Chef Essig's Featured Menu Item of the Week
This week, we are serving up an authentic Mexican dish called Mixiote (pronounced meesh-ee-OH-tay). The word "mixiote" can typically be used in two ways. The first meaning is used to refer to the cooking method itself, while the second meaning describes the wrapper used in the actual cooking process.
Cooking "Mixiote Style"
Preparing a dish "mixiote style" is one of the most unique methods in the wide spectrum of Mexican cooking. Traditionally, mixiote consists of small "packages" of meat that are wrapped in leaves, steamed or cooked over an open fire, then topped with an extravagant and aromatic chile sauce. Typically, the wrapping is the outermost layer of the of a maguey leaf (agaver americana, commonly known as the Century Plant). When steamed, the leaf wrapper infuses the meat with a distinctive herbal flavor.
Maguey Leaves, Parchment Paper, or Banana Leaves
The origins of mixiote date back to pre-Columbian Mexico. Legend has it that the god-prince Quetzalcoatl sent shooting stars to earth to form the first maguey plants. Maguey was one of the most complete sources of nutrition in pre-Hispanic Mexico. The Aztecs used maguey for food, writing paper, as a sweetening additive, for fiber to make ropes and clothing, and to make the drink pulque (a fermented beverage with an alcoholic content roughly equivalent to beer, used mainly in ceremonial contexts). Since each maguey leaf takes over ten years to grow, the trees have become endangered.
It is now common to see parchment paper or banana leaves take the place of the Maguey for preparing foods "mixiote style." Here in UNC Dining Services, we use fresh banana leaves to enclose tender pork, chiles, herbs, and spices. The aromas of these ingredients are trapped inside the wrapper and infused into the pork before being shredded and covered with a rich chile sauce. Try Mixiote Pork with a warm tortilla and rice to make a complete meal.
Unique Dishes and ingredients
Mexico is rich in various types of cuisine. Consisting of thirty two states, each area has it’s own distinct ingredients, flavors and preparation methods. Mixiote is popular to the central part of the country, especially in the states of Mexico, Tlaxcala, and Hidalgo. Many unique dishes and ingredients make up the true cuisine of Mexico. UNC Dining Services is pleased to share this dish with you and hope you enjoy a true taste of Mexico.
Join Us for dinner at Tobey-Kendel Dining Room on Tuesday
- What: Mixiote Pork
- Where: Tobey-Kendel Dining Room
- Station: Que Pasa
- Day: Tuesday, September 14th
- Meal: Dinner, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Enjoy! Chef Aran Essig, CEC, CCA
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