Agua de Chilacayote
You might have to hunt to find a Chilacayote (we found ours at a farmer's market), but man, does it make a complex and flavorful beverage - #worthit
- 1 chilacayote, about 8 pounds
- 1 pineapple, about 4 pounds, rind and core removed and cut into chunks
- 3 liters water
- 1 pound of piloncillo or brown sugar
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- 2-3 limes, zest removed in long strips
- Submerge the squash in clean water and wash thoroughly with dish soap, scrubbing away any dirt or debris.
- Rinse well, then begin breaking the squash into hand-sized chunks with a large knife (or machete!).
- Remove all seeds and stringy pulp, leaving the meat of the squash and rind intact. Place the squash chunks in a very large pot.
- Using a sharp knife, remove the top and bottom of the pineapple to create a stable top and bottom, then carefully remove the outer rind from the pineapple.
- Remove the "eyes" by cutting diagonally down the sides, creating a ridged pattern on the outside of the pineapple.
- Cut pineapple into rings, then remove the inner (inedible) core. Now cut into chunks and add to the pot with the squash.
- Cover the squash and pineapple with 3 liters of water, add cinnamon sticks and piloncillo, and turn heat on high.
- Bring to a boil, turn down to a medium simmer, and cover tightly with a lid.
- Cook for about 90 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally.
- Allow mixture to cool and remove the cinnamon sticks.
- Transfer 1-2 ladles of squash and pineapple into a large pitcher or serving container and roughly mash with a wooden wand, removing any large chunks of rind that separate from the flesh of the squash.
- Pour remaining liquid from pot into serving container without straining; final drink is meant to include texture from cooked squash and pineapple.
- Taste and add more water if drink is too sweet for your taste.
- Ladle agua into individual cups, top with strips of lime zest, and serve at room temperature.