Roasted Fennel Pibil with Habañero-Lime Onions
This veggie dish from the Yucatan Peninsula can be served with Green Corn Tamales or paired with black beans, sautéed plantains, and white rice.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 large fennel bulbs, quartered
- 2 medium white onions, sliced (3 cups)
- 5 Roma tomatoes, sliced (2 ½ cups)
- ½ cup achiote paste
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. banana leaves, softened over low flame (optional)
- 1 orange, cut into 6 wedges
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ habañero chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (1 lime)
1. To make Pibil: Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel; cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned all over, turning occasionally with tongs. Remove from pan, and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to broil. Spread onion and tomato slices on baking sheet. Place directly under broiler, and broil 10 minutes; rotate tray, then broil 10 minutes more, or until blackened on both sides, turning vegetables once or twice. Set aside.
3. Reduce oven to 300°F. Mash together achiote paste, tomato paste, and garlic in medium bowl. Stir in orange juice, lime juice, bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper.
4. Line large baking dish with layer of banana leaves (if using). Arrange fennel in bottom of prepared dish, and top with onion mixture, orange wedges, and achiote mixture. Cover with more banana leaves (if using), or wrap tightly in foil. Bake 1 hour, or until fennel is fork-tender.
5. Meanwhile to make Habañero-Lime Onions: Combine all ingredients in bowl, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Let stand 10 minutes.
6. To serve: remove orange wedges, transfer Pibil to serving dish, and top with Habañero-Lime Onions.
December 2012 p.44