23 June 2010

Cooking school day 4, let's stuff some chiles

Again as I sit to write, there are all manner of fireworks going off outside for no apparent reason. There are fireworks every night and during the day when you can't see anything but only hear them. To join in with the fun, church bells have just started ringing. It is after 10 p.m. on a Wednesday. There is no explanation.

So . . . on the menu today was:
- Sopa de tortilla
- Pork in adobe (we made it with lamb)
- Salsa de jitomate basica (basic tomato sauce)
- chiles rellenos
- chiles en nogada

The tortilla soup was excellent and is not milk based, which I'm all for in a soup. We made it with oyster mushrooms and seranno (fresh) and guajillo (dried) chiles. The guajillos give it a very deep and satisfying red colour. It's served with strips of tortillas that are sun dried (basically very stale) and then fried quickly to make them crispy. I would bake them in the oven but what's important is crispy strips!! Soup was good and spicy.
The only thing I know about adobe sauce is that you can buy canned chipotles that come in it. Well today we learned how to make it and who knew it's got a base of caramel. That's right, caramel. In addition, of course, there's cumin, oregano, garlic, tomato, apple cider vinegar, stock, ancho chiles, onion etc. The sauce comes out quite thick, which I like, and is sweet and sour. Being made with the anchos, it's not very hot either. The sauce can be used with all different types of meat including shrimp and other fish, so is quite flexible. We had it with lamb and fresh blue corn tortillas from a local tortillaria. Fantastic.
The main action of the day was reserved for the stuffed poblano chiles of which we made two kinds: chiles rellenos (stuffed with cheese and in a tomato sauce) and chiles en nogado (chiles stuffed with beef, almonds, and fruit in a creamy nut sauce). The process involves roasting the chiles, making the stuffing, stuffing the cleaned chiles, coating them in flour, making a batter with very fluffy egg whites later mixed with the yolks and a bit more flour, then frying them, and making a sauce to go with them.

The chiles en nogado are a traditional dish of the Puebla area and the sauce is usually made with walnuts, which are seasonal here. And as it ain't the season for them right now, we made the sauce with pecans. It's a no cook sauce that is basically nuts, crema, and milk all wazzed up. The rellenos are served with a tangy basic tomato sauce. I like them all right but they are lots of work and they are fried. Might try them at home baked instead but not sure. They are, I was told, a special occasion food.
After dinner tonight, I asked for a hot chocolate, which I have been dreaming about for days. It was super fantastic. No pictures, just know, it was fantastic. The Mexicans know from chocolate. Starbucks does not. Until tomorrow.. . .


Lori said...

Those stuffed chiles sound divine!

Marisa (Loser for Life) said...

Oh my, that all sounds amazing!


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