Mixiote de Conejo: Rabbit in Banana Leaf with Salsa Guajillo and Jicama Salad
METHOD:For the Salsa Guajillo:
Put the whole peppercorns, allspice, thyme, cumin, cloves, bay leaves, avocado leaf, and cinnamon in a spice grinder. Grind into a fine powder. In a pot, combine the guajillo and ancho chilies with 3 cups of water, and bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat, and simmer the chilies for 20 minutes. Drain the chilies, and put them in a blender. Add the garlic and onion. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Add the spice mixture and blend on high for 1 minute more. Season with salt. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, add the lard , and allow it to reach just below its smoking point. Add the blended salsa and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.For the Mixiote de Conejo:
Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Put the rabbit on a roasting rack and set the rack into a roasting pan. Add about 4 cups of water to the bottom of the roasting pan and cover the rabbit with several layers of aluminum foil. Roast for 3 hours. Allow the rabbit to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes covered. Remove the aluminum foil and allow the rabbit to cool enough so it can be handled. Shred the rabbit meat, ensuring all the small bones are removed. Reduce the oven to 325ºF.
Soften the banana leaves by placing them over an open flame for 5 seconds on each side. The banana leaves soften quickly, so constant supervision is a must. Put a softened banana leaf on a flat surface. Add about 5 ounces of shredded rabbit meat to the center. Put about 4 to 6 strands of nopalitos on top and pour about ½ cup of Salsa Guajillo over the meat. Fold the banana leaf in half, making sure both ends meet. Fold in the 2 sides, twisting as approaching the center, ensuring the salsa will stay inside the pouch. Once both ends are twisted shut, close the top of the pouch with a 10-inch length of butcher’s twine, twisting the twine tightly. Put the packets in a roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven.For the Jicama Salad:
In a large bowl, combine the jicama, apple, radish, orange, grapefruit, pico de gallo, and lime juice. Season with salt.To Assemble and Serve:
Put the Mixiote de Conejo on one end of a rectangular plate. Pour the black beans into a pyrmid mold, and unmold in the middle of the plate. Add a swipe of the Salsa Guajillo onto the plate next to the beans. Put a small portion of the Jicama Salad on the far end of the plate and garnish with the cilantro.