Mexico: More Chiles

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The Spicebox Supperclub has been celebrating the wonderful flavors of Mexico in our latest series.  See our menu overview to see what we enjoyed.  We started with cocktails, then had a tour of chiles.  This week, we enter the realm of main courses, still exploring the variety of chiles and other flavors used in Mexican cuisine.

Spicy Pasilla Mushroom Tacos

Ingredients

8 garlic cloves

6 large pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

¼ spoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ cup chicken broth

4 cups sliced woodland mushrooms (shitake)

¼ cup thinly sliced epazote

12 corn tortillas

½ cup finely diced onion

1/3 cup diced queso anejo

12 corn tortillas

Directions

Pasilla Paste

  1. Roast unpeeled garlic. Toast chiles in skillet, then rehydrate for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of the soaking fluid.
  2. Combine chiles, soaking liquid, garlic, oregano, pepper and cumin. Blend to a smooth puree. Strain through a medium mesh strainer.

Mushrooms

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot, once hot enough to sizzle seasonings, add all of pasilla paste. Stir for 5 minutes. Stir in broth, then add mushrooms and epazote. Partially cover, simmer over medium-low until mushrooms are soft and sauce reduced, about 15 minutes.
  2. Season with salt. Sprinkle with queso and garnish with epazote. Serve with tacos on bed of shredded cabbage. 

Corona Bean Soup with Ancho Chile and Mint

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Ingredients

1 pound corona beans

8 cups chicken broth

6 garlic cloves

1 large white onion

3 medium-large tomatoes (9-12 plum tomatoes)

6 medium ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

2 ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup loosely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped mint

½ cup queso anejo

Directions

Soup

  1. Soak beans for several hours. Drain and place in 8 cups of broth and simmer for 3-4 hours.
  2. Roast garlic unpeeled. Roast tomatoes, discard skins, keep juices. Chop.
  3. Add garlic, onion, tomatoes to beans, cook until ready.

Chiles

Cut chiles into 1/8th inch slivers. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add chiles and stir for a minutes. Remove from heat, and add vinegar, 3 tablespoons water, oregano and a ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for ½ hour, stirring occasionally.

Finishing Soup

Remove some whole beans from soup. Reserve. Blend remaining soup until smooth but with some consistency. Stir in mint and cilantro. In bowls add a few whole beans, chile, and then pour soup over ingredients. Sprinkle crumbled cheese over soup.

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Sandia Ice with Tequila

IMG_9005Directions

Take cubes of frozen watermelon (no seeds), place in freezer for an hour, mix, and freeze again.

Blend and add small amount of good quality tequila.

Serve in cognac glass with salt sprinkled. 

Chicken with Nutty Queretaro Green Mole (Mole Verde Queretaro)

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Ingredients

½ pound (3 medium-large) poblano chiles

12 ounces (8-9 medium) tomatillos

½ cup sesame seeds, some extra for garnish

½ cup whole blanches almonds

1 small soft plantain, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick

1 corn tortilla torn into pieces

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup roasted skinless peanuts

1 large leaf of romaine lettuce

8 good sized sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

½ teaspoon cinnamon, preferably fresh ground Mexican

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon freshly ground aniseed

big pinch of freshly ground cloves

5 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, about 2 teaspoons

8 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions

Roasting, Toasting, Browning

  1. Roast chiles directly over a gas flame, about 5 minutes. Cover with kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Peel, pull out stem, and seed. Rinse. Roughly chop.
  2. Roast tomatillos on a baking dish 6 inches below the broiler until softened, about 3 minutes. Then turn over and roast other side. Transfer tomatillos, along with juices, to bowl with chiles.
  3. Heat small skillet over medium and add sesame seeds. Stir continually until aromatic and golden, about 2-4 minutes. Scrape into the chiles, and then do the same with the almonds.

Finishing the Mole

  1. To the bowl, add the remaining ingredients (plantain, tortilla, garlic, raisins, peanuts, romaine, parlsey, cinnamon, pepper, aniseed, cloves). Stir in 2 cups of the broth, and in blender, in batches, puree to a smooth consistency. Pass through a medium mesh strainer.
  2. Medium sized pot over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot enough to sizzle a drop of the mole, add all at once. Stir for 3-4 minutes. Add another 3 cups of the broth, partially cover pot and gently simmer over medium low, stiring regularly, for 30 minutes. Sauce should have consistency of a thick cream soup. Season to taste with salt, about 2 teaspoons.

