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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CABRAHÍGO WITH 14TH RECIPE FOR FIGS AS TENDERIZER

Fig
Photo by: Lord-Williams
L. Ficus carica, Ar. dukāz, Eng. wild fig tree or wild figs. Muslims in Al-Andalus put branches from wild fig trees or figs in pans containing recently slaughtered meat to accelerate the maturing process. Figs contain ficin, a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down the elastin fibers or long-chain protein molecules in meat. Ficin is most effective when simmering stews at about 140-160ºF. They continue to work when removed from heat while meat cools down. Temperatures above 160º F inactivate ficin. Canned figs will not tenderize meat as they are processed in very high heat. Apicius kept his pigs on a diet of dried figs and wine mixed with honey to improve the flavor of the meat. Today, this enzyme is included in McCormick unseasoned meat tenderizer. Figs were used to cure coughs and the Egyptians used them as a laxative more then 4,000 years ago.  See higo. [Anón/Huici. 1965:16:23; Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica.1995:32; Díaz. 2011:71; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5, 02; and Font. Plantas. 1999:57:121-126]


FIG SAUCE WITH MEAT  AND ARUGULA ADAPTED FROM SENT SOVÍ CLXV QUI PARLA CON SE FFA EN ALTRA MANERA HORUGUA, UI·S MENYA B LONSES DE VAUA HO DE PORCH EN AST, p 179
For 8 persons


Stuffed with Figs(an easier way to tenderize meat - roll figs in meat)
Photo from: ContinuumPC
Ingredients

12 peeled and halved figs[1]
½ c orange juice
¼ c olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp vinegar
½ c honey
½ c brown sugar
¼ tsp saffron mashed and dissolved in any of the liquids above
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp lavender
2 lbs beef or pork diced
4 c trimmed arugula

Preparation

Fig Sauce with Meat and Arugula
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1. Peel figs and quarter them.  Put the figs and all the ingredients in a bowl except the meat and the arugula. Add a little water if needed to cover the figs. Soak for 2 hours.

2. Put the fig mixture in a food processor and purée it.  Season to taste with salt and to insure a sweet and sour flavor adding more sugar or honey or vinegar.

3. Pour this into a saucepan with the meat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and marinate the meat for 2-8 hours.

4. PREHEAT AN OUTDOOR GRILL TO MEDIUM HIGH HEAT.
Dip arugula into the marinade. Then place it on skewers alternating it with the meat.  Grill for about 5 minutes or as desired. A thermometer inserted into the center should read 160º F /70ºC.

5. IF A GRILL IS NOT AVAILABLE the meat can be gently boiled in the marinade adding arugula at the last minute. Either way, grilled or boiled very, very slowly the meat melts in the mouth!

6. When cooked, place the meat and arugula in a serving bowl and pour the fig warmed mixture over it.


[1] As fresh figs have a short season in the fall, New World fruits can be substituted such as fresh papaya, which contains an enzyme called Papian, fresh pineapple contains Bromelain and kiwi, a native of  New Zealand, contains Actinidin. All of these enzymes act as meat tenderizers. None of these enzymes are effective unless heated as indicated above.  All these fruits must be fresh. The tenderizing enzymes are inactivated when the fruit is canned or preserved. 


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