Belize was the MKMW country for March. I know that I'm posting in April, but since we made and ate this meal yesterday, technically it still counts for March.
Belize is a small country in Central America, between Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. The food is similar to both Mexican and Jamaican/Anglo-Caribbean cuisine.
One of the basic staples of Belizean cuisine is stewed chicken served with beans and rice. The recipe I found for the chicken does not use recado (a Mayan spice blend), and the beans and rice use coconut milk. This was a delicious meal. My favorite part was the sauce made from the pan drippings. The onions just melted into the chicken drippings, and it all came together to make a very flavorful gravy that I really enjoyed.
Belizean Stewed Chicken
(from Belize News Post)
4 lbs of chicken cut into pieces, drumsticks and thighs seem to work best, bone in (I used two leg quarters)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil, or enough to just cover the bottom of the pot
1 small yellow or Spanish onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour, mixed with 2 tablespoons water (I used extra water, it was too thick at first)
Mix salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic (garlic powder can be substituted)
creating a rub. Season chicken with salt, pepper, thyme and garlic
Heat two tablespoons (or enough to fully cover the bottom of
the pan) of oil in large dutch oven or stewing pot over moderately high
Place the chicken in the pan starting skin down. Brown chicken,
turning pieces once, about 5 minutes per side.
As chicken browns, add
onions, cover pan and simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes so chicken
will stew. Recipes vary on the amount of time, many call for 1-2 hours
of stewing. Make sure your chicken is fully cooked before enjoying! (Mine stewed for about half an hour before the chicken was done).
After the chicken has finished cooking add a few teaspoons of water
to skillet and the flour to thicken the gravy.
Belizean Beans and Rice
(adapted from Belize News Post)
1 large can beans (I used a combination of several types, including black, navy, and pinto)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
2 lbs. rice (I only used 1 1/2 cups, whatever that ends up weighing)
Season beans with black pepper, thyme, and salt. Add coconut milk and 3 cups water. Stir and taste. Let boil.
Add rice to seasoned beans. Stir, then cover. Cook until water
is absorbed or rice is tender. If necessary, add more water gradually
until rice is tender.