Thursday, October 27, 2011

Carne en Su Jugo (Beef, Bacon & Potato Soup)

Carne en su jugo is a delicious and comforting soup that's perfect for a cold, dreary day.  Or any other day for that matter.

Carne en su jugo is also the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion like today.

Carne en Su Jugo was the first meal I ate when I arrived in Yahualica 11 years ago.

After a day of traveling to a new country with two small children, I was nervous, anxious, tired and very hungry.   Almost as soon as we walked into my in-laws' home, my sister-in-law Susi escorted us to the kitchen where she served us all a big bowl of soup.

It was at that very moment that I realized that it wasn't a dream and that we had actually moved to Mexico.  A million thoughts and doubts raced through my mind as Susi topped our bowls with bits of chopped red onion and cilantro.  I had no idea what I was about to eat, but eating seemed like the perfect distraction to keep me from thinking about what we had just done.

As the first sip of the pale broth made it's way down my throat, I felt comforted by the familiar flavors of the beef, bacon and cilantro.  I knew at that moment that everything would be okay and that even though I was miles away from "home", Mexico wasn't all that foreign to me.  Mexico had always been a part of my life.  Its culture.  Its traditions.  And its food.    

Carne en Su Jugo may have been new to me that fateful day 11 years ago, but now it's an old friend.  And I will always remember and be thankful for the comfort it provided.    

Carne en su jugo

Carne en Su Jugo

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound thin cut beef steak, cut in 1-inch slices
  • 6 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
  • 1 sprig cilantro

Directions:
In a 3-quart saucepan or stockpot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; drain the drippings.  (Or reserve them for when you make Refried Beans.)  Return stockpot to heat with bacon, stir in the beef strips.  Cover stockpot and let meat cook in it's own juices; stir occasionally.  (Carne en Su Jugo literally means "meat cooked in it's own juices.")

When the beef strips are no longer pink, stir in the potatoes.  Add the water and cilantro; season with salt and bouillon.  Cover the pot and reduce heat to low.  Let the soup simmer until the potatoes are tender.

To serve, garnish with chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice and your favorite salsa or Chile de Molcajete.  Serve with warm corn tortillas. Enjoy!!!


carne en su jugo 2













*This recipe was originally posted in May 2009, but I felt it deserved to be re-posted for this special occasion. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mexican Pizza

I used to think that BBQ Chicken Pizza topped with slices of red onion and chopped cilantro was my favorite pizza.

Coming in at a very close second place was Veggie Pizza topped with zucchini, tomato, mushrooms, olives and bell peppers.

But after making this pizza with Homemade Chorizo and sliced jalapeño peppers, I have a new all-time favorite that I like to call Mexican Pizza.

And to make it even more Mexican, I baked it on a cast iron comal (griddle), which results in a crispier  crust.


Mexican Pizza



Mexican Pizza

Ingredients:
  • Pizza Dough  (I like to use Quick Beer Pizza Dough)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tomato sauce or jarred salsa
  • 6 to 8oz. Mexican Chorizo, cooked
  • Canned Jalapeño slices
  • Asadero or Oaxaca Cheese or Queso Fresco (or a Mexican cheese blend)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F.  Grease a pizza pan or cast iron comal with vegetable oil; set aside.  Roll out your pizza dough on a lightly floured surface; transfer dough to pizza pan.  Spread tomato sauce over the pizza dough.  Top with the cooked Chorizo.


Mexican Pizza Prep 1


Top with canned jalapeño slices.


Mexican Pizza Prep 2



And last, but not least, follow with a layer of lots of shredded cheese.  Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust has turned a light golden brown.

Mexican Pizza Prep 3



Top with your choice of bottled hot sauce, Chile de Molcajete or Homemade Red Pepper Flakes Enjoy!!!

Mexican Pizza 2


What's your favorite pizza?


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Thursday, October 13, 2011

She Made/Ella Hace: Mole {Enchiladas}



This month, for She Made/Ella Hace it's all about Mole!  Ole!  Heather is cooking up a rich and delicious Mole Amarillo on her blog, Girlichef.   And I'll be serving up a hot plate of Enchiladas de Mole.

But before we get to the recipe, I want to introduce you to an old friend of mine.  She's been a friend of the family for as long as I can remember...Doña Maria.




Doña Maria is a brand of thick Mole paste made with chile peppers, peanuts, sesame seeds and cocoa.  (Just to name a few of the ingredients.)

This was the Mole that my grandparents always made when I was a little girl.  Of course, when I grew up and got married, I learned how to make Mole from scratch and my grandpa preferred my Mole Dulce to Doña Maria's.

