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Posts Tagged ‘Authentic Mexican Cooking’

I recently joined a Facebook group called Bayless’ Best Ever and the members have been posting some wonderful, homemade AUTHENTIC dishes for us to drool over.  Chef Rick posted a contest using his recipe for salsa (Chef Bayless Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa) and we were supposed to make it (or a variant of it), add it to our dish and post about it.

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Roast the peppers on a hot griddle, blistering the skin for easy removal.

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Roughly grind the chilis in a molcajete (volcanic rock mortar & pestle) OR give it a rough chop in your food processor.  Add the fire roasted tomatoes and the other ingredients in the recipe, especially the fresh cilantro.  I love the smell of fresh cilantro (I know, I know, some of you out there hate it!).  I tried to make this simple and used canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes.  The recipe calls for lime juice or cider vinegar, I used both!  Loved the flavor!

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Here’s the finished product!  SO easy!

Coincidentally, I had made some machaca from scratch a few days ago and filled my chimichanga with the delicious meat.

I’m not really sure of the origin of this machaca recipe.  Some say it is from La Hacienda restaurant which used to be open in Imperial, CA and others posted an extremely similar recipe from a place in El Centro, CA that closed called La Reina.  I kind of changed it a little to suit my tastes.

MACHACA RECIPE:

Approx 2.5 lb Chuck Roast

3 cups water

3 peppercorns (if you don’t have, just heavily pepper the roast)

Sprinkle roast with crushed black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 large or 2 small bay leaves

1/2 medium white onion, sliced

Cut the roast into big chunks (about 3 ” square).  Place the roast in a shallow pan, add 2 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil and turn heat down to a simmer.  Cover and simmer until meat is tender (about 2 hours).  Be sure to check on it every half hour or so to make sure your heat isn’t too high and the liquid is still there.  Remove meat to a plate or tray to cool off.   When it is cool, shred it with 2 forks and set aside.  You can reserve the liquids and add later if necessary to add some flavor.

 

MACHACA ingredients:

 

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (or olive oil if you prefer)

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 California  (Anaheim) chili pepper, sliced into 3″ strips

1 or 2 chile serrano, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped (approx 1/2 pound)

1/4 teaspoon salt

ground pepper (to taste)

In large saute’ pan, put oil, onions, Anaheim chili strips and chopped Serrano.  Cook on medium heat until softened.  Add minced garlic, tomatoes and add salt and pepper.  Add shredded beef and check moisture level.  Add more water or the juices from cooking the meat.

Reduce heat to a low simmer and let cook until vegetables are tender.  Add more salt or pepper if needed.  This is even better the next day which allows the flavors  of the veggies to meld with the meat.

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I used the machaca meat to make a chimichanga, which is essentially a deep-fried burrito.  This one was too big, I normally make them smaller than this.

Warm  your tortilla on a griddle, fill with machaca and fry in hot vegetable oil.  Make sure the oil is hot enough to quickly fry it or your chimichanga will be greasy.  When I was first learning, I would seal it with a toothpick to keep the filling from coming out.  Now, I just start the frying on the flap side of the burrito and spoon hot oil over it and it will stay closed when you flip it over.  Don’t walk away from the skillet during this part.  It is easy to scorch them and you just need a golden crust as shown in the photo.

Top your chimichanga with Rustic Tomato Salsa, finely chopped lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, guacamole and sour cream.

Enjoy!

 

 

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In a list of my favorite foods, you would definitely see Chile Relleños near the top of the list.  I think I could eat one of these several times a week and not get tired of them.  I really came to appreciate them in high school when a boyfriend’s Mom prepared them with such finesse and flavor like I’d never had before or since.  Someday, maybe I’ll get the secret of why Mrs. Cano’s rellenos were SO good!

