Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cinco de Mayo goodness

I know, Cinco de Mayo was four days ago.  I KNOW, this is a late post, but we were busy ok?  We don’t really celebrate Cinco de Mayo in this house, and we didn’t really celebrate it growing up.  We sort of snickered at the dumb Gringos who thought that Cinco de Mayo was the independence of Mexico and then we tried to educate them. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. Mean weren't we?

I have been feeling my Mexican roots lately and this has been reflected in my cooking and my blog reading. A has been getting extra Spanish classes and both A and C are eating even yummier food than before. In fact, C has taken to asking if things “pica” before biting in to them. This would include his three morning bowls of Cheerios! Crazy kid. Then again, milk with chiles might not be a bad way to start the day.....

Anyway, we were invited to a Cinco de Mayo party and I was bound and determined to bring something traditionally Mexican that was easy to make and super yummy.  Most, but not all Mexican food is labor intensive. It assumes that you have a muchacha or two working for you and that you can slave in the kitchen all day while someone else watches your kids. I WISH I had that……. Back to the food. Afer tossing around various ideas, I made up a batch of Chilaquiles. I LOVE Chilaquiles. My first memory of this dish was on a Aero Mexico flight from Miami to Cancun when I was studying abroad in Merida, Mexico.  They were amazing, they were hot, had a spicy red sauce, were sprinkled with cheese, and were airplane food!! Can you  imagine? GOOD airplane food???

Since I had decided to make these, I needed to go out and get the essentials. I had fresh local, organic tomatoes and green onions from Sejah Farms, a white onion, a bay leaf(also local), Oregano, salt pepper, and dried chipotle and chile de arbol peppers. I bought two rotisserie chickens, some crappy corn tortillas(they fry better), and the cheeses. I was set to begin cooking, but first I needed a drink - of Horchata (recipe to come) that is.

Here is the recipe I used:

Chilaquiles rojas

500g day-old tortillas, cut into triangles
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
6 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
3 stalks of green onion
1 medium white onion
4 dried chipotle chiles soaked in boiling hot water to plump
2 dried chile de Arbol chiles also soaked in boiling hot water to plump
2 - 3 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 rotisserie chicken de meated
100g queso fresco plus 100 g Manchego cheese shredded
finely sliced onion rings, to serve
Frying the tortillas to make the chips.

1.        In a deep pan, heat the oil to around 180 degrees Celsius (or until an introduced tortilla strip fries rapidly). Add about a fifth of the cut tortillas and cook till crisp, repeat with the other 4 batches. Drain well.
2.        Place the tomatoes in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Drain the water out, then puree the tomato, onion, green onion, garlic, chipotle, chile de arbol, bay and oregano together.
3.        Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a wide saucepan, and carefully add the pureed mixture. Add some salt, then fry for 5-8 minutes or until the color of the sauce starts to darken.
Finished sauce.
4.        Add the tortilla chips, chicken, and Manchego (you will need quite a large pan to stir the sauce through thoroughly) and mix gently, trying not to break up the chips too much.
5.        Add to 350 degree preheated oven and bake until the sauce is warm and cheese has melted.

6.        Sprinkle with cilantro queso fresco, and onion slices, serve.

It was super picante and it was great! I totally want to make a batch for breakfast this weekend, but we have a swim meet planned so it may have to be a mid week dinner dish, with less pica for the kids.

photo from delatierra.com

Viva Mexico! Ole!!

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