Chicken

  1. Oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom of a 13×9 baking dish with mole, lay in chicken breasts in a single layer, then ladle remaining sauce over. Bake until chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a warm platter. Slice the chicken. Add the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Seared Corn (Esquites Dorados)

Ingredients

5 large ears of corn

hot green chiles (3 serranos, or 2 small jalapenos) stemmed, sliced crosswise

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons chopped epazote (or ¼ cup chopped cilantro)

Directions

  1. Cut kernels from corn. Cook chiles and kernels in nonstick skillet (5-10 minutes), until kernels were browned.
  2. In a cup, combine ¼ cup water, salt, and lime juice. Sprinke cilantro over corn and drizzle on liquid, let stand covered for several minutes. Add more salt as needed. Serve with lime wedges.

Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients

1 small red onion, peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick

¼ teaspoon black peppercorns

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano

2 garlic cloves, peeled, and halved

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Parboil onion by blanching in boiling salted water for 45 seconds, drain and place in a bowl.
  2. Coarsely grind peppercorns and cumin in a mortar and add to onions. Add remaining ingredients plus enough water to barely cover. Stir well, and let stand for several hours until onions are bright pink (covered and refrigerated, onions last several weeks).

Topolo ‘Ceasar’ Salad (Ensalada Estilo Topolobampo)

Ingredients

Romaine lettuce

Olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, serrano chile, egg

Tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Make dressing
  2. Combine with lettuce, cheese, and tortillas

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Oh, did you remember to save room for dessert? Don’t worry, we’ll give you a week to recover.  See you next time! 

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Mexico: A Lesson in Chiles

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After we were warmed with micheladas and margaritas, we were ready to dine! Not content with just a few tacos and burritos, Chef Nalin took the opportunity to explore and educate us with chiles.

Amuse Bouche – ‘Pico de Gallo’

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Ingredients & Directions

Cherry tomatoes (10-12)

Puree onion (with lime)

Puree cilantro (with lime) and a small amount of apple

Slice tomatoes in half, core out

Toss tomatoes with salt, drain. Marinate with lime for 2-3 hours.

Add onion, and cilantro to center of tomato. Top with a thin slice of fresh serrano. 

Roasted Tomatillo Serrano Salsa (Salsa Verda Cruda)

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Ingredients

1 pound tomatillos (10-12 tomatillos)

Fresh serrano chilis, about 5 (1 oz)

2 large garlic cloves

1 small white onion

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

salt, sugar

 Directions

  1. Roast tomatillos below broiler (4 inches) until they blister (5 minutes). Cool.
  2. Roast chilis and garlic on an ungreased skillet. Cool, and stem chilis.
  3. Scrape tomatillos, chilis, garlic into blender. Pulse until chunky. Add water to give it a good consistency. Rinse diced onion, and stir into salsa along with cilantro. Taste and season with salt and sugar. 

Tomato Chipotle Sauce (Salsa de Chile Chipotle y Jitomate)

Ingredients

3-4 dried chiles chipotles colorados (moritas)

4 garlic cloves

1 ½ pounds (3 medium-large, or 9-12 plum) ripe tomatoes

1 tablespoon lard, or olive oil

Directions

  1. Stem chilies, remove seeds, toast on skillet for a few seconds on each side.
  2. Rehydrate in hot water for 30 minutes, discard water.
  3. Roast unpeeled garlic. Roast tomatoes under a broiler, 5 minutes a side. Remove skins.
  4. Add ingredients to blender, puree.
  5. Heat saucepan enough to make drop of puree sizzle, then add all at once. Stir for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Guajillo-Sauced Shrimp/Scallops with Nopales (Camarones al Guajillo con Nopales)
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Ingredients

16 medium (1 pound) fresh cactus paddles

2 pounds medium-large shrimp

For 2 cups Simmered Guajillo Sauce (Salsa de Chile Guajillo)

6 garlic cloves, unpeeled

16 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

pinch cumin

3 ½ cups fish or chicken broth

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

about ¾ teaspoon sugar

2 medium-large tomatoes (or 6-8 ripe plum)

Directions

Trim the nopales, cut into ½ inch squares

Peel and devein the shrimp

Sauce (make earlier in week)

  1. Roast unpeeled garlic
  2. Rehydrate chiles in hot water for 30 minutes, discard water
  3. Combine oregano, pepper, cumin in food processor or blender, along with chilis and garlic and 1 cup of the broth. Blend to smooth puree. Strain through medium mesh.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in saucepan, stir constantly until reduced to paste (5-7 minutes). Stir in remaining 2 ½ cups of broth, simmer for 45 minutes. Add broth to bring to medium consistency. Add 1 teaspoon salt as needed for taste.

