i had a lot of guava paste leftover from my previous dish so i decided to make a savory dish to contrast the oh-so-very-sweet phyllo pouches. because of my familiarity with all kinds of regional mexican because i worked for rick bayless at frontera grill, i decided on achiote chicken skewers with guava sauce . achiote paste is sold in blocks at the carniceria down the street from where i live. it’s made from annatto -which is the pulp that surrounds the seeds of the achiote plant. it’s basically natural red coloring, sometimes called “poor mans saffron” or “lipstick tree” because the natives used to use it for makeup. there’s not much flavor, sweet & peppery, a little nutmeg-like. it’s an essential ingredient in food from the yucatan-especially cochinita pibil (which you can buy at xoco-rick bayless’ new mexican hot chocolate & sammie shop next store to frontera/topolobampo).

i think it looks like a rambutan

i was supposed to use a jar of these instead of paste, and a whole cup and a half of fresh squeezed lime juice. 2 mistakes, because i bought key limes, thinking they would be better

and a great yellow lime press to squeeze out the juices properly

the limes were too tiny & i ended up squeezing by hand because the press was too big. i only got a quarter cup. i had limeade, so i used that as well.

the marinade was very sweet. rather than making skewers, after marinading a day, i stewed them in pyrex for an hour at 350, then brushed off the sauce & reduced it with some cornstarch to thicken, grilled the chicken 15 minutes at 425, added some steamed basmati rice & poured the sauce over the chicken & rice.

the veg is sauteed sliced brussels sprouts. i cubed some boars head bacon to crisp, removed them with most of the fat. sauteed a diced onion, added the sprouts & oil as needed & cooked till crispy. then i folded in the bacon pieces.

it was interesting, but too sweet. the chicken was the meatiest & purchased at the carniceria. the most important lesson learned from this experience was the neighborhood carniceria is awesome for whole chickens, papaya, & other awesome produce like mangos & avocados. i’m going to eat really well this year.

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