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Mole Rojo para Enamorarse

Mole Rojo para Enamorarse

Every time I think of mole my memory goes first to my paternal grandmother and great inspiration, my Tita, as she was the ultimate mole queen and cook galore. My second thought goes to Laura Esquivel's novel 'Como Agua para Chocolate' or 'Like Water for Chocolate', the main character, also named Tita (crazy coincidence, maybe all Tita's make the best mole) says something about love which I think can be applied to cooking, especially the cooking of such an intricately delicate dish like mole, she says "El amor no se piensa, o se siente o no se siente" or "You don't have to think about love, either you feel it or you don't". When you endeavor on a dish like mole, the task sometimes seems so daunting with almost 30 ingredients on your list, that you feel it or you don't. Like Tita in Laura Esquivel's novel when she wasn't feeling it her food could basically poison her guests but when she was in the mood her guests could feel it from very deep within ;)

So I invite you to be brave and try one of Mexico's most beautiful dishes the Mole, and to send you off with extra courage and love I share with you the Mole Rojo, so make it with love, for a loved one, a husband, boyfriend, or soon to be, and you'll see how they'll be swooning after just one bite!

Ingredients

Serves 10-12 people

9 oz / 255g mulato chiles, stemmed and seeded
Pinch of aniseeds
Pinch of cumin seeds
2 black peppercorns
2 allspice berries
2 cloves
½ cinnamon stick
4 to 6 Tbsp / 50 to 75g lard
2 whole chickens, cut into serving-size pieces
¼ cup / 30g pine nuts
3 Tbsp / 30 g pumpkin seeds
Scant ¼ cup / 30g black raisins
3 Tbsp / 30 g almonds
¼ cup / 30g hazelnuts
3 Tbsp / 30 g peanuts
¼ cup / 30g pecans
3 Tbsp / 30 g sesame seeds
6 Ritz or other rich-tasting crackers
1 corn tortilla
2 slices fluffy white bread (dinner roll or ciabatta)
½ white onion, coarsely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 very ripe (black) plantain, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large garlic clove
5 oz / 140g semisweet chocolate
¼ cup / 60ml water
6 cups / 1.4L chicken stock

Directions

First, lightly toast the chiles by placing them on a hot, ungreased comal or in a skillet over medium heat, turning them constantly as they heat up and begin to release their fragrance. Before they turn brown, remove them from the heat and submerge them in a bowl of water to let them soak and soften while you prepare everything else.

Next, you are going to toast all of the spices on your hot, dry comal or in an ungreased skillet. You should do this in batches because they have different toasting times, beginning with the ones that will toast the fastest: the anise and cumin. As soon as you can smell these toasted seeds, take them off the comal or skillet and place them in a spice grinder. Now do the same with the peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon stick. After they’re toasted, add them to your spice grinder and grind the spices together. Dump the ground spices into a large bowl. You will be frying things in batches that you will be adding to this bowl. Eventually, all of this will go into the blender, but for now, you need a place to store the mole ingredients as you prepare them to be blended together.

Now sear the chicken that you are going to cook in the sauce. Melt 4 Tbsp / 50g of the lard in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat. When the lard has melted completely and is shimmering, place as many pieces of the chicken in the pot as you can fit without crowding. The goal here is to brown each piece, so be sure they’re not overlapping. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and flip them over so that both sides get seared. When they look golden, using tongs, transfer them to a platter and repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces, adding more lard to the pan as needed.

The chicken should be just seared and not be cooked though at this stage because it will continue cooking in the mole sauce.

Once you’re finished searing the chicken, keep whatever grease and drippings remain in the Dutch oven or skillet to fry other things. You want about ½ inch / 12mm of shimmering oil in the bottom of the pan, and you will have to add more lard as needed. You are going to be frying the nuts and seeds in batches because, depending on their sizes, they will cook at different rates. You are looking for each thing to turn golden but not dark brown.

