UF professor Allan Burns shares Mayan recipes for panuchos and pickled red onions.
Anthropology professor Allan Burns conducts research on the language, culture, migration and health of Mexico’s Maya people. He started an exchange program between the Autonomous University of the Yucatan and UF that has helped send more than 1,000 UF students from various disciplines to study in Mexico.
Burns shares his recipe for panuchos (pan-OO-choss), a bean-filled tortilla dish that are the favorite of Yucatecans and those who visit the area. Similar dishes are found in El Salvador (Pupusas) and other parts of Mexico and Central America, suggesting that this gourmet treat is an ancient Mayan delicacy. They can be eaten as a snack or a main meal, vegetarian or not.
Allan Burns was introduced to panuchos while working in the Yucatan. A red onion toping recipe follows below.
Panuchos Serves 4 (three panuchos each)
12 small corn tortillas
1 can refried black beans
½ cup water
Toppings (see below)
In a small bowl, mix refried black beans with water; set aside. Place one tortilla in a hot frying pan, flipping once, until it puffs up. Slice the tortilla open (like a pita) and stuff it with black beans. Repeat for each tortilla.
Deep fry each flat tortilla in about a half inch of vegetable oil until it is golden brown and slightly stiff. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.
Panuchos can be garnished with shredded barbecue chicken or sliced hard boiled eggs, as well as lettuce and (for those who crave heat) habanero sauce. Top with a few slices of pickled red onions.
Pickled Red Onions (To be served on top of panuchos)
Don’t let the concept put you off — the onions round out the taste of panuchos by adding a slightly acidic bite. Photo by Cinnamon Bair.
1 red onion
1 cup vinegar
½ cup water
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon beat juice (for color)
Cut the onion into quarters and blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain the onion; place it in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring to mix. Let sit 30 minutes before serving.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
(Note: Don’t let the concept put you off — the onions round out the taste of panuchos by adding a slightly acidic bite.)
Allan Burns is duPont-Magid Professor of Anthropology and until recently Chair of the Department at the University of Florida. He is also an affiliate with the Latin American Studies program, Linguistics, the Vision Center and director of the Florida/Yucatan program at the University of Florida.
(Article reprinted from FLORIDA, Magazine of the Gator Nation)
Posted August 4, 2011.
Photos by Allan Burns and Cinnamon Bair