Tomatoes

Roast tomatoes under broiler, about 6 minutes, collect include juices, then puree.

Nopales

  1. Cut remaining chilis into very thin strips.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat, add the cactus and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the chili strips and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in lime juice, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and cook until liquid evaporated. Spread out on plate and keep warm.

Finishing Dish

Wipe skillet clean, use remaining 2 tablespoons oil and put over medium-high heat. Lay shrimp in single layer, sprinkle with salt, cook for 2 minutes, flip, then add the chile sauce and tomatoes. Cook another 2-3 minutes until barely done. Place into plates with cactus on side.

Jicama, Radish and Cucumber

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This plate, served as a palate cleanser before the next course, conjures up the colors of the Mexican flag.  ¡Viva Mexico!

Ingredients

Large jicama

2 cucumbers

radishes

Directions

  1. Julienne ingredients, and then marinate separately in lime.
  2. Serve together.

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Thanks for visiting! Believe it or not, this is just the beginning! Please come back next week for the main courses.  For an overview of our Mexican feast, here’s the first post in this series: spiceboxsupperclub.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/spicebox-supperclub-mexico/

Mexico Cocktail Hour: micheladas y margaritas

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We opened the night with micheladas, the Mexican beer and tomato juice cocktail.  With a rim of celery salt, this was a great palate teaser to open our tastebuds to the spicy menu to come.  And what’s a Mexican fiesta without margaritas? Peter stirred up his specialty cocktail using the perfect recipe out there, Rick Bayless’ perfect margarita.

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Michelada

from Food52 The Flying Foodie http://food52.com/recipes/420-michelada-a-k-a-bloody-beer

Serves 4

Ingredients

Lime wedges, for garnish

Celery salt or plain salt, for garnish

1 6oz can tomato juice
2 limes, juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 -1/2 teaspoons Tabasco or preferred hot sauce
2 12oz bottles or cans of beer (Modelo is ideal)
Several handfuls of ice cubes

Technique

1. Prepare the glasses: rub the rims of four tall glasses with the lime wedges then coat the rims with either celery or plain salt.

2.  In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the tomato juice, lime juice, celery salt, Worcestershire and Tabasco (or desired hot sauce) and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3.  Add a handful of ice to each of the prepared glasses, then divide the tomato juice mixture between them (each should have approximately 4 tbsp/60ml of juice).

4.  Top up the glasses with half a bottle of beer each, then garnish with a lime wedge.

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Rick Bayless’ Perfect Margarita

http://www.fronterafiesta.com/cook/drinks/187-pure-and-simple-margaritas

Makes: 4 generous drinks

Ingredients

1 cup tequila, preferably a young silver or reposado 100% agave tequila
½ cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, plus a little extra for moistening the rim of the glasses
A little sugar if necessary
About 1/3 cup coarse (Kosher) salt for crusting the rim of the glasses
About 3 cups medium ice cubes

Technique

1.  In a small pitcher, combine the tequila, orange liqueur and lime. Taste and decide if you think the mixture needs to be a little sweeter or a little tangier (keep in mind that it will taste a little tangier once it’s been shaken). Add a bit more lime or a touch of sugar, if necessary.

2.  Spread out the salt onto a small plate. Moisten the rim of four 6-ounce martini glasses with a little lime juice (if you have a cut lime, even an already-squeezed one, moisten the rims by running it around them). One by one, turn the glasses over and dip them lightly in the salt, creating a thin, even crust all around the rim.

3.  Pour half of the margarita mixture into a cocktail shaker, add half of the ice cubes. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds (this is important to achieve the perfect strength—some of the ice needs to melt into the margarita—and the right degree of frostiness). Strain into the prepared glasses, then repeat with the remaining margarita mixture. Relax and enjoy.

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Thanks for coming to our fiesta! To see the amazing menu Chef Nalin prepared to follow, come back next week!