Causa Limena

Recipe by Dulce Cahn Cab (Mexico)

Serves: 4-6


400 g pork
2 chicken legs
2 epazote sprigs
50 g achiote (or annatto) paste
1 kg masa harina (nixtamalized corn flour)
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
200 g dried black beans, soaked and cooked until soft
Banana leaves (or baking paper)
200 g tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 small bunch coriander, chopped

To serve
habanero sauce
200 g tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced

To serve
lettuce leaves
3 boiled eggs
pitted black olives
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

Preparation time: Be patient…. 2 days!

Cook the pork in 2 liters of boiling water for 40 minutes, then remove and add the chicken, epazote, 25 grams achiote and salt and continue cooking until cooked through. Do not overcook as the meat will continue cooking in the oven.

Reserve the cooking water and shred the pork and chicken meat, removing the bones.

The cooking water will be used to make the red kool, broth thickened with masa. Take a handful of masa and stir into the broth to obtain a similar consistency to béchamel.

Mix the remaining masa with the olive oil and remaining 25 grams achiote, then stir in the black beans and season with salt.

If you have banana leaves, clean them carefully with a cloth and trim off the edges. Lay them out overlapping each other, to make a bed of leaves (or use baking paper), then spread some of the reddish-orange masa mixture on top, reserving some for the top. Make a circle with thick, high edges. Inside make layers of the meat, tomatoes, onion and coriander, then pour over a ladleful of the masa-thickened broth. Cover with the remaining masa mixture. Wrap the pie in banana leaves (or baking paper).

Traditionally the muc bil pollo would be cooked in a hole in a ground lined with rocks. The pie would be placed on the rocks then covered with more rocks and wood, which would then be burned. After 6 hours of cooking, the pie would be carefully dug out and offered as a gift to the gods, or, after the arrival of Christianity, to the dead, while awaiting their resurrection. For a simpler method, preheat the oven to 250°C and bake the pie for 2½-3 hours.

The pie can be eaten hot or cold, served with a habanero sauce and a salad made by mixing together the remaining tomatoes and red onion.