22 June 2010

Cooking school day 3, fútbol & chipotles

Mexico was playing Uruguay today so technology had to be brought into the kitchen so I could listen to the game (Mexico lost but got through to the round of 16). Above before making our 7 dishes. Below, after making them.
On the menu today:
- Crema de chile poblano (cream of chile poblano soup).
- Frijoles negros
- Chipotles en conserva
- Tinga (shredded skirt steak)
- Pipian rojo with meat
- Sopes
- Guacamole (finally!!)

The cream of chile poblano soup is another relatively easy to make dish that comes out in a great colour. The trick we learned for this was not to roast the poblanos too much or else the flesh turns yellow and your soup doesn't get the great green colour. Just char the skin and make sure the flesh is still crispy. Clean all the black off the skin, again, to maintain the beautiful green colour. Charred skin will make it turn grey, which is not a nice colour for soup.
We made this conserve with chipotles that then went into the tinga recipe later. But it's basically a chipotle marmalade that keeps in the fridge for up to a year and is delicious on anything from sandwiches to tacos. One of the ingredients, which you can see in the middle of the pot (and which melts as you cook it) is piloncillo, raw Mexican sugar. Just let it cool and put in a bottle that's been boiled and you can keep for ages.
We added a few of the conserved chipotles to the skirt steak along with a bunch of chopped up tomatoes and such and it was the filling for the sopes that we had for lunch. To make sopes you use the same masa you would to make tortillas but they are smaller and thicker. Here you can buy pre-made masa just like we get pizza dough in the bag. Apparently it's the way to go but I'm not sure I will be able to find it back in old T.O. so may have to stick with the secondary option of using masa harina and not having them be quite as good. The sopes were topped with mashed black beans, the extremely delicious tinga, cheese, crema, lettuce, and a radish for good measure. Yum!

Guacamole was also finally created . . . made in the molcajete, it's quite a job but tastes fantastic. This version has serrano chile, tomatillos, 1 clove of garlic, cilantro, and salt. No lime, onion, or tomato. The tomatillo gives it a bit of crunch and also tartness. I could easily have eaten the whole bowl, which I'm sure will surprise no one.
Dinner was pipian rojo with meat and we used chilacayote, an ingredient that I had not used before, so there was rejoicing about that. It's basically a round zuke so can be interchanged.Now I don't think there are too many dishes that the Mexicans make that don't have some sort of sauce as a base and every sauce seems to emanate from the blender, which I dubbed the heart of the kitchen. So here's the kitchen workhorse with the fixin's for the pipian rojo, which uses both guajillo (so it's really red) and ancho chiles.
The sauce can be used with chicken, turkey, or pork as well as a vegetarian version using the chilacayote (which we added as well) or potatoes. Also very delicious. It was served with the black beans we made (of which I had only a few) and some crusty buns to soak up all the tasty sauce.
And sadly with all that . . . no dessert tonight :(

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