Papa con Chorizo Casserole

Serves 6

Serves 6

8 oz. Mexican chorizo
½ bell pepper, chopped
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (30 oz.) package frozen hash browns, thawed
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes (I used ‘mild’ here, but whichever you prefer)
1 can cream of chicken soup
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 c. panko bread crumbs

Remove casing from chorizo and crumble into skillet. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic and sauté. Drain off excess grease.

Drain potatoes in colander. Wrap them in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much water as possible. Mix Ro-tel, soup and salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Remove potatoes from cheesecloth and add to bowl. Mix well. Stir in chorizo and cheese.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and top with panko crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Puffy Tacos

Filling: seasoned ground beef, salsa and monterrey jack cheese

Filling: seasoned ground beef, salsa and monterrey jack cheese

“Puffy Tacos”—those words strike fear in my heart, causing me to put off doing them for this blog for more than a year. I just ‘knew’ they wouldn’t puff for me! So what exactly is a puffy taco? A puffy taco is a corn tortilla that’s fried for 30-45 seconds until it puffs up and hold its shape. Sounds simple, right?

Well, when I read that Chef Bobby Flay couldn’t get his tacos to puff up, I figured we were doomed (we being me and Bill, the master fryer). But we were bored the other day, so…we pulled out the deep fryer and went to work. You need vegetable oil about 3 inches deep in your fryer. Depending on your fryer, heat the oil to between 300 and 400 degrees.

If you read about puffy tacos, you find that professional chefs like Diana Barrios-Treviño of San Antonio say it’s all about the masa, which should be fresh. Well, I can’t get fresh masa here in Queens, so I had to use maseca (the same stuff that Bobby used). I followed the package directions:

2 cups maseca
1 1/3 c. water
¼ t. salt

Mix together to form a soft dough, adding more water a tablespoon at a time if needed until the dough will roll into balls without being too sticky. Make 16 golf ball-sized parts, and keep them covered with a damp cloth until you put them into the tortilla press. I like to line the press with plastic wrap to make removing each tortilla easier (you can hand roll them if you don’t have a tortilla press). Press until flat and not too thin. As soon as you take each tortilla out of the press, put it into the oil.

Take a spatula or a pair of kitchen tongs and gently press down into the center of the tortilla so the sides fold up into a shell as it’s puffing. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain. They should be crisp on the outside but soft within. As you can see, ours didn’t form perfect folds, but they puffed! Fill like you would any other taco and enjoy.

Tacos de Salmon

tacos-de-salmon                                                                                                                                       Serves 4
2 T. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (14.75 oz.) can pink salmon, drained
1 T. ground comino
1 t. chili powder
1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro
Flour tortillas
Salsa
Avocado
Sour cream
Lettuce

Cook onion in oil in large skillet until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Drain salmon and remove any bones, but leave skin intact. Add salmon, comino and chili powder to the pan, mix thoroughly and cook 2-3 minutes. Add in tomatoes and heat through.

Serve in warm flour tortillas with salsa, sliced avocado, sour cream and shredded lettuce as desired.

Adapted from food.com.

Papa con Huevo Enchiladas

I wasn’t sure whether I wanted red or green salsa for these enchiladas, so I made both. the family sampled both kinds and decided they preferred the red ones. But since both are quite tasty, I’ve included both salsa options and photos.

Papa Enchiladas - Red                                                                                                                            Serves 6
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
Oil for frying and dipping
6 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
12 corn tortillas
4 oz. grated monterrey jack cheese
1½-2 c. Salsa Verde or Red Chile Salsa

Fry potatoes in oil until golden brown*; beat eggs and add in. Add salt and pepper and scramble well. Dip each tortilla in oil to soften and then in hot salsa. Place in baking dish, stuff with a heaping spoonful of egg mixture and a spoonful of cheese and roll. Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce and top with grated cheese. Heat 15 minutes in 350-degree oven to melt cheese. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

*If softer potatoes are preferred, microwave the cubed potatoes for 5 minutes before frying.

Salsa Verde

Papa Enchiladas - Green2 medium bell peppers, chunked
3 (13 oz.) cans tomatillos, drained (or 2½ lbs. fresh tomatillos)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ t. cilantro
1 t. salt

If using fresh tomatillos, stew in covered saucepan with 1 cup water until soft. Combine all ingredients in blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes.

Red Chile Salsa

5 T. powdered chile ancho (or chili powder)
3 c. water
2 t. salt
1 T. shortening
1½ t. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. flour

Combine chile powder and water and let sit for at least an hour.

