As an ethnic food enthusiast, I want to try what different cuisines have to offer. Mexican food has stolen my heart a while ago, and I have been tasting and experimenting with Mexican dishes for quite some time. My latest degustation of Mexican food was the insanely tasty machito, and I want to tell you everything about it – what it is and how to cook it.
Machito is a complex dish that requires skill and knowledge, and I am proud to report that I nailed it. It is definitely a dish worthy of a few words and a chance in your kitchen. My goal with this article is to inspire you to give it a shot. 🙂
What Exactly Is Machito?
Shortly explained, Machito is a sausage-like dish made from marinated and seasoned intestines of animals like cows or goats. Now, don’t worry; although it sounds a little odd, the dish is actually quite tasty when prepared right! The key is in the preparation and seasoning.
Now, it isn’t unheard of for a dish to be made from animal intestines, although it is less common today compared to a few decades back. For example, haggis, kukurec, mumbar, etc., are all dishes featuring intestines, and they are all delicious if you know how to prepare them.
The crucial step in making Machito is rinsing the intestines and sausage casings. They retain many toxic elements since their job is to pass the toxins out of the animal’s body, so cleaning them thoroughly should be your highest priority.
The next step is marinating. If you decide to take a stab at machitos, this is where you can be as creative as you want since there is no specific way of marinating the intestines. You can use spices, herbs, oil, and citrus juices.
I marinated mine with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, red paprika, cumin, and rosemary. You can make your own blend or buy a spice blend. Be generous in the seasoning because the intestines have a very particular odor you need to suppress.
If you underseason them, their natural odor will surface, and you don’t want that, but if properly marinated, they are a delicacy.
I let them marinate for two hours to soak up the flavors and tenderize. If you ever had undercooked calamari, you must have felt that unpleasant crunch of the meat. Machito feels the same if the intestines don’t tenderize sufficiently, so don’t rush the marinating process.
Once they’ve soaked up the flavors, you can blend them in a food processor or leave them as they are. They are delicious either way. I blended half and left the rest alone.
Then, it’s time to stuff the sausage casings with the mixture — I used hog casings, but you can use any you like. When you fill the casings, make sure you secure the ends so there are no leaks during the cooking process.
You can boil them first and fry them later — I’ve found that this works like a charm. So, boil them for about half an hour. Once they are cooked, you can pair the Machito with beans, make tacos, or combine them with another dish you think they would fit nicely with.
For me, making Machito was a real adventure and definitely a venture into the unknown, but I assure you that they are as fun to make as they are delicious to eat, as you can see in the video below!
Where Is Machito Popular?
Machito is a Mexican dish, and it is popular in Mexico, as well as in other Latin countries. As part of Latin American cuisine, it is often found on the menus of Mexican restaurants that serve traditional food.
It isn’t as easy to find as fajitas; for instance, there’s a limited number of Mexican restaurants that offer it.
Like many traditional dishes made from animal intestines, it is rarely a dish you would have on a night out or on a date, and it is rarely served at the Mexican restaurants people usually go to. You have to specifically look for it and ask around so that you can get a hold of this delicious dish.
Because its preparation process takes time and effort that many people can’t invest due to the many daily obligations, Machito is more and more limited to restaurants and less and less prepared at home.
What to Make with It?
I like to call Machito a “supportive dish” since it enriches and adds flavor to other pairings. You can have it on its own, but the intensity of flavors can be overwhelming. Traditionally, it is served with beans or tacos, but those aren’t the only ways to have it.
Warm beans are another traditional option to serve your machitos with and one I also tried. I love how the smoky and flavorful macchiatos paired with the creamy and spicy beans. I made a variation of Mexican chili beans, adding tomato paste, chili powder, fresh bell peppers, salt, and pepper to the beans, but you can make them any way you like.
Salsa, guacamole, or a plain mayo sauce are great pairings for machitos. If you want to have them on their own, without pairing them with anything else. I made the sauces, but you can buy them if you don’t feel like making them.
Make a Machito burrito if you feel like having a traditional Mexican dish spiced up with an original twist. You can add classic burrito elements, such as rice, salsa, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and onions, or you can add your favorite burrito ingredients.
Cheese and Bread
The bread and machito combo is particularly effective if you pan-fry them. Take a slice of bread and place it into the pan so that it soaks up the delicious machito leftover juices.
Top the bread with the machitos and grate cheese on top. Pop the bread in the oven only for a minute for the cheese to melt, and you’re done! This is my own invention, and I hope you enjoy it.
Make yourself a Machito breakfast of champions and pair the Machitos with fried eggs. I know — it’s a lot of fried food — but it is definitely worth trying. The smoky element of the machitos makes them an excellent substitute for bacon in this particular combination.
Make an omelet, or just scramble and fry the eggs. Sunny-side-up is always an option, too.
If you want to mix the vibrancy of Mexican food with the visual presentation of the Orient, make a bowl of rice and top it with your machitos. You can use the leftover juices as a sauce or even add a splash of soy sauce on top. This combo pairs well with fermented foods, such as sauerkraut.
Do you want to try and make your own machito tacos but don’t know where to begin? Say no more; I got your back. This is an original recipe I compiled that yielded surprisingly delicious results.
Take a look at the ingredients and making procedure, and get busy!
You can alter this recipe to best fit your taste and preferences, but don’t tamper with the Machito recipe. Thoroughly rinsing and marinating the Machitos are compulsory steps, and you must never omit them. You can play with the seasonings and spices, but make sure that they fit well.
What do you think of the recipe? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Ingredients for the Machitos
- 1 pound machitos
- ½ cup lime/lemon/orange juice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp rosemary dried or fresh
- salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the tacos:
- 10 small corn tortillas
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup diced onions
- ⅙ cup lime juice
- 1 cup salsa or sauce of your choice
- Mix the juice, oil, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl. This mixture will be your marinade. Note that you can choose your type of juice from the list I mentioned above.
- Cut the Machitos into smaller pieces so that you can handle them more easily. Place the machitos into the marinade bowl or in a plastic zipper bag along with the marinade.
- Cover the bowl, or close the bag, respectively. Make sure the machitos and the marinade are well mixed and equally distributed through whichever container you use. Refrigerate the machitos and let them marinate for at least two hours.
- Heat a grill or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the machitos from the marinade, and allow for the excess liquid to drip off.
- Grill or pan-fry the machitos for about 4-5 minutes per side or until they are cooked through and slightly crispy on the edges.
- While you cook the Machitos, warm up the taco shells in the oven. Place a few slices of machitos and top with chopped cilantro, diced onions, and sauce. Squeeze a lime wedge over the filling for a zesty kick.
- Bring your non-sticking pan to medium heat and crisp up the tortillas from both sides.
- Serve and enjoy!
Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.