preparing the dough. Preheat the oven to 170 ° C. In case of using flour dough, mix it with the boiling water until obtaining a smooth dough. For the dough, add the salt, the paprika and the fat and mix well. Press about two-thirds of the dough into a pan to form a crust about 1 cm thick on the bottom and sides of the saucepan. Place the filling in the lined mold and pour the thickened broth over it. With the smooth, shiny side of the sheet facing up, press the remaining mass onto it, taking care that it is approximately 1 cm thick. This will be the top of the cake. Carefully rotate the head of the sheet down so that the dough completely covers the pot, with enough of an overlay to seal along with the dough around the sides of the pot. Fold the leaves over the top of the cake and tie them tightly with the string. Bake the Muk-bil Chicken about 1 1/2 hour and serve immediately.

 

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