Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mexcian Fiesta

I love Mexican food. Travis loves Mexican food. I love cooking it, and I love eating it. Therefore I will post some of my favourite Mexican recipes - I don't know if you'd say I perfected them, but I use these recipes ALL THE TIME. One little tidbit I found in the couple years I've taught myself to make burritos and enchiladas from scratch is the defining spice in the recipes is not chilies, hot peppers, or anything hot and spicy - it's cumin. You can't make Mexican food taste right without cumin. Try it. It'll taste like yuck.

I should mention, making all these dishes takes all afternoon (and, for refried beans, soaking beans overnight), so if you decide you want to make Mexican food at 4pm, be prepared to eat at 8 or 9pm. Believe me - I've done this before. I even decided to make the corn tortillas from scratch (which are AWESOME). Take it from me - start early afternoon with the chopping and boiling, and assembly of enchiladas and cooking the rice comes at the end.

This is our meal tonight:

Lamb Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Refried Beans
Mexican Rice
Pico de Gallo
tortilla chips

Lamb Enchiladas
(recipe can be used with beef, pork, or lamb. We bought cubed lamb - didn't work like the recipe says, so follow the recipe instead - also the recipes are in metric. Good luck)
680 g beef chuck roast
30 mL water
180 mL beef broth
20 mL red wine vinegar
8 g chili powder
3 g ground cumin (I always add more - like 1-2 tsp)

1/2 large onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
4 g all-purpose flour
230 g sour cream
170 g shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided (or Cheddar, or "Tasty" cheese)
5 8" corn tortillas (or flour tortillas are fine if no corn tortillas can be found)

Place roast in large sauce pan with a tight fitting lid (or crock pot). Pour in water, cover, simmer on low for 30 minutes. Increase heat and brown roast on all sides, then when all the water boils away, pour in beef broth, vinegar, chili powder and cumin. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours or until the meat falls apart. Shred using 2 forks. Place beef back in the pan with the juices and let cool.

In a large skillet, saute the onion until just soft, not browned. Mix in flour and green chilies. Stir constantly for 2 minutes to cook the flour taste out. Stir in sour cream and 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese. Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the cheese is all melted and mixed. Set aside and let cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spread 4 tablespoons of sour cream mixture down the center of the tortilla. Top with about the same amount of beef. Roll up and place seam side down in one or two 8x11 inch baking dish. Repeat for each tortilla. Continue until you are out of the filling.

Top with Mole Sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Mole Sauce
2 tbsp oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp chili powder
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Heat oil in pan - saute onion. Add flour and chili powder - and keep stirring to prevent burning. On medium heat, add tomato paste, and slowly add water while stirring constantly. Add rest of the spices except cocoa powder. Stir continuously to prevent burning. Sift in cocoa powder to prevent lumps (I had to strain my sauce today to get out the cocoa lumps - a lot easier to do just the cocoa powder, believe me).

Also this is to be prepared while the beef/pork is cooking. :)

Refried Beans
(sorry for the lack of measurements - I never measure this stuff)
black or pinto beans
(chicken or vegetable stock optional)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil or butter

Soak beans overnight in lots of water. Discard water.
In pot, boil beans until soft - this'll take over an hour. (If you want, cook the beans in chicken or vegetable stock for more flavour. Not necessary)
Optional Step
You may reserve part of the water the beans were cooked in, or you can discard it as well. You'll just have to put more water back in them, so you might want to save the water. Put in food processor and puree.

Saute the onions in the butter or oil - add the beans. (If the beans have been pureed, skip this step.) Mash the beans with a potato masher, and continue cooking. Add salt for flavour. Keep beans from drying out - add water if necessary. Add cheese to add flavour, as well.

Serve hot.

(here's a good website where I kinda got my instructions.)

Mexican Rice

185 g long grain white rice (jasmine or basmati adds a lovely flavour. :))
15 mL oil (1 tbsp)
355 mL chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cube chicken bullion
salt and pepper
10 g ground cumin
25 g chopped cilantro (or parsley, if you don't like cilantro)
1 clove garlic.

In saucepan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and diced tomato. Season with bullion cube, salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Boil, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 20 minutes. YUMMY.

1 ripe avocado
lemon juice

Pit and peel avocado - slice or scoop into bowl. Mash with spoon. Add flavourings to taste, and mix together. Let sit 15-20 minutes for flavours to mix. Serve with tortillas. :) Again, we don't measure for Guacamole - it's a new flavour sensation every time!

Oh ya, this is a new enchilada recipe I'm trying tonight - haven't made it yet, so I'll have to rate this later. I'll add my other enchilada recipe (spinach and cottage cheese) another time.

Pico de Gallo
green peppers
green onion
lime juice

Chop all into 1cm x 1cm cubes (approx). Crush garlic. Mix together in bowl with lime juice.

Here's a recipe I found online for inspiration. Again, I don't use cilantro. To me it smells like stinky feet. I use parsley. If you like cilantro, go ahead. :)

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