Tuesday, February 9, 2016

leftover fideo soup

I really love fideo. Growing up I would remember helping my mom make a simple noodle soup in a tomato and chicken broth.  This usually involved toasting small pieces of pasta in oil until they went from a yellowish color to a golden brown color, then adding grated tomato, water and some chicken bouillon. The special treat for me was always when my mom would take some of the pasta out before adding the tomato for me to snack on.  It is a simple soup, but I have so many great memories of sitting around the table enjoying this with a meat or beans on the side. We still do it to this day and I see my nieces and nephews enjoying it every time they are visiting abuelita.

I occasionally get a craving, but typically make it more of a bigger meal.  For last night's dinner I did a fideo using leftover ingredients from the lamb birria I made a couple of nights ago. I also used hot dogs as my meat as well as some cheese on top, drawing inspiration from the budae jjigae I have eating lately.

I began by frying sliced hot dogs and garlic in a pan.  I left this on low for a good deal of the cooking time to try to get some fat out of the hot dogs.  I then added my pasta and began toasting it in the fat.  Typically for fideo you want to use a smaller pasta that has a shape, like stars, or broken up vermicelli.  The pasta will begin to get slightly more opaque then begin turning a brown color.  Stir frequently to avoid getting burned pasta.

Once I got the pasta to the color I liked, I added my leftover lamb birria broth. I also added a can of pickled jalapeño and carrots to the pot (again I was thinking kimchi in jjigae) as well as some spinach. 

Any broth any broth will definitely work in this soup.  If using tomato, add the tomato puree first and let it fry in with the pasta as well to get more flavor, then add the broth.   Boil the soup until the pasta softens, and it is ready to eat!

To finish the soup, I topped with shredded Chihuahua cheese, corn, and sliced scallions.  The soup was spicy and the vinegar from the pickled jalapeño really gave it a bite.  The corn and scallion added a nice sweetness and crunch with was a nice contrast to the wheel shaped pasta.  The cheese and hot dog added a very enjoyable saltiness to the soup, definitely an easy and delicious midweek meal.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lamb Birria Ramen

Over the weekend, I was very much craving the flavor of birria.  This is usually made with goat marinated in a chile sauce with ingredients such as anchos, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and thyme.  I wanted to get some of these same flavors, but in ramen form!  I decided to go with lamb as the base to make a broth, but first I put together my chile.

To begin making the sauce, I toasted chile ancho, guajillo and mulato over a comal.  You can see some of the color differences that come up between the different types of chiles. After toasting, I placed the chiles in a bowl and overed with boiled water for 20 minutes.

Next, I began to roast onion, ginger, and garlic on the comal.  Ginger was a new one to me and was something I didn't really use in Mexican cuisine until now.

After the chiles are done, I add everything to a blender along with bay leaves, Mexican oregano, cloves, canela, thyme, marjoram, and apple cider vinegar.  I think the vinegar is a big part of that birria flavor to me, I think it is because you typically want a type of vinegar in the traditional goat marinade to cut the gamey quality. In my case I used lamb and I wanted to get as much flavor out of it as possible.

I seared lamb shoulder in a little bit of olive oil then just let them sit at medium to render as much of the lamb fat out as possible which took several minutes.  I also tried to brown the meat on all sides.

Once there was a nice layer of fat, I cranked up the heat and tossed in my blended salsa.  I "fried" the salsa in the fat for a few minutes until the color darkened.  I stirred occasionally and avoided splatter where I could!  Once I got the color where I liked it, I added a can of beer, beef broth, water, and my lamb bones along with some beef neck bones. I let this boil for several hours before I started putting together the ramen.

I strained my broth and brought to a boil.  To this, I added instant ramen.  I really like how easy it is to use and it definitely has enough of that texture you want from ramen. After the ramen cooks a bit, I placed a layer in a bowl and cracked an egg on top.  Then carefully I ladled boiling broth over the egg to begin cooking it.  Once I had enough broth, I folded noodles over the egg to help further poach it.

To finish the ramen, I added diced onion and chopped cilantro, corn kernels, chopped beef jerky, a couple of pieces of the cooked lamb meat, and a squirt of lime.

The soup was great, the flavors of the spices and chiles went really well with the flavor of the lamb, and I could taste some of the ginger flavor coming out. The broth itself had a nice richness to it from the lamb fat and the thickness of the sauce.  The ingredients on top added a nice crunch and brighter flavors to balance it. It was a hit and I was definitely craving more the next day.

Monday, February 1, 2016

new salsa

The salsa I made yesterday was a hit!  I really love how it came out, it was great with chips and made the perfect vehicle for a guisado de Puerco.  What I did to make this is take the idea  just a regular salsa verde, but adding habaneros for more heat and mulatos for a more earthy complex flavor.   I will be taking pictures and making an update post, but wanted to make sure I jot this down.

