My new co-mother-in-law/friend, Helen, generously shared a popular seasoning blend called ricado brought back from a recent trip to Belize. It was part of a requested stash located at a particular market for friends hungering for this traditional seasoning paste.
Regional variations found throughout the Caribbean and Mexico characteristically feature achiote seeds, or its annatto pigment, which dyes the mixture red and gives meat or vegetables its distinctive red hue. Belize’s spice mixture typically includes annatto, Mexican oregano, cumin, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt.
The day Helen, my daughter, Shannon, and I decided to give our ricado a try, we had chicken wings on our minds and decided to see what would happen if we used the mild flavored paste as a rub. The gorgeous results were infused with a mellow tropical touch. We all agreed that a longer marinade would likely intensify the flavors.
We balanced out the wings with a big chopped salad and a thick bleu cheese dressing along with a huge platter of roasted red potatoes tossed with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Of course there was an assortment of wing and hot sauces for experimentation as well.
· 1 cup ricado paste
· ½ cup olive oil, or enough to thin into a rubbing sauce
· 4 lbs chicken wings
Combine the paste and olive oil and rub it generously into the chicken wings. Let marinate several hours or overnight.
Bake in a hot oven or on a grill over medium hot coals until the skin crisps and the wings are well cooked, about 45 minutes. Pass wing sauce of choice for dipping. Serves 4 to 6.