Begin with the pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and raisins. Once you can smell the fragrance of these nuts and seeds and they look golden, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in the big bowl with the spices. Now fry the almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pecans until they are fragrant and golden and then add them to the big bowl. Fry the sesame seeds by themselves, being extra careful to monitor them the whole time and moving them around with a wooden spoon or spatula as they fry because they can burn quickly. Add the sesame seeds to the big bowl.

Remember to add more lard to the pan when you need it, since the nuts and seeds will likely have soaked it up. Once the added lard has melted and is shimmering, fry the Ritz crackers very briefly, because they burn fast, then the tortilla, and finally the bread, placing it all in the big bowl with all of the previously toasted and fried ingredients. Add more lard if needed and fry the onion, tomatoes, plantain, and garlic until everything is golden and a bit stewy, then add it all to the big bowl.

In a small saucepot, combine the chocolate with the water and heat until the chocolate melts. Turn off the heat while you blend your sauce ingredients. Due to the amount of volume here, you are going to need to blend your sauce in batches. Know that from this point on, everything is getting blended together and then simmered, so the order in which you blend things doesn’t much matter.

You want a ratio of about 1:1 of stock to solid ingredients. I would suggest blending a couple of cups of solids at a time (4 cups / 960ml total, including the stock). When the contents of the blender are liquefied, dump it into your largest stockpot and then repeat the process. Finally, blend the soaked chiles with the remaining stock and add this to your pot, along with the melted chocolate, and stir well to combine.

Bring the mole to a simmer over medium-low heat. Drop the chicken into the pot and cover. Let it simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, then serve. The mole can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe Courtesy of “My Mexico City Kitchen” Cookbook.
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Pollo Pibil Rápidito

Pollo Pibil Rápidito

Pibil is such a mouth watering word for us Mexicans, we immediately transport ourselves to the beautiful Yucatán Peninsula, where this dish originated, also one of Mexico's most important cuisines, known for its assertive, pungent flavors. Pibil traditionally involves centuries-old traditional methods of cooking which include digging underground pits known as pib in the Mayan language, and burying a full pig wrapped in layers and layers of banana leaves, spices and achiote paste goodness.

Unfortunately we don't all have the privilege of being in the beaches of the Yucatan enjoying a traditionally made pibil, but we do have most everything we need for this Pibil Rapidín recipe below, it can be made with any regular chicken as well as with turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Ingredients

Serves 4 to 5 people

8 oz ripe tomatoes

1/4 red onion

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1/3 tsp kosher or sea salt

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil

1/4 cup grapefruit juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup cane sugar vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons achiote paste

6 cups cooked shredded chicken, leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken

Picked Purple Onions with cane sugar vinegar (for serving)

Shredded Cabbage (for serving)

Warmed Komali Tortillas (for serving)

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Line small baking sheet or roasting pan with foil and place the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves on the foil, set the broiler, 3 to 4 inches from the heat, broil for 4-5 minutes, until charred on one side. Flip over and broil for another 4-5 minutes, until the skin is blistered and completely charred; the tomatoes should be very soft with the juices beginning to seep out. Remove from the heat.

  2. Once everything is cool to handle, quarter the tomatoes and place in a blender, with the juices in the pan. Peel the garlic cloves and add to blender, add the onion, salt and 1 cup of the broth, puree until smooth.

  3. In a casserole or soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Pour in the puree, stir occasionally for 7-8 min, until it thickens and darkens considerably.

  4. Meanwhile, combine grapefruit, orange and lime juice with vinegar, oregano, allspice, cumin, pepper to taste, achiote paste, and remaining 1 cup of broth in the blender and puree until smooth.

  5. Stir the juice mixture into the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer for 5 min

  6. Add the chicken, stir together and cook uncover until the meat has absorbed most of the sauce about 5 min, the dish should be very moist but not soupy.