1 chile jalapeño
1 chile serrano
1 chile habanero
1 chile guajillo
2 chile mulato
10-12 tomatillos
1 white onion
4 cloves garlic

1 handful cilantro
3 bay leaves
2 big pinches of Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

- Turn the oven up to 500 and place the jalapeño, serrano, habanero, tomatillos, onion and garlic into a baking dish.  You will want to cook this over several minutes in the oven, turning over to get some char on various sides of the vegetables.
- Split the guajillo and mulato in half and remove seeds, placing on top of the already roasting vegetables.  The idea is to get some color on these as well, but they do not take as long, After they get toasted and darken, remove the baking dish and place the dried chiles in a bowl with boiling water, they will steep for at least 15 minutes.
- Once the remaining vegetables have a decent amount of charred parts on many sides, add them to a blender with the remaining ingredients. Once the dried chiles have rehydrated, they can be added to the blender.  Blend everything together, using the steeping liquid to loosen if necessary.  Add additional salt and spices to your preferred taste.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

guisado de puerco

pork belly :). 
added cubed pork shoulder after rendering the belly fat.

poblanos, jalapeños, hungarian banana peppers charring over an open flame.

more chile action.

my pretty bowl of roasted chiles, I covered with a plastic bag to let them sweat.

using a knife, I scrap off the seeds on the inside and the charred skin on the outside.

getting some color on onion, tomatillos, garlic.  after, these were put in a blender with cumin, oregano, bay leaves.
chiles going in the molcajete. 
pretty chiles after getting smashed up.

i mixed the chiles and tomatillo mixture together and fried in the pork fat. this is halfway through stewing.

guisado de puerco con frijolitos and tortillas <3

Monday, January 25, 2016

random casserole

base layer of a cream sauce made from roasted poblanos, epazote, queso fresco, crema mexicana.

next layer is corn tortillas.

more roasted poblano/epazote cream.

an omelette I baked that had some queso fresco, marjoram, and black pepper.

leftover guisado de puerco and pinto beans go next.

one more layer of corn tortillas and the cream sauce.

Two Soups, One Broth

 broth ingredients: ginger, leeks, garlic, poblanos, roasted chicken bones.
simmered for several hours over the course of the day, then strained.


 chicken noodle soup with red peppers and onions.
topped with cilantro,lime juice, crispy chicken skin, boiled chicharrón.

beef noodle soup
thinly sliced brisket with boiling broth poured over, similar presentation.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Puerco Guisado en Leche con Frijoles, Rajas y Chochoyotes

In a previous post, I made pork shoulder braised in a milk steeped with toasted ancho and pasilla chiles.  I definitely ate a lot of this as is, but I wanted to incorporate such a delicious preparation into it's own dish.  This is the result: Ancho-Pasilla Milk Braised Pork with slow cooked beans, rajas, chochoyotes, and carrot escabeche:

The idea for this dish centered originally on the pork and the desire to make chochoyotes with some sort of rich sauce or soup.  Chochoyotes are basically masa dumplings that are used in soups or for sopping up various delicious moles and braising liquids.  For mine, I combined masa harina, cotija cheese, and water.  Usually a fat like lard is used, I think I would add some, but the cheese provided some richness.  I took smalls of the masa and while holding them in one hand, I pressed them with the thumb of the other to give them the shape.  After this was done, I boiled in some water for a couple of minutes until they started floating to the surface.  To finish this component, I cooked through in a pan with homemade beans in its own broth.

The next component I prepared were the rajas. Rajas are simply poblano peppers that are roasted and cut into strips.  I like to roast them over an open flame, turning when the side touching the flame begins to blacken and blister, like below.  After achieving this on as many surfaces as possible, I placed the poblanos in a plastic bag to steam for about 15 minutes, I then peeled them, sliced into strips and sautéed with some onion and garlic.

The final component involved something acidic and crisp to balance out some of the richness in this dish.  I made carrot escabeche which is a quick pickle that involves heating vinegar and pouring over sliced vegetables.  In a jar, I combined carrots I cut into sticks, garlic, and toasted pasilla that I broke up into pieces.  I added salt, pepper and bay leaf before pouring simmering white vinegar until covered.  I sealed the jar and placed in the refrigerator to cool.  This can be eaten when cooled, it doesn't ferment like regular pickles.  This is what it looked like after a day:

Now that I had all my parts together I began to put it all together.  I put the chochoyotes with beans on the plate first, making sure to spoon some of the bean broth over top, next the layer of rajas, and finally a few pieces of the ancho-pasilla milk braised pork from the day before.  I spooned some of the gravy from the pork over top as well. The milky gravy was delicious with all the other components and it all came together very nicely.  Finally, I placed some carrot escabeche on the side to crunch on in between bites, this worked well with the richer elements in the dish.  I was very pleased with how this dish came out and made notes on the preparation of the chochoyotes and rajas which I will share in following posts.