Sangre de Iguana and Coke

Felipe’s dog, The Bear, is obsessed with iguanas. She spends most of the daylight hours running a well-trod course between four large trees on our property, where she keeps vigil for a few minutes to several hours, depending on whether or not she sees or hears the iguana that resides there. Only once has she caught one, with a little help from Felipe, which only intensified her addiction.

Today, Felipe returned home to wild barking in the forest, and me yelling at the dogs thinking they were harassing cows. He quickly assessed from over 200 meters that it was something on the ground and headed over at a run with a machete, there are large constrictors that live in that area of the wood that eat our chickens and he kills them when he can—they are a danger to the children that hunt there as well.

The Bear, Elvis and Mochi (two more of my dogs, I have four) had an injured iguana surrounded. Felipe promptly bonked it on the head and brought it home for dinner.

But first! He chopped its head off, bled it into a cup topped it off with coke and drank it. I will pause while you recover.

My mother in law claims iguana blood and coke is good for the eyes, the coke is just to get the warm blood down. She insists the reason she does not wear glasses in her seventies, is the due to the many iguana blood cocktails she has consumed. I have imbibed this odd beverage. It’s not bad, though I admit a fondness for raw, red meat which probably makes it more palatable for me.

Felipe was thrilled with his dog; he gave her the head, a prized piece because they have big jowls. He had just been saying he had a taste for iguana, and though we have several on our land we never kill them. We think of the Piedra Rahada (our land) as a reserve for iguanas because the boys in town are constantly hunting them with for pocket change to buy refrescos (soda pop).

I am not a huge fan of iguana. Lizard taste like fish and I prefer that only fish taste like fish, but I will prepare it and dine on this windfall of Darwinian order with gratitude.

Have you ever eaten something your dog brought home? Or road kill? We once ate a rabbit we accidentally hit with the car. Do you think waste not, want not applies in these instances, or is it just gross?

Caldo de Iguana

Campo (wild game) meats are not cooked in the same manner as farm raised meat. The first time I saw a rancho (free range) chicken in a pot going at a rolling boil I cringed at the thought of having to gnaw my way through dinner, but was amazed to find my piece fall-apart tender and the broth exquisite. This recipe is the standard soup recipe in Morelos; it can be used for chicken, to poach meatballs or eggs, or for vegetable, tortilla or bread soup.

5-6 guajillo chilies

Half a pound tomatoes broiled, do not remove the blacken skin

3 cloves

1 clove garlic

½ t. dried oregano

Carrots and onions

Liter of stock or water

Salt pepper

Oil

Wipe the chilies clean with a dry cloth, seed and remove the stem. Toast them on a griddle over medium heat, taking care not to burn them or your soup will be bitter. You want chilies that are browned in places not black. Place the chilies in boiling water for about 3 minutes, remove from heat and soak for another 5-10 until they are reconstituted.

Grind in a mortar and pestle the cloves, some salt, the oregano and the garlic glove.

Blend your now soften chilies with just enough water to release the blades. Press the chili thru a sieve to remove the tough peel.

Blend the tomatoes with the ground seasoning; add the chili to the jar, blend to mix.

Heat oil on medium heat, in a large casserole when the fat is hot add the chili mixture and fry stirring constantly for three minutes, take care not to burn it. Add the stock correct the seasonings bring to a boil and add finely chopped carrots and onion and your meat or vegetable of choice.

Serve with lime wedges, chopped cilantro, raw onion and tortillas

If you care to make this mas simple y facil (simpler and easier) replace the guajillo with ancho chili, and omit the straining, they are not as authentic but your soupa will still be very good. I use ancho most of the time out of laziness, and I like their rich flavor and meatiness.

Probecho

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