#8 Armadillo Jocón

An occasional series of practical recipes to cook aboard using the ingredients at hand.
March, 2014, Antigua, Guatemala
(Tony and Jane are taking a break from On Delay to attend escuela de español.)

Your correspondent decided to try a dish that is more faithful to the region: Armadillo Jocón.

Jocón is a Guatemalan tomatillo and pumpkin seed-based sauce and, as everyone knows, armadillo is a delicious meat!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/TatusorGuineanBeast.jpg

Ingredients:

For the sauce
1 lb tomatillos (papery outer skin removed, and washed)
1 plum tomato
1 jalapeño chile, (or to taste)
1 dried red Cobán chile
3 green onions
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pepito AKA pumpkin seeds (ground if available)
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
Vegetable stock (chicken will work as well)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
For the main ingredients
1 side of roast armadillo (approx 2 lb)
1 chayote (known as güisquil in Guatemala)
2 carrots
1 handful of baby new potatoes
1 ripe avocado


Jocón (pronounced ho-kon) is a popular Guatemalan tomatillo and pumpkin seed-based stew. It is typically served with chicken, pork, or vegetarian. However, for special occasions, one can use locally caught armadillo meat. Armadillo tastes like the very best acorn-fed pork, and certainly gives gib-nut (tepezcuintle) a run for its money.

As always, it’s all about procuring the finest ingredients. We went back to the thrice weekly Antigua market.

The market at Antigua

The market in Antigua.

We found our armadillo ready roasted at the same place in the market we had found our iguana.

The armadillo vender

The armadillo vendor.

Jointing the armadillo

Jointing the armadillo.

Ingredients for the sauce

Ingredients for the sauce.

Having procured the armadillo and other ingredients, your correspondent retired to the kitchen to prepare the dish.

Preparation:

  1. Roast tomatillos, onion, chile, jalapeño, and garlic until slightly charred.
    Roasted vegetables for sauce

    Roasted vegetables for sauce.

  2. Dry roast sesame seeds and pepito in a hot pan until they just begin to pop.  Grind to a powder.
  3. Blend the vegetables, a dried red Cobán chile, ground toasted pepito, ground toasted sesame seed, and vegetable stock.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and cook for ~20 minutes.

    Jocon sauce

    Jocón sauce.

  4. Joint and de-bone armadillo.
    Armadillo blog-10

    Side of armadillo.

    Armadillo blog-13

    Armadillo skin.

    Armadillo blog-11

    Skinless boneless cooked armadillo meat.

  5. Meanwhile boil chayote, potato, and carrots until al dente.
  6. When ready to serve, place chopped meat into hot sauce and simmer for ~ 15 minutes. Just before serving add cooked potatoes, chayote, and carrots, and cook for a further 2-5 minutes.

    Serving suggestion

    Serving suggestion.

  7. Dish into bowls, add a slice of ripe avocado, and serve with fresh tortillas, cilantro-pepián rice, and homemade jalapeño pickle.

Muy delicioso!! (So delicious it converted a vegetarian of six years standing.)
One could substitute chicken, pork or vegetables for armadillo; obviously it would not be quite as good.

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