Charro Beans – Frijoles Charros

Charro beans

 

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Charro beans with quesadillas and fresh avocado slices – my favorite of all comfort foods. These beans are full of flavor and by making a large pot, you can feed the entire family! Serve charro beans as the main course with tortillas or as a side of your favorite Mexican dish.

Ingredients:

4 cups, uncooked pinto beans

12-13 cups water

1 1/2 cups sliced wieners or Spanish chorizo (Spanish chorizo is similar to the sausage links used in Jambalaya and it is different than the ground chorizo used in Mexican cuisine)

1 1/2 cups bite-size chicharrones, or pork cracklings

1 1/2 cups thick cut, smoked bacon sliced into small pieces

3 small tomatoes, chopped

1 large white onion, sliced in half

3 garlic cloves

2-4 jalapeños sliced (adjust amount according to taste)

3/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

1/2 tbsp. sea salt

1/2 tbsp. ground, black pepper

1/2 tbsp. ground cumin

2 cubes chicken bouillon

– Clean beans by picking out any that look black or wrinkly and discard of any small rocks that are often found in the bags. Rinse under cold water.

– In a large pot, add the water, beans, salt, 1/2 of one onion, and two whole garlic cloves.

– Cover and cook beans on low heat for 2 1/2 hours or until beans are cooked but are still a bit firm.

– After approx. 2 1/2 hours, uncover and remove the onion and the two whole garlic cloves.

– Add the wieners or Spanish chorizo, bacon, pork cracklings, tomatoes, 1/2 chopped onion, chopped jalapeños, and one minced garlic clove.

– Also add 2 cubes of chicken bouillon, ground cumin, and peppers.

– Stir and cover. Cook for 1 more hour or until the pork cracklings are soft and the chorizo and bacon are cooked. If the beans are not soft, cook for a bit longer.

– Before serving, stir in fresh cilantro.

– Taste and adjust seasonings according to taste.

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Fried Jalapeño Salsa

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A great salsa is essential when serving a Mexican meal; I can’t eat without it! This fried jalapeño salsa is perfect for chicken or steak tacos. It’s spicy, creamy, and full of flavor. To top it off, it’s simple to make and you’ll only need a few ingredients.

Ingredients:

10 Jalapeños

2  garlic cloves

1 cube chicken bouillon such as Knorr, which can be found in the Latin section of your grocery store

1/4 cup cooking oil (do not use olive oil)

1/4 cup warm water

– Cut the stems off jalapeños, slice in half, remove seeds, and rinse.

– In a large pan, heat 1/4 cup cooking oil. Add jalapeños and fry on both sides until slightly browned but do not burn (10-15 minutes).

– Remove from heat. Place jalapeños along with the cooking oil in a blender. Add 1/4 cup water, garlic cloves, and bouillon. Blend until smooth.

– Taste and add more chicken bouillon if it is not salty enough for you.

Suggestions: If the salsa turns out to be too spicy for you, you can blend in an avocado. This will take down the heat but you may need to add a bit more water when blending it.

Also, this salsa tastes best fresh and at room temperature. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator but to get the best flavor, I suggest you make this right before setting the table.

See photos below.

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Green Chicken Pozole

green pozole

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If you’re a fan of green chicken enchiladas, then this recipe is for you! Green Chicken Pozole is also very popular around the holiday season and it’s perfect for those guests or family members who do not eat pork or beef, most common in red pozole and menudo. But you may want to double the recipe; everyone is going to want some!

Serves 4

4 cups white hominy

2 large chicken breasts

8 cups water

1 white onion sliced in half

4 garlic cloves

5 tomatillos

4 roasted and peeled chile poblanos

4-6 jalapeños (adjust according to taste)

3 tbsp, fresh oregano leaves

handful fresh cilantro

1 handful fresh spinach (this helps give the dish color)

1 handful roasted pumpkin seeds

2 cubes chicken bouillon (adjust later according to taste)

1/2 tbsp. ground cumin

pepper

cooking oil

Serve with:

Avocado slices, limes, shredded lettuce or cabbage, radishes, and tostadas. A green salsa can be made on the side for those who like it spicier.

