Mexican Tamales

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Authentic Mexican tamales recipe.

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Tamales, Mexican
Authentic Mexican tamale recipe
Course Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the roast in a large pan and cover it with water. Slice half a large onion and add it to the water, along with the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer til the meat is very tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
  2. Stem and seed the peppers. Place in bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit until soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain peppers and reserve the liquid. Put peppers in blender. Rough-chop the other half of the onion and add to blender. Add garlic cloves. Blend, adding salt to taste and part of the reserved liquid and/or meat stock by tablespoons in turns until the chili sauce is the consistency of thick tomato sauce. Set aside.
  4. Mix shortening or lard with masa harina and baking powder until light and airy. Add 2 cups of the reserved pepper liquid and/or meat stock. Knead until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add about 5 or so tablespoons of the chili pepper sauce to the masa mix in a food processor until the consistency is about like that of tomato paste and has a beautiful orangey-red color.
  6. Shred the cooked meat and put it in a skillet. Chop half the second onion and add to skillet, along with the chili sauce. Simmer about 10 or 15 minutes to marry the flavors and reduce to a thick consistency.
  7. Slice potatoes or carrots into 1/4-inch thick sticks. These will go inside the tamales.
  8. Soak dried corn husks in hot water in a flat pan held down with a plate or pot lid until they are soft and pliable.
  9. Assemble the tamales: spread a couple of tablespoons of the masa mix on a soaked corn husk. If the masa mixture is the right consistency, it will not stick to the corn husk. Another test is to drop a little ball of it into a cup of water. If it floats, it's the right consistency.
  10. Spoon on about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Place an olive and a potato or carrot stick on top.
  11. Fold the corn husk over the filling. It's good if there is masa on the edge because it helps the tamale stay folded. Fold the narrow end of the tamale over the rest of it to make a neat pocket. Continue assembling the tamales until the filling is used up.
  12. Put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a large pot and put a steamer rack over the water. Stand the tamales upright on the folded end on the rack. There should be enough tamales to fill the pot but not so many that they are packed tightly because they expand when they cook.
  13. Cover the pot with foil and the pot lid. You could also use the extra corn husks to cover them.
  14. Bring to a simmer and steam about 30 - 45 minutes. Masa should be the consistency of firm polenta and the potato/carrot sticks should be cooked and tender.
Recipe Notes

Cooking the meat, making the chili sauce, and even cooking the meat with the chili sauce can be done a day or so in advance.

Do not mix the dough until just before you fill the tamales.

If you want to get fancy, tie off the folded tamales with narrow strings pulled from the corn husks.

Leftover tamales are even better the next day, fried up in a skillet with some eggs for breakfast.

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Mexican Chilaquiles Recipe

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Chilaquiles has been called a simmered casserole. Made of tortilla chips simmered in salsa and topped with crema and cheese, this hearty Mexican breakfast dish is a favorite of many.

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Chilaquiles, Mexican Recipe
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine salsa and chicken broth in skillet.
  2. Submerge tortilla chips in mixture. Add chicken and epazote, if desired.
  3. Simmer over medium-low heat about 5 minutes until tortillas are soft but not mushy.
  4. Serve warm drizzled with Mexican crema and sprinkled with diced onions and crumbled queso fresco. Top with eggs cooked any style, or serve the cooked eggs on the side.
Recipe Notes

Caution: chilaquiles are easy to overcook, watch them closely while they simmer. It’s better to serve them slightly undercooked than overcooked.

You can substitute sour cream thinned with a little cream for the Mexican crema.

Instead of salsa verde, you can use red, tomato-based salsa.

Instead of queso fresco, use shredded Monterey Jack.

Additional toppings: sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, or pico de gallo.

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Tuscan Bread Soup Recipe

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Authentic Tuscan hearty winter bread soup recipe and instructions straight from Italy.

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Soup, Tuscan Bread Recipe
Instructions
  1. Peel two whole garlic cloves and cut a bunch of fresh basil leaves into small ribbons.
  2. In a soup pot, saute' the basil and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes to extract the flavor. Remove the garlic cloves.
  3. Add the tomato puree and water or stock and heat almost to a boil.
  4. Cut the stale bread into 1-inch cubes and add to the soup, stirring well. Most of the bread will melt into the sauce but some lumps will remain.
  5. Season to taste with a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Continue stirring until the soup is hot through. Serve hot with a sprig of fresh basil on top.
Recipe Notes

As variations, you can add sliced onions to the saute and crush or chop the garlic and leave it in the soup.

You can also use fresh or canned whole tomatoes if you want to puree them yourself.

Bread soup pairs well with a medium-bodied or light full-bodied red wine. However, the soup has a fairly high acid content because of the tomato puree, so a softer, not-overly-tannic wine like Merlot works best (Miles’ opinion notwithstanding).

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Tuscan Ribollita Soup Recipe

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Authentic Tuscan recipe for ribollita, a wonderful bread sou straight from Italy!

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Soup, Tuscan Ribollita Recipe
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion, kale or spinach, Savoy cabbage, chard, leek, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and celery.
  2. Saute' the onion in a little extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until tender.
  3. Add the rest of the chopped veggies to the pot and cook about 10 minutes more until softened.
  4. Mash half the beans in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add all the beans and their water to the soup pot and stir well.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer about 2 hours. Add water if necessary to keep the soup from getting too thick.
  7. Cube the stale bread and stir into soup. Add more water, if necessary.
  8. Simmer 10 more minutes. Soup should be hearty and very thick.
Recipe Notes

Ladle into bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty fresh bread on the side.

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