Bocados de Barbacoa
For the marinade:
10 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
10 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
5 cups water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 medium Roma tomato, quartered
1/2 medium white onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 whole cloves, stems removed
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons safflower or vegetable oil
For the meat:
4 pounds beef round roast or brisket, cut into 4-inch chunks
1 pound banana leaves, or aluminum foil
12 ounces (1 bottle) light beer
24 small slider buns (brioche or challah buns are specially good with this!)
Drunken pasilla, prune and orange salsa (optional)
Pickled jalapeños (optional)
For the marinade: Heat a large skillet or comal over medium heat. Add the dried guajillo and ancho chiles and toast them for no more than 20 seconds per side, taking care not to burn them. Transfer the toasted chiles to a medium saucepan and add the water, place over medium heat and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the chiles have softened and rehydrated.
Transfer the chiles to a blender, and add 2 cups of their cooking liquid (discard the remaining liquid), the vinegar, tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, cloves and salt. Puree until smooth.
Wipe out the medium saucepan and add the oil. Place over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the pureed chile mixture, being careful to avoid any splatters. Partially cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the color darkens and the mixture thickens to a paste-like consistency.
For the meat: Place the beef in a large bowl and cover it with the marinade. If you will not cook it that day, cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Wrap the individual meat chunks in pieces of banana leaf or aluminum foil as you would wrap burritos or tamales - making sure to add a generous amount of marinade in each packet.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the meat packets inside a large, heavy ovenproof French oven or casserole, pour in the beer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Roast for about 3 hours, until the meat is succulent and comes apart when pulled with a fork. Transfer to the stovetop (off of the heat), and let everything rest for 10 to 15 minutes before opening the meat packets.
Serve on slider buns with drunken salsa and/or pickled jalapeños.
© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
4 teleras, bolillos, Portuguese buns, petite baguettes or large baguettes, cut into 5- to 6-inch pieces
2 cups refried beans, homemade or store-bought
2 cups shredded Oaxaca, mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or mild cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
Traditional tomato pico de gallo salsa, or other salsa of your choice
Optional extra toppings: crumbled and fried Mexican-style chorizo, crisp bacon, ham, turkey, sautéed mushrooms or avocado slices
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Spread each piece with 3 to 4 tablespoons of refried beans and top with 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated cheese. Arrange the molletes on a baking sheet as you make them. If you want to add more toppings like ham, turkey, bacon or chorizo, sprinkle them on top of the cheese.
When they are all assembled, bake until the cheese has melted and the bread has a nice toasted crust on the bottom and around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Eat while hot. Serve with pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa, on the side.
© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
HAM AND CHEESE TORTA SANDWICHES
Tortas de jamón y queso
2 Mexican bolillo or telera rolls, or small baguettes
1/2 cup refried beans
1/2 ripe Mexican avocado, scooped and sliced
4 slices Mexican queso fresco, Oaxaca or Mozzarella
4 to 6 slices turkey, ham or cooked chicken
1 tomato, sliced and seeded
A couple of thin slices of onion, optional
Pickled jalapeño peppers to taste, optional
Salt to taste, optional
2 tablespoons Mexican-style cream, optional
Slice the rolls in half lengthwise. If they’re not fresh, toast them slightly for a few minutes. On one side, spread a tablespoon of refried beans; on the other, mash 1/4 of an avocado with a fork.
Top the bottom half of the bread with a few slices of cheese, 2 or 3 slices of turkey or cold cuts of your choice, it may also be shredded chicken or meat, and a couple of slices of tomato.
Drizzle a tablespoon of Mexican-style cream and crown your package with as many pickled jalapeños as you wish. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top.
Place the top half of the roll on the sandwich and slice the torta horizontally. Eat it or wrap it up so that it can travel along with you.
PEPITO: STEAK & AVOCADO SANDWICH
Makes 4 to 6 generous tortas or sandwiches of about 4″ length
1 1/2 lbs flank steak
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
4 teleras, bolillos, petite baguettes, or baguettes sliced into 3 to 4 inches and cut in half
6 ounces Monterey jack cheese, muenster or mild cheddar
1 cup gucamole (see below)
1 cup refried beans (store bought or homemade)
Marinate the flank steak with the soy sauce, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary and black pepper. You may marinate it anywhere from 1/2 hour to overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and sprinkle with salt when you are ready to cook it.
Preheat the grill pan or grill at medium-high heat. Once it is hot, place the meat and let it cook anywhere from 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on how well done you want the meat. You can drizzle any extra marinade right over the top of the meat while it cooks. For medium, its closer to 4 minutes per side, for over medium, closer to 5 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the heat and place it on a cutting board. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, slightly covered. Thinly slice across the grain.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the baguettes, teleras or bolillos in half lengthwise and place in a baking sheet. Spread about 3 tablespoons of refried beans on the bottom half of each bread. Cover with about 3 to 4 tablespoons shredded cheese. Place in the oven and let the bread crisp and the cheese melt, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Top the pepitos with a generous amount of the thinly sliced meat and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the guacamole. Place the tops on top! Eat while hot.
Makes over a cup
2 ripe Mexican avocados, halved, pit removed, meat scooped out and mashed
3 scallions, about 2 tbsp, rinsed, tops removed, white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, optional
3 tbsp jalapeno or serrano chile, more or less to taste, minced (seeding is optional)
2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
Salt to taste
Gently mix ingredients in a bowl or molcajete and serve. It can be prepared up to 12 hours in advance if covered and stored in the refrigerator.
It takes three ingredients, plus any extra topping that you fancy, 8 minutes in the toaster or oven and you get one of the most comforting foods I have eaten since I can remember: Molletes.
One of the most popular Mexican anytime antojitos or cravings, that can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch, a hearty afternoon snack or dinner. It used to be a standard option for breakfast or dinner at my house growing up in Mexico City, just as quesadillas were. But I also used to crave Molletes from my school cafeteria.
So yes, even if I had some at home in the morning, I would have more for lunch at school…
Continue reading Molletes with Pico: No Way not to Fall in Love
Avocados are, to me, amongst the most sensuous, luscious and luxurious of ingredients. Add how delicious, soft and subtly flavored they are, and you get a clear winner for Valentine’s Day.Despite the many pounds of avocados we go through at home each week, regardless of the infinite number of cases I use for events at Washington, DC’s Mexican Cultural Institute, and notwithstanding that my sisters and I used them for hair and face treatments as we were growing up (all those nurturing natural oils and vitamins), I still find avocados to be wow-inducing.
If there’s an avocado dish on a restaurant menu, it lands on my table.
So if I am planning a menu, especially with a hint of romance, avocados will be there…
Continue reading Romancing The Avocado
Some people get motion sickness when they travel. Some people get hungry. I am among the latter.
The minute I step on whatever will transport me from one place to another, my mind swims through related food memories… and I just have to eat. So since I know I will have a craving for something other than a moist, soggy, chewy and never-ever crunchy baguette from the Amtrak train, and after being so spoiled with the food from El Chepe Train, I am packing my own Torta.
Torta (according to me…): A satisfying and delicious, self contained, easy to transport, edible package filled with tasty ingredients that just love to schmooze together.
Continue reading I am packing my own Torta…