Dia De Los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” is full of incredible customs and of course, GREAT FOOD! The tradition of celebrating the dead has been in existence for centuries with its most likely origin occurring as part of a 14th century Aztec festival in Mexico but may date back even earlier.
Dia De Los Muertos is not as morbid as it sounds. It is actually a celebration of the life of the deceased that honors their memory with food, music, dance and parades.
Ok, so onto the food! Ernie Pino joined Bradley and Mikel on their radio show (In the Kitchen with Chef Bradley) last week to discuss some of these traditions and shared some great recipes. Be sure to check out this website Producciones Pino Check them out below.
Black Bean Soup a la Ernesto Pino
(Frijoles Negros Yucatecos)
Serves 8 to 10
1 lb. dry black (Turtleback) beans
8 cups cold water
2 teaspoons salt
½ red (Bermuda) onion, quartered
4 whole garlic cloves
8 apazote leaves (or two heaping teaspoons of oregano)
Sort and rinse beans. Place the beans and water in a large Dutch oven. Heat to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for ½ hour. Add salt, onion, garlic and apazote (or oregano). Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.
Refried Black Beans a la Ernesto Pino
(Frijoles Refritos Yucatecos)
Black bean soup (see above recipe)
1 cup vegetable oil or lard
½ red (Bermuda) onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 yellow or Habanero chile peppers
Salt to taste
In a large heavy skillet, heat ½ cup oil or lard. Fry onion until crisp golden; add minced garlic until softened. Add the 2 chile peppers whole, and heat until fragrant (5 minutes). Set aside. Remove chiles and save for garnish.
Pour cooked beans in a blender or food processor, and mix. You may need to divide the bean soup into two equal portions, making sure to use equal amounts of bean broth in each. If needed, add additional water to blend thoroughly.
Using a fine strainer, pour processed beans into the heated skillet containing reserved onions and garlic. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, careful not to burn the beans. As beans begin to reduce and thicken, slowly incorporate the remaining ½ cup of oil and continue to stir, until the beans attain the consistency of a smooth paste. This process should take approximately 1½ to2 hours.
Serve as a side dish or at room temperature with tortilla chips.
Recipe may be doubled.
NOTE: 1 Lb. Dried Beans = 2 Cups Dried = 6-7 Cups Cooked = 4-(15 oz) cans
Cochinita Pibil a la Ernesto Pino
3/4 cup Annatto or Achiote paste
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of 2 limes
8 bay leaves, crumbled
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds pork butt, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound banana leaves, softened over low flame, or foil
2 white onions, sliced 1/2inch thick
5 Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/2inch thick
4 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled and sliced into strips
In a medium-size bowl, mash together the achiote paste, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper with a fork. Add the pork, toss to evenly coat and marinate, at room temperature, at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over high heat. Char the onion until blackened on both sides. Char the tomatoes on both sides. Reserve.
Line a large baking dish with one layer of the banana leaves or foil. Arrange the pork in an even layer and top with the onions, tomatoes and chiles and all the marinade. Cover with more banana leaves and wrap the dish tightly in foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender and moist. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Unwrap and serve with pickled shallots
Yucatecan Pickled Red Onions a la Ernesto Pino
(Escabeche De Cebolla)
makes about 1 ¾ cups
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 large red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 ½ cups red wine vinegar
1 Habanero chile pepper, charred over an open flame
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 small grapefruit, pink or white
In a bowl, toss salt and onion together; let sit until onion releases some of its liquid, about 15 minutes. Transfer to jar along with peppercorns, oregano, cumin, and garlic. Bring the red wine vinegar to a boil and pour over the onion mixture. Seal with lid and allow to steep for 3 minutes. Remove lid and pour off excess liquid. Create a well in the center of the onion mixture and place the charred chile pepper in the center. Gently cover the whole chile pepper with the onion mixture. Be very careful not to burst the Habanero pepper as it will release its fiery heat. Pour fruit juices over the onion mixture. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before using.
Before serving, carefully retrieve the Habanero pepper and place on top of the onion mixture to garnish.