Sunday, 15 June 2014

World Cup Food Challenge: Honduras - Carne Asada

The Republic of Honduras, formerly Spanish Honduras to differentiate itself from British Honduras (now Belize), is situated on the umbilical cord of the Americas, between Guatamala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.  Like many other Central American countries, Football is the national sport of Honduras.  This doesn't mean however, that they're very good.  In the hundred years that they have had a national football association they have only qualified for the World Cup Finals twice.

With a French recipe in the bag as soon as the draw for the World Cup Food Challenge took place, I started to look around for culinary inspiration for the other countries in group E.  On two separate Honduran food sites I found reference to Carne Asada.  It literally means Grilled Meat but its origins have been lost in the mist of time.  Some say that it has Mexican roots but given the amount of Spanish influence in the region it isn't a surprise that there are cultural overlaps.  In the end I chose the version of the Honduran favourite from This is Honduras.

This is Honduras points out "Hondurans look for any excuse to get the barbaque going and make carne asada - it is a favourite for birthdays, family days out, picnics, etc."  Well, today is Father's Day.  That sounds like a decent excuse for a barbecue to me, so carne asada it is.

Z had managed to get beef skirt from B & J Callard's on Kirkgate market during the week and I set about marinating it first thing this morning, having reread the recipe to discover that you should marinate the meat overnight.  The strips of skirt were placed in a bowl with the juice of two oranges, a tablespoon of cumin, four crushed garlic cloves, salt and half a tablespoon of Worcester Sauce.  The final ingredient struck me as a little odd but who am I to argue?

Z made a batch of home made corn tortillas and some guacamole while I made some Chimol to accompany the beef.  I had planned to make a batch of Encurtido*, but I missed the bit of that recipe that says "Refrigerate for at least 3 days to allow for the flavour to develop".

The beef was great.  In fact, I can't envisage a barbecue in the future that wont have carne asada as part of the meat fest.  The simple onion, tomato, pepper, corriander, and lime juice chimol, was a good sharp foil against the sweet meat, so we might be seeing that on the menu again too.  I'm not sure if Honduras will get out of Group E, if they do I promise to get my act together and make a batch of Encurtido.  You never know, I might just make some anyway.

*think piccalilli and you're almost there.

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