– In a large pot, add 8 cups of water, chicken breasts,1 cube of chicken bouillon, 1/2 onion, and 2 garlic cloves. Cover and cook until chicken is tender. Once chicken has cooked, remove breasts and place on a separate plate. Allow to cool. Shred the chicken and set aside.

– In a blender, add tomatillos, poblanos, jalapeños, spinach, cilantro, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 onion, roasted pumpkin seeds, and oregano. Add approx. 1/2 cup of the water used to cook the chicken and blend until smooth.

– Meanwhile, place the hominy in the same broth where the chicken was cooked and cover. Cook under medium heat until you are ready to add the sauce.

– In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp. of cooking oil. Once oil is very hot, carefully pour the green sauce. Add 1 cube of chicken bouillon. Cook over medium high heat until thick and bubbly. You will know if the sauce is ready when it changes from bright green to army green.

– Once sauce is done, pour it into the pot with the hominy and chicken broth. Add the shredded chicken. Add ground cumin, and stir. Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes before tasting it. If it needs salt, add more chicken bouillon. If you want a “soupier” broth, add another cup of water. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until hominy is soft.

Enjoy!

Champurrado

Champurrado is a Mexican atole made with chocolate, spices, and masa de maíz, or corn flour. It’s a thick version of a hot chocolate but with a unique flavor that can only be attained by using Chocolate Abuelita, a brand of Mexican chocolate and piloncillo, a cone made from unrefined sugar. Champurrado is made during the holiday season and pairs well with sweet tamales like pineapple and pecan! Give this a try next time you feel like something warm and sweet. Chocolate Abuelita and piloncillo can be found in the Latin section of your grocery store or ordered online.

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Ingredients

5 1/2 cups water

6 cups whole milk

1 piloncillo cone

3 Chocolate Abuelita tablets

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup corn flour such as MASECA

1 cup cold water (to dissolve flour)

– In a large pot add 5 1/2 cups water, piloncillo, and cinnamon sticks. Stir until the cone dissolves.

– Add the 3 chocolate tablets and simmer until the tablets dissolve.

– On a separate mixing bowl, add 1 cup cold water and 1/2 cup corn flour. Mix until it creates a paste.

– Add this paste to the chocolate and piloncillo mixture. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 15-20 minutes stirring frequently.

– After 20 minutes, add the six cups of milk.

– Again, bring to a boil stirring frequently until it begins to thicken. Cook for 20 minutes or until the champurrado has a creamy and slightly thick consistency.

– Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving

– Serve warm.

Discada Tacos

Discada

Tacos de discada are very popular and are often made for large parties and family gatherings. The name derives from the pan used to prepare the meat, a disco, or disk, made specifically for cooking discada. At parties, the disk is set somewhere outside and guests can stand around and watch as the pork, beef, and chorizo sizzle to perfection. Though a disk can be purchased at many Latin American grocery stores, these tacos can also be prepared stovetop in any large pan.  It’s a great recipe to feed a large crowd so grab those cold beers and call it a party!

Discada tacos

 

Makes approx. 14-16 tacos

 Ingredients:

1 lb. pork, fat removed, cut into small cubes

1 lb. beef, such as stew meat, cut into small cubes

½ lb. ground chorizo

6 sliced hot dogs (wieners)

1 cup smoked bacon, cut into small pieces

2 green bell pepper, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

½ cup fresh, cilantro, roughly chopped

Corn tortillas

Salsa of your choice

Salt and pepper to taste

Caution: Wait until the meats are incorporated and cooked to taste it and then season it accordingly. The bacon and chorizo might be salty already; sometimes it calls for salt, others times, it doesn’t.

Note: The onions in the discada pictured below look huge. I chop them this way to make it easier for my husband to pick them out but you can chop them smaller.

