A new ingredient I tried in México was sour oranges (naranja agria). These are similar to the Seville oranges that are used in marmelade. These are not particularly attractive oranges as they have a dimpled thick skin and very sour juice. In Yucatecan cuisine, sour oranges are used in marinades, pickled onion relish and sauces.
Under the guidance of Chef Carlos, we prepared a Yucatecan specialty called Tzic de rez. This is shredded meat with radish, onion and cilantro that is marinated in sour orange juice and served cold wrapped in tacos. We used the leftovers on grilled nachos with cheddar cheese, salsa de chile habanero and tomato.
Tzic de rez
500 g (1 lb) beef (boneless beef chuck)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oregano leaves, to taste
1 handful radishes, finely diced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
60 g (2 oz) white onion, finely diced
Juice of 3 sour oranges*
Season beef with salt, pepper and oregano; place in a large saucepan. Add water to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is very tender (about 1 hour). Cool meat in broth then remove and shred using two forks.
Add shredded beef, radish, cilantro, onion and sour orange juice to a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper; mix well and place in refrigerator to chill. Stir occasionally.
Serve chilled on corn tortillas with tomato, avocado and chile.
*If sour oranges are not available, try the following substitution from Chef Rick Bayless
Makes approx. 250 mL or 1 cup
180 mL (3/4 cup) fresh grapefruit juice
90 mL (6 Tbsp) fresh limejuice
2,5 mL (1/2 tsp) finely minced orange zest (coloured part only not white pith)
Combine ingredients and let stand for 2 to 3 hours. Strain to remove the zest.
Use within 24 hours.