Ardent Partner Samantha Swan shares a traditional recipe from the Yucatan: a cuisine distinct from Mexican cuisine.
If you’ve got Thanksgiving and Christmas on the brain, this is a great use for holiday turkey leftovers…
I love every state in Mexico I’ve visited, but I must say, the Yucatan does have an allure for me.
In many ways it is like the rest of the country and shares some elements of Mexican cuisine — but in many ways it is separate and unique. It is the land of the Maya, with separate traditions and history and a distinct cuisine.
The Yucatan Peninsula encompasses the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. Many tourists have visited Quintana Roo because of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Riviera Maya. Although part of Mexico today, the region is still Maya, which you can experience through meeting the people who speak Mayan and not necessarily Spanish; ancient Mayan ruins; and the flavors of authentic Yucatecan cuisine.
The Yucatecan Maya cooked using staples of corn (maiz), beans, tomatoes, pumpkin, chiles, avocados, as well as guava, tamarind, lime, and my favorite; bitter (Seville) orange. Seeds such as annatto is a key ingredient in traditional achiote paste, which is used in dishes like Conchinita Pibil.
Proteins for the Maya were and are still mainly eggs, turkey, chicken, pork, and fish. Beef is not as common in the Yucatan.
Of course there was and is an influence on the cuisine of Yucatán from the Spanish that came over time, but Yucatecans have fresh, spicy, citrusy dishes that feel full and juicy in your mouth…
TURKEY LIME SOUP
Skinless, cooked and chopped turkey (3 cups)
Chicken broth (4, 14.5 ounce cans would work well if not using homemade)
12 Crushed garlic cloves
2 Large onions, trimmed and quartered
4 Whole cloves
1 Jalapeño pepper, quartered
1/4 cup Fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup Fresh lime juice
About 4 Lime wedges
Combine garlic, onions, cloves, jalapeño, and chicken broth in a pot and simmer over medium/high heat.
Cover and cook for roughly 30 minutes. Strain through colander and save broth in a bowl. Discard the solids.
Pour the cooked broth back into a pan or pot, and stir in the pieces of turkey, chopped cilantro, and the lime juice.
Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until well heated, and serve with warm corn tortillas. Garnish with lime wedges or fresh avocado slices.