 

– Heat disk or large pan. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes.

– Add bacon and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.

– With your spoon or spatula, move the chorizo and bacon to the edge of the pan and add the cubed pork to the center of the pan. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

– Move the cooked pork to the edge of the pan along with the bacon and chorizo.

– At the center of the pan, add the cubed beef. Cook for 5-8 minutes.

– Now mix everything together: the cubed pork and beef, chorizo, and bacon.

– Add wieners, tomato, bell pepper, and onion.

– Continue to cook on medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes or until all the meat is cooked and the onions and bell peppers are tender.

– Turn heat off and fold in cilantro.

– Taste and season with salt and pepper according to your taste

Serve with warm corn tortillas and your choice of salsa.

Provecho!

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Camote Sweet Potato

Camote enmielado is one of my all-time favorite Mexican desserts. It’s sweet potato cooked in a cane sugar syrup, served warm and topped with evaporated milk. You can find piloncillo  in the Latin section of your grocery store or order it online.

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes with skin, sliced in 1 inch pieces

1 piloncillo

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup water

1 can evaporated milk

– In a medium sauce pan, add 1/2 cup water, cinnamon stick, sliced sweet potatoes, and piloncillo.

– Cook covered over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until piloncillo has melted and the sweet potatoes are soft.

– Halfway through the cooking process, uncover, stir,  and break any pieces of sugar remaining.

– Once cooked, remove from heat and uncover. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

– Serve warm and top with as much evaporated milk as desired.

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Spicy Chicken and Vegetables

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Every time my mother asked what I wanted for dinner I would reply, “Pollo en salsa de tomate!” Chicken and vegetables in tomato sauce has been one of my favorite dishes since childhood. You can control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of jalapeños or not add any at all but in my opinion, the spicier the better!

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 cup thawed peas

1 1/2 cups cooked cauliflower

5 large tomatoes

1/2 white onion

3 garlic cloves

2-3 jalapeños, stems off (optional)

1 tbsp. tomato bouillon

1 tbsp. chicken bouillon

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground, black pepper

2-3 tbsp. cooking oil

White or brown rice to serve (optional)

– In a large pot, add tomatoes and jalapeños.  Cover with water and cook them until their skin begins to peel.

– Once tomatoes and jalapeños are cooked, remove them from the water and place them in a large blender along with the onion and garlic cloves. Blend and set aside.

– In a large, deep pan, add cooking oil and heat. Brown chicken thighs on both sides. After they brown, remove them from the pan. Set them aside on a plate.

– In the same pan, add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add tomato bouillon, cumin, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste.

– Place chicken thighs back into the pan with tomato sauce.

– Add peas and cooked cauliflower.

– Cook for 30-40 minutes, uncovered, on medium heat or until chicken is cooked and sauce has thickened.

– Serve over white or brown rice

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade red enchilada sauce is very easy to make, so unless there are no dehydrated chili pods available in your supermarket, there’s no need to buy it canned. You might find the chile pods in the Latin section of your grocery store prepackaged and labeled, mild, medium, or hot. It also freezes well so you can make a few cups at a time and store them in plastic containers or freezer bags. This sauce is used for many traditional Mexican dishes such as pozole, menudo, chile colorado, chilaquiles, and more! Once you make it you’ll never buy canned enchilada sauce again.

enchilada sauce

Ingredients:

8 oz. dried guajillo chile pods (approx. 22-26 chile pods)

1 small white onion sliced in half

4 garlic cloves

salt to taste

– Remove stems and under running water, rinse the seeds out of the chile pods

– Place chile pods in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.

– Once water boils, turn heat off. Cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

– After 20-30 minutes, place chile pods in a blender. Add onion and garlic cloves. Add 1 1/2 cups of the water used to cook them and blend.

– Using a colander, strain the sauce into a medium sauce pan. Discard any seeds left in the colander.

– Under medium heat, cook sauce for 10-15 minutes.

– Season with salt according to taste.

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Chilaquiles

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