But still, whenever I spot that little jar of Mole at the tiendita, I am reminded not only of my grandparents' collection of Doña Maria jars that they used as drinking glasses, but also of one of my childhood favorites that Pappy (my grandpa) used to make...Enchiladas de Mole.  


Enchiladas de Mole w/ Mexican Rice



Enchiladas de Mole Doña Maria

Ingredients:
  • 1 Kilo bone-in chicken breast
  • 1/2 medium onion, halved
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Cilantro
  • 1 jar Mole Doña Maria
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Vegetable Oil (for frying)
  • Sesame Seeds (optional) 

Directions:
Place the chicken in 3-quart stockpot with the garlic, cilantro and 1/2 of the medium onion. Fill the stockpot with enough water to cover the chicken; season with salt and pepper.  Cover stockpot and cook over medium heat until tender and cooked through.  (60 to 90 minutes).

Enchiladas de Mole Prep 2


 Shred the chicken and gather the rest of your ingredients.



To prepare the Mole sauce, empty the jar of Mole Doña Maria into a 2-quart saucepan.  Slowly stir in 4 cups of chicken broth.  (I used the same broth the chicken was cooked in.) 

Enchiladas de Mole Prep 3


Heat the sauce over medium heat, whisking occassionally to prevent lumps from forming.  Season lightly with salt and pepper. 

Enchiladas de Mole Prep 4


Preheat the oven to 350F.  To make the enchiladas, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, for about 30 seconds on each side.  *You want the tortillas to be soft and pliable.  (The reason for frying the tortillas, is so that they won't fall apart when rolling them, once they've been filled.)

Enchiladas de Mole Prep 5


Top each tortilla with a couple tablespoons each of shredded chicken and Queso Fresco.  Top with a little chopped onion.  Roll up the tortillas and place seam side down on a heat proof plate or baking dish.

Enchiladas de Mole Prep 6


Ladle the warm Mole sauce over the enchiladas.  Top with more crumbled Queso Fresco and Sesame seeds, if desired.  Bake at a 350F for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.  Serve with Refried Beans and Mexican Rice Enjoy!!!

Enchiladas de Mole



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Monday, October 10, 2011

Homemade Chorizo

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of watching my grandmother work her magic in the kitchen.

She'd add a little of this.

A handful of that.

And just a pinch of this other thing para que le de sabor (to give it flavor).

Gramm cooked like most Mexican grandmothers.  She never measured anything and she almost never followed a recipe. 

I say "almost" because there was this one tiny, crumpled piece of paper that she'd pull out of an old briefcase on very special occasions.  Gramm and my Tia Jessie, Gramm's sister-in-law, were the only ones allowed to look at whatever was written on that special piece of paper.  I once caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye.  The only words I was able to make out were: Comino (cumin), Chile en Polvo (chili powder) and Vinagre (vinager).

Seeing as it was just an old recipe and not a deep, dark family secret or a map to a hidden treasure, I never tried to sneak another peek at that piece of paper.

Oh, if I could turn back time.

Years later, I realized that what was written on that old, stained, crumpled piece of paper was Gramm's "secret" recipe for her mouth-watering chorizo.

Gramm's Chorizo was spicy, without being hot, and slightly tangy.

It's the one family recipe I've spent years wishing I had.

And now, thanks to The Homesick Texan Cookbook, I've finally found it.


homemade chorizo 2

Mexican Red Chorizo
(from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain)

Ingredients:
  • 2 dried guajillo chilies
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound ground pork (with at least 20% fat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • !/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
In a small skillet over high heat, toast the dried chilies on each side for about 10 seconds.  Fill the skillet with enough water (about 2 cups) to cover the chilies.  Bring the water to a boil, then turn off heat.  Let the chilies soak for about 20 minutes or until really soft.

Roasting dried peppers


Place the chilies in a blender with the onion and garlic.  Add 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar and puree until smooth, adding more apple cider vinegar or water if needed.  The chile puree should be the consistency of ketchup. 

Dried Chile Puree


Add the chili puree to the ground pork, along with all of the spices and salt.  Mix well.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, so the flavors will meld. (If you're impatient like me, you can go ahead and cook it as soon as you've mixed it all together.)

chorizo prep


To cook, fry in a greased skillet.  Enjoy!!!

homemade chorizo



*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*



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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Huitlacoche

With corn season, comes a wonderful treat that not very many know about...Huitlacoche

Huitlacoche

Huitlacoche is a corn fungus, kind of like a wild mushroom, that grows directly on the corn.  And it makes a delicious filling for quesadillas

Have you ever seen or tried Huitlacoche?

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Good Old-Fashioned Elotiza

It's corn season in Mexico!