In large saucepan, heat shortening and oil over low heat. Grind garlic in molcajete and add to saucepan. Add flour and brown lightly. Add in chile mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Tacos Poblanos

The recent hiatus in publishing was due to a heavy travel schedule and some family issues, but we’re back now and cooking again!

Today we share the last recipe in the original 1980s cookbook:

Tacos Poblanos

Tacos PoblanosServes 6-8
1 medium onion, chopped
2 poblano chiles, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 T. butter
1 c. tomato juice
1 c. cooked shredded chicken or turkey
1/8 t. thyme
½ t. salt
12-16 corn tortillas
Oil for frying
Salsa Verde
Sour cream (optional)

Sear each pepper over open flame until skin blisters on all sides. Place peppers in plastic bag and let sit 20 minutes. Peel peppers and remove seeds.

Saute chiles and onion in butter until onion is transparent. Add tomato juice, chicken, thyme and salt. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Divide filling evenly in center of tortillas. Roll tortillas and secure with toothpick. Deep fry until crisp.

Place tacos on platter, remove toothpicks and cover with salsa verde. Serve immediately with sour cream on the side.

Salsa Verde

2 medium bell peppers, chunked
3 (13 oz.) cans tomatillos, drained (or 2 1/2 lbs fresh tomatillos)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ t. cilantro
1 t. salt

If using fresh tomatillos, stew in covered saucepan with 1 cup water until soft. Combine all ingredients in blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes.

Chiles en Nogada

By Jessica Toledo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37857302

By Jessica Toledo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37857302

As I mentioned on our “About” page, the original cookbook never made it into print. At the time the marriage dissolved, one important recipe was still pending, as we were having trouble convincing the family to invest the time necessary for making this complicated dish and allowing us to do all the measuring.

Since it never happened, I’ll point you instead to a very authentic version on The Mija Chronicles blog.

Lengua de Res

Lengua1 beef tongue
2 cloves garlic
1 T. salt

Boil tongue, salt and garlic in water until tender, about 3 hours. When done, drain and let cool. Peel outer skin layer off and discard, and slice meat. This is another excellent taco option in flour tortillas with salsa.

Lengua Lampreada

Sliced cooked tongue
Flour
5 eggs
Oil for frying

Separate eggs and beat yolks with whisk until fluffy. Beat white with electric mixer until stiff and fold into yolks. Coat tongue with flour and then dip in egg batter. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Lengua en Salsa (top photo)

1 beef tongue
2 cloves garlic
1 T. salt
1 large bell pepper, sliced
2 T. chopped onion
1 T. olive oil
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 chopped jalapeño
1 c. liquid from cooked tongue

Boil tongue, salt and garlic in water until tender, about 3 hours. When done, drain (reserving 1 cup liquid) and let cool. Peel outer skin layer off and discard, and slice meat.
Lightly brown onion and bell pepper in oil in large skillet. Add remaining ingredients and the sliced tongue. Simmer covered until pepper is tender.

Filetes a la Tampiqueña

Filetes a la Tampiquena4 (8-10 oz.) flank steaks
2 T. olive oil
1 large tomato, chopped
2 large bell peppers, cut in thin strips
1 large onion, cut in rings
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. water

Tenderize (pound) steaks and fry in oil in skillet until done. Remove steaks from pan and keep warm. Add remaining ingredients to oil and simmer 15 minutes (I actually had to cook the sauce 25 minutes to reduce the liquid down enough). Pour sauce over steaks (may be served over Arroz or white rice, if desired) and serve.

 

Arroz con Carne

Arroz con CarneServes 8
2 T. chopped onion
2 T. chopped celery
2 T. minced parsley
2 cloves minced garlic
2 T. butter
2 lbs. cubed round steak
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
2 T. flour
2 c. beef stock
½ c. raisins
Arroz

Saute onion, celery, parsley and garlic in butter until golden brown. Add steak and brown. Stir in salt, pepper, flour*, beef stock and raisins. Simmer covered one hour. Stir into the cooked rice and serve.

*I prefer to take ½ c. of the stock and mix into the flour separately to make a roux before adding it to the pan.

Burritos

BurritosFlour tortillas
Refried beans
Picadillo**
Grated cheese (longhorn, cheddar or colby)
Oil for frying*
Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomato
Salsa

Make your own tortillas or use the large commercial ones especially for burritos. Fill heated tortillas with beans, picadillo and cheese. Fold ends in and roll to close. Fry in oil until crisp.* Drain on paper towels. Garnish with lettuce, tomato and salsa on the side.

*For a healthier option (and the one most common today), skip the frying and eat burritos after rolling, putting lettuce, tomato and salsa inside.

**I used Picadillo I, omitting the nuts and raisins.