Your quick guide to making spicy Black Relleno Soup
To say Belize is a “melting pot of cultures” would be misleading, as this small country is a medley of different people and ethnicities who wonderfully co-exist. One of the larger groups of people in Belize are the mestizo people, a mixture of European Spanish and native Mayan.
Like the population, the cuisine of Belize is very much a giant blend, with immigrants from all over bringing with them their unique styles of cooking – making eating distinct and flavourful. Belizean food is rich with spices, and colours, most foods are now considered pan-Belizean as they are consumed by most members of the population and are no longer specific to any ethnic group.
Some of the most popular foods in Belize are mestizo foods, they form a sort of food backbone here in Belize as they are abundant. The Mestizo foods differ depending on the part of the nation you find yourself in. In the northern districts, the Mestizo population is mostly descended from the refugees of the Caste War of Yucatan (1847-1901), they settled in the north and brought with them their rich cuisine and culture.
One of their most famed dishes is the Chimole/Relleno, also known as “black dinna”, this savoury black soup of the Gods is a very popular Belizean dish and can be easily found at many culinary establishments. The most striking feature of the soup is its distinctive black colour which is given to it by the use of Black Recado, a paste made from a concoction of spices and roasted until black with ancho chili peppers.
Here is how to make it:
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 1 Head Garlic – Chopped fine
- 1 Onion – diced
- 1 Sweet pepper – diced
- 2 tomatoes – Chopped
- Chicken to be submerged in water
- 5 or 6 all spice – Cracked seed
- 4 oregano leaves
- 4 apasote leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Black Recado balls
- ½ red recado ball
Stuffing (Relleno Only):
- 2 lbs of ground pork (lean)
- 6 boiled eggs (separated)
- 2 raw eggs
- 1 Black Recado
- 2 heads of Garlic chopped fine
- Salt and pepper to taste
Stuffing (Relleno only):
Brown the pork with garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Add black recado and cook for about twenty minutes. Cool then add chopped egg whites, mix the two raw eggs to hold the stuffing together and set aside for later.
Chicken: Wash Chicken with vinegar or lime, season with salt and pepper. Now stuff the chicken with the pork mixture (stuffing). Add the boiled eggs yolks in between the stuffing as you stuff the chicken. Place chicken in pot, add water to cover chicken and add the rest of the ingredients except the black recado. Dissolve black recado in a glass of water and add to the chicken. Stir and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until chicken is done.
Thicken soup with one tablespoon of maseca (corn flour) or flour, dissolve in half cup of water. Add slowly to soup while stirring serve with corn tortillas.
Note: you can add a whole habanero pepper to the soup if you want it spicier or to taste.
The recipe for Chimole is the same recipe without the pork stuffing. The chicken is instead cut up into smaller pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and browned in a small amount of oil (I prefer olive) before adding it to the water and all the rest of the ingredients plus the black recado. Serve with boiled eggs and tortilla.