Planting began somewhere around the end of June/beginning of July to coincide with the rain season. 

Planting Corn


This year's rain season was a little on the dry side, and sadly many a cosecha (harvest) was lost.  Those that weren't lost, took quite a beating from the wind and hail.

Fallen corn stalks


Luckily for us, not all was lost.  We were able to enjoy a good old-fashioned Elotiza at El Rancho with family and friends. 

Big Pot on Grill


Corn-on-the-cob sure does taste good when cooked over an open, wood-burning fire.  But the real secret to sweet corn-on-the-cob is to leave some of the husks on the corn when cooking them.

Olla de Elotes/Big Pot of Corn


These smaller, not as well formed elotes are called moloncos.

Elotes/Corn


Some people like to eat their corn-on-the-cob with a little butter and salt.  Others, prefer lime juice, salt and hot sauce.  But these freshly picked elotes were so sweet and delicious, all we added were a few slices of homemade panela (a soft Mexican cheese).

Elotes con queso panela


How do you like your corn on the cob?  And what's in season where you live?


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Friday, October 7, 2011

Baked Poblano Fries

Baked Poblano Fries with French Onion Dip 4


I don't remember exactly which Rachael Ray cooking show I saw these on, but as soon as she mentioned them, I knew I had to make them.

At that very moment. 

I didn't even finish watching the show.

I headed straight into my kitchen and started to work, while visions of crispy, golden strips of breaded poblano peppers danced in my head.

Were it not for the fact that I had to share these with Hubby and the kiddies for lunch that day, I would have happily finished them all by myself.  No burger necessary. 

Full of spicy flavor (and very little heat), Baked Poblano Fries are better (and more addicting) than chips.  And a tastier alternative to plain ol' french fried potatoes.

All I have to say is, "Gracias, Rachael Ray!" 


Baked Poblano Fries Prep 5


Baked Poblano Fries
(Inspired by Rachael Ray)

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • 5 poblano peppers

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Place dry bread crumbs on a medium plate, season with seasoning salt, chili powder and a dash of ground cumin; set aside.

Slice the tops off the tops of the poblano peppers. Using your knife or a spoon, scoop out the seeds and veins.

Baked Poblano Fries Prep 1


Slice the chilies in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices. 


Sliced Poblano

 
Dip the poblano strips in egg.

Baked Poblano Fries Prep 2


Coat the poblano strips with bread crumbs.


Baked Poblano Fries Prep 3


Arrange the breaded poblano strips on a lightly greased baking sheet.  (I line my baking sheet with aluminum foil to make clean-up easier.)  Bake at 375F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. 


Baked Poblano Fries Prep 4


Serve with Ranch or Bleu Cheese Dressing, Fresh Tomato Salsa or Homemade Onion Dip for dipping.  Enjoy!!!


Baked Poblano Fries with French Onion Dip 2


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Homemade Onion Dip

Whenever I get a craving for something salty, I could walk to the tiendita that is just a couple of houses down from my house, to buy a bag of chips. But I would much rather walk to El Jardin, which is about 3 blocks away, to buy a bag of freshly made potato chips, fried to order, on the spot.

Traditionally, these homemade potato chips are topped with salt, freshly squeezed lime juice and lots of bottled hot sauce.  While chips with limon y sal (lime and salt) are quite delicious, there are times when I crave something more.

Like a creamy dip.

When I was growing up, my grandmother always had a bowl of dip in the fridge and a stash of flavor packets in the pantry to make more.

Those little flavor packets aren't available in my pueblito, so I was often left with el antojo (the craving).  Never did it occur to me that I could make a flavorful dip without one of those little flavor packets.  But that all changed when I saw this recipe for onion dip on the King Arthur Flour blog.

A super easy recipe, with ingredients I usually have on hand.  I had to make a couple of changes, like substituting Mexican Crema for the sour cream.  And I left out a few other minor ingredients, like mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce.  But the end result was absolutely delicious and a recipe that the entire family, including my in-laws, has come to love.

This Homemade Onion Dip is great with chips, crackers, raw veggies and even french fries.  But it also makes a great spread for sandwiches or burgers. 


Homemade Onion Dip 1


Homemade Onion Dip
(slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients:
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Mexican crema 
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken broth

Directions:
Chop the onion. 

French Onion Dip Prep 2


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until light golden brown.  Carefully pour in the water.  Let the onion mixture simmer until all of the liquid has absorbed.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

French Onion Dip Prep 2


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and Mexican crema with an electric mixer.

French Onion Dip Prep 3


Stir in the cooled onion mixture; season with salt.

French Onion Dip Prep 4


Serve with potato chips or crackers.  Enjoy!!!

Homemade Onion Dip 2



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