In addition to the traditional tamales, turkey or stuffed chicken, in Guatemala a delicious baked leg is usually consumed for festive meals at the end of the year, which is not only abundant for the whole family and friends, but is also easy to prepare. with few ingredients. The key is to marinate it properly.
Each family has its unique baked leg recipe, which is expected all year round to be tasted at Christmas or New Years. “The baked leg has become one of the delicacies of the season due to its ease of preparation, although it takes one to two days before putting it in the oven, so that its flavor is exquisite. Set the right temperature and let it bake for two to two and a half hours ”, indicates chef Alejandro Marroquín, who in this space presents his grandmother’s recipe for creativity.
The special feature of this preparation, he says, is that he smears the leg every 12 hours with a mixture of aromatic herbs, garlic and butter, three days before consuming it, so that it absorbs the flavors well.
“I recommend tasting the leg fresh from the oven to consume it hot, juicy and smooth on the palate, preferably with a salty sauce, because although there are countless recipes for sweet and sour sauces, such as tamarind or plum, it is not to everyone’s liking” , Add.
Another way to prepare this meat is to overflow the leg in some type of liquor such as white wine, beer, rum or whiskey.
Among the traditional garnishes of the baked leg, says the chef, is the rice or Russian salad, but also, it can be enjoyed with mashed potatoes with butter and cheese, and a green or Waldorf salad. For Marroquín, the ideal baked leg is one that is well browned on the outside and cooked on the inside, but without losing its juiciness or softness. “The fact that it is enjoyed with a sauce does not justify that it is dry or hard,” he explains.
“In my kitchen I try to innovate, but, at the same time, to use known ingredients, since it is not necessary to resort to expensive or extravagant ones to have a good dish. Don’t get me wrong, expensive or extravagant ingredients have their thing and contribute a lot to a dish, but you, with everyday ingredients, can also prepare exquisite dishes ”, points out the chef, who began cooking at 16, thanks to the teachings of his mother and grandmother. The chefs Luis del Cid and Winston Alvarado, from the Culinary Academy of Guatemala, he says, were part of his main professional learning.
1 5.5-pound boneless leg
4 pounds tomato
1 pound onion
1 to 2 large garlic heads
1 to 2 sticks of margarine a
Dried thyme and oregano and bay leaf
2 tablespoons mustard
Salt and pepper
500 ml of carbonated cola drink
Olives and capers (optional)
Also read: Healthy foods to accompany the Christmas menu
With a thin knife, pierce the leg all over so that the flavors penetrate well. Then, liquefy the garlic with a little oil, until it forms a paste, to facilitate the next step. Add the garlic, the half stick of margarine, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and mustard and spread this mixture with your hand on the surface of the leg for about five minutes. Cover it and refrigerate it. This process can be repeated every 12 to 24 hours.
The day it is baked, blend the tomato, onion and capers with the carbonated cola drink. A little garlic can be added to this sauce. Rectify the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. If the sauce is too thick, you can add water. Pour the sauce over the leg and cover with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Celsius, and bake for two hours. So that the leg is browned, which will be approximately an hour and a half of baking, you can uncover and place the olives.
Leave uncovered until finished baking and browned to taste. To make sure it is completely and properly cooked, you can use a kitchen thermometer. The internal temperature of the pork leg should be 158 degrees Fahrenheit or 72 degrees Celsius. Remove from the oven and slice. Place the desired portions on the plate and pour over them the liquid that was obtained from the baking. Serve with your favorite garnishes.
- Alejandro Marroquín has extensive experience in restoration.
- He graduated as a chef de cuisine from the Culinary Academy of Guatemala, Galileo University.
- He obtained the title of Technician in Gastronomy and Culinary Administration (chef de partie), in the aforementioned study center.
- He attended a course in oenology.
- He worked in various restaurants such as Saúl E. Méndez, Entre Pisco y Nazca, Luka, Oyster House and Nokiate it, where he held various culinary positions.
- At Cafetería Los Amigos (2017-2019) he was the executive chef.