All About Fiambre

A lot of people are wondering what fiambre (Fee-ahm-bray) is, so I thought I`d do a post on that.

Photo by cvander

Fiambre is the traditional Guatemalan dish that is eaten on Nov. 1 and 2, All Saints Day and Day of the Dead, respectively. You can certainly make your own, but the ingredients will cost you about Q300 (about $40), which is more than most people can afford. So instead, the majority of families buy a small plate and share it.

Everyone makes fiambre differently. For those families that do make it, it is something passed from generation to generation, so it can be hard to find a recipe, and every one that you do find will be different.

There are two main types of fiambre, colored (with beets) and white. I actually have never seen the colored one around here, but some people like beets, so I suppose it must exist!

Originally, people would bring food to eat or leave at the graves of their deceased loved ones. Over time, I`ve heard, all these different foods got mixed into one crazy dish . . . fiambre.

Here is what goes into a typical fiambre dish . . . more or less:

Meats: (Not all of these are in every recipe, but usually at least 5-6 are)

Ham, tongue, chicken, hot dog sausage, chorizo colorado (colored sausage), chorizo negro (black sausage), salami, bologna, yellow beef sausage

Veggies:

Beets (for colored fiambre), carrots, peas, chickpeas, corn, red beans, white beans, onions, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broad beans, pacaya (stringy bitter vegetable harvested from palm spears), baby corn, artichoke hearts, asparagus.

Cheeses:

Parmasan, cheddar, Mozzerella

Adornment:

Olives, red peppers, hardboiled eggs, radishes, capers, baby onions

All the veggies are cooked in chicken broth that includes mustard, vinegar, herbs, salt, sugar, and Worchestershire sauce. Then, when you order, the ingredients are carefully layered on a plate covered in lettuce. This can take a while, so you have to order ahead of time and go back to pick it up.

Some people add fish and sardines to their fiambre, but apart from that, it`s really tasty. You can pick out the pieces you want to eat and it`s a family affair. I`m really hoping to make my own next year, since I don`t like weird ingredients . . . like fish and stomach and tongue, in my fiambre!

Hope that answers any questions!

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