Later, when I was newly married and living in Kentucky, it was impossible to find one on a menu.  Even so, I was reluctant to try to make them because the recipe sounded intimidating to a novice cook.   It took me about 10 years before I even attempted to make them on my own.  I seem to remember that there was flour everywhere and at the time I used Anaheim chiles which just didn’t cut the mustard.  I definitely prefer the flavor of pasilla (poblano) chiles.

pasilla chile

Which brings me to why I decided to try making them again.  There is a sweet lady named Belinda (www.belindascocina.com) who sells some of the most authentic Mexican food around (here in San Diego county).  I first tried her rellenos at the La Jolla Farmer’s Market on Sundays.  They were so perfectly prepared and delicious!  She made them even more so when she offered to put a little chile verde on top instead of the red sauce.  Wow, that was good!

Belindas

Now,  I’ve seen them on menus with different fillings such as shredded beef, picadillo and chicken but I’ve never tried them.  I like the simplicity of the chile, the cheese and the egg batter covered with a salsa fresca red sauce.

Getting over to the farmer’s market isn’t exactly convenient so I knew it was time to tackle making them again.

First I bought the dark green poblano (pasilla) chiles at Pancho Villa’s store on El Cajon Blvd.  They have great produce at great prices (they’re part of the Boneys market group).   I started to roast them on the gas grill but that wasn’t enough flame to get the outside skin blistered up so I brought them back inside and just did it like my Nana did so many years ago.  I just patiently roasted them over the flame of my gas stove.  (The last time I made them, I roasted them on the top rack of the oven and I felt it overcooked the chile.)

When they were good and black, I dropped them into a clean, brown paper bag and folded down the top.  I let them sweat in the bag for about 15 minutes.  I then removed them from the bag and ran them under cool water and rinsed off the blackened skin (see photo above), split ONE side open very slightly and reached in and pulled out the seeds.  Try to get them all out as they are unpleasant to bite into if you don’t.  Pat the chiles dry and put a piece of Monterey Jack Cheese in the opening.  You can TRY to use a toothpick to secure but I heard of a better way to make these that I’ll mention in a minute.  After stuffing the chile, dip them into a plate with flour on it and coat well.  This will help the batter stick later.

After the chiles were dry and waiting to be stuffed with cheese,  I looked through my 20 or so books on Mexican cooking to get a recipe for the batter.  You would think that I could get a consensus on how to make the batter but noooo, they were all different!

Cookbook library

So I finally decided that I would be OK if I used enough egg  whites to cover my 7 chiles and settled on 5 eggs for 7 chiles.  I had batter left over, so  I guess 4 eggs would have been enough to coat them but it was easier to have a full bowl of batter.  To make the batter, you simply separate the egg yolks from the whites:

Separate Eggs

Beat the egg whites at a high speed with your electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  With a fork, beat the egg yolks you’d set aside until they are well mixed.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold them into the beaten, stiff egg whites.  Distribute the yolks as evenly as you can through the egg whites without breaking the egg whites  down.  Get a big skillet and heat the oil so it will be sizzling when you drop the chile rellenos into the oil.  If your oil isn’t hot enough, the egg batter will absorb too much of the oil.  Yuck!

Drop into hot oil

I used the deep, narrow bowl for beating the egg whites and it was perfect to dip the chiles in.  Using the stem of the chile,  dip it all the way up to the top of the chile.  If you can’t quite get it to stick to your floured, toothpick-secured chile, just lay it in the hot oil and spoon a little batter toward the top.  It will work just fine.

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Remove them with a slotted spatula or spoon to a paper towel lined plate.  Remove the toothpicks if you used them to secure the side.  (I read on one restaurant’s website that they spoon the batter into the hot oil and lay the stuffed chile on top of the batter, THEN spoon more batter over the top and then flip it.  I may try that next time.)

So, it is time to make the sauce.  I diced up 4 small tomatoes, 1/4 of an onion,1 clove of garlic minced,  1/4 of a Bell Pepper and half a jalapeno (to add a little kick).  Saute everything except the tomatoes in some oil until the onions are transparent.  Add the diced tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste after it has cooked down awhile.  It will thicken up after about 15 minutes.  I was too impatient to wait for the thickening part and just ate it in its early stages.  it was still good but would have been better if it had thickened and developed the flavors a lot more!

Here’s the final product:

Final product

They were so good that I ate two of them!  But still, I think some time will have to pass by before I get a hankering to do this again.  However, if I ever  move to Kentucky…well…that’s another story!

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