Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mexican Food Recipes

Spanish for the 5th of May, Cinco De Mayo is a popular holiday in parts of Mexico and the United States, as well as wherever Mexican cuisine (whether authentic, Tex-Mex, fusion, or Mexican inspired) is known and loved.

Chorizo Taco Salad

Measurements are approximate and easily changed. Serves 3-4.
2/3 pound Ground chorizo sausage (not in casing)
1/3 pound ground beef (depending on
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Minced garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 lime
1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced
Baby romaine or other salad greens
Sour cream
Handful of chopped cilantro Taco shells or tortilla chips (sidenote: I bought La Tiara taco shells for the first time a while ago, and they taste great. Very light and corny, but not the best for filling up too much because they are small and thin. For this meal though, they were perfect.)

Put ground meats into a small pot or deep pan and begin to brown, breaking up with a fork. Stir in tomato paste, garlic and oregano, and let simmer until meat is thoroughly cooked. A squeeze of lime wouldn’t hurt.

Put another large pan on the stove over high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil, then toss in pepper and onion slices. Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper. Cook until they start to soften, but still have some crunch to them.

Serve meat mixture and peppers and onions in taco shells or on a salad bed with tortilla chips. Add tomato and corn salsa, sour cream, and chopped cilantro. Squeeze a slice of lime over the entire thing.

Mexican Tortilla and Lime Soup

A rotisserie chicken makes this easy, or use any leftover cooked chicken. You can make the soup and crisp the tortillas ahead of time; store separately in covered containers. Recipe adapted from Latin & Carribbean Stores Demystified, by Linda Bladholm. Serves 4-6.

2 oat bran or whole wheat tortillas
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 canned chipotle chili in adobo, plus 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded (I used rotisserie chicken from the market)
2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium canned)
Juice of 2 limes, plus the rinds (4 halves of squeezed lime)
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Chopped garnishes: red onion, avocado, radishes, queso fresco (or crumbled feta cheese), cilantro (some or all, optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Slice tortillas into thin matchsticks, 2-3 inches long, and spread on a cookie sheet. Leave out on the countertop to get a bit stale, for 30-60 minutes, while you prepare the soup.

In a small food processor or with a mortar and pestle, puree the garlic and chipotle, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Sauté onion until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic-chili puree, and stir 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp adobo sauce, stock, lime juice, lime halves, oregano and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add shredded chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Remove lime rinds. Set soup aside, covered.

Bake the tortilla strips for 10 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and garnish with a few tortilla strips. Pass bowls of garnishes for each person to add, to taste.

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