Puchero Yucateco


Yucatecan three-meat Stew. Although the Yucatan is hardly associated with cool weather, this stew, which contains chicken along with the meat, is one of its most popular dishes. Sundays in Merida call to mind music in all the plazas, and puncher specials in the restaurants. The stew is served with a salpicon, something like a relish, which is the tropical accompaniment to Yucatecan main dishes.


2 lbs. Fresh pork hocks

1 lb. beef stew meat, cut in cubes

1 lb. beef marrow bones

1 cup garbanzos, soaked in water to cover overnight

4 black peppercorns

4 allspice berries

1 stick cinnamon

1 teaspoon saffron

1 medium white onion peeled and roasted on a comal or griddle

1 whole head garlic, roasted on a comal or griddle, then peeled salt to taste

2 chicken breasts cut in quarters

2 spring hierba buena

2 spring cilantro

2 yams, peeled and cubed

2 plantains, peeled and sliced

2 plantains, peeled and sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cobs of corn cut into fourths

2 chayotes, peeled and cubed

1 small cabbage, cut into wedges

For the salpicon:

¼ lb. radishes, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

1 large purple onion, finely chopped

¾ cup bitter orange juice, or mix sweet orange juice with vinegar


Place the pork hocks, beef and marrow bones in a large stockpot with 2 ½ quarts water to cover, bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Add the peppercorn, allspice, saffron, onion, garlic and salt to taste. Lower heat and cook until the meat is almost tender.

Add the chicken, herbs, and vegetables and continue cooking until the meat is tender and the chicken and vegetables cooked through. Mix the radishes, cilantro, onion and orange juice.

Serve the stew in deep bowls, making sure that each person has some of each kind of meat, accompanied by the salpicon, sliced avocado, white rice, and roasted habanero chiles if desired.

Serves 8.