  7. Serve the Pibil with a side of lime, pickled purple onions and cabbage, make into tacos, or serve with rice or for quesadillas with our homemade flour tortillas!

 

Recipe Courtesy of “Mexican Today” Cookbook.

*All products available for purchase are tagged in the recipe.

#PibilRapidito #LeftoverIdeas #Everythingbutthekitchensink #EasyRecipes #RecipeoftheWeek

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Tamales Dulces con ate de membrillo y queijo de azeitaõ

Tamales Dulces con ate de membrillo y queijo de azeitaõ

Because we know you can't get enough of our sweetness, here we have one of our favorite savory sweet tamales with quince paste and in ode to our host country of Portugal, we will use a very traditional sheep's cheese called queijo de azeitaõ.

Ingredients

Makes about 12 tamales

2 cups / 260g masa harina, mixed with 1 to 1¼ cups / 240 to 300ml water (as directed on this page)

5 Tbsp / 70g butter, softened

⅓ cup / 65g granulated sugar

6 oz / 170g queijo de azeitaõ cheese

6 oz / 170g ate de membrillo / quince paste

Greek yogurt for garnish

Directions

Begin by placing your corn husks to soak in a large bowl of warm water to soften while you prepare the ingredients.

Place the fresh masa or mixed masa harina in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or, if you prefer to do this by hand with a whisk, in a large bowl. You want to whip up your masa to get as much air into it as you can, making it fluffy. The more it’s worked, the lighter the tamales will taste. After beating it for 3 to 4 minutes, add the butter 1 Tbsp at a time and continue to whip it until it’s well incorporated. Then add the sugar and mix for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

Cut your azeitaõ cheese and ate de membrillo into 12 equal logs, approximately 2 x ½ inches / 5cm x 12mm. They should look like half of a string cheese stick. It’s not crucial that they be perfectly tidy and uniform as they will be tucked inside the tamales; you just want them to fit within the masa and for each tamal to have about the same amount of both cheese and quince paste.

Take your softened corn husks out of the water they’ve been soaking in, squeezing out any excess moisture. Open one up and place “about 3 Tbsp / 55g of the masa mixture in the center of the husk. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread it into a rectangle that’s about 3 x 2 inches / 7.5 x 5cm and about ½ inch / 12mm tall. It doesn’t need to be precise, just big enough to hold the fillings with enough corn husk on all sides so that you can wrap it up and no filling will ooze out. Place one log of cheese and one log of quince paste at the center of the masa and then bring the sides of the corn husk together, sealing the filling inside the masa. Now fold up the bottom of the corn husk so that the whole tamal is contained “inside the corn husk, then roll it up from the side.

The tamal should be “closed” on the bottom and open on top. Use a second corn husk to bind it further. There really isn’t a science to wrapping tamales. What’s important is that the insides stay as tight as possible and that no masa comes out during steaming. Repeat this process with the rest of the masa and filling. If you want, you can cut one of the corn husks into ribbons and use these ribbons to tie up the tamales for extra insurance.

Once you’ve finished, place a steamer basket in a stockpot and add 2 to 3 inches / 5 to 7.5cm of water. Place all of your tamal packages in the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and let the tamales steam for 20 to 25 minutes, monitoring about halfway through the process to make sure that there is still a good inch or two of water at the bottom of the pan and adding more water if necessary. After 20 minutes, take one out and open it up to test if it’s done. Cut into one with a knife to ensure that the masa has the consistency of firm polenta and doesn’t ooze at all; the halves should cut cleanly and stay intact. Serve with a spoonful of the yogurt.

As with savory tamales, these can be cooked, stored in the refrigerator, and then reheated simply by steaming them again, and they will taste just as good as when they were freshly made.

Recipe Courtesy of Gabriela Camara's “My Mexico City Kitchen" Cookbook.

#TamalesMexicanos #NavidadesMexicanas #ChristmasSpirit #AtedeMembrillo #MaketheMasa

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