Our guide in Belize really showed me how proud and welcoming their culture is. He was excited for the opportunity to teach others about his country and to show us how they lived on a day-to-day basis. It made me sentimental for the way my father use to teach me me. I appreciate how passionate their culture is about holding onto traditions.
I’m thrilled that I got to work with a new ingredient during this challenge. I had never worked with iguana before I got to Belize. I assumed it would have a darker flesh with a gamier flavor profile. So, I was taken by surprise when I realized the reptile had a light flesh that produced very delicate meat – similar to the texture of a farm-raised rabbit. The reptile has a strong muscular structure and plenty of cartilage, so I had to do some quick thinking to adapt my cooking style.
If I were to use the meat again, I would braise it to break down the muscle tissues, and then incorporate it into a stew. It’s a versatile meat because it lacks powerful flavors, and it will soak up whatever ingredients it is surrounded by.