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.

Chalupas

ChalupasServes 6
12 corn tortillas
Oil for frying
3 c. heated refried beans
¾ c. shredded lettuce
½ c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped tomato
1 c. shredded cheese (longhorn, cheddar or colby)

In large skillet, fry tortillas in oil until crisp, carefully making sure that they remain flat. Drain on paper towels. Layer on remaining ingredients and serve.

 

Chalupas Compuestas

Chalupas CompuestasServes 6-8
12 corn tortillas
Oil for frying
4 c. cooked cubed chicken, reheated
4-5 avocados, peeled and mashed
¾ c. shredded lettuce
½ c. chopped onion
1 c. shredded cheese (longhorn, cheddar or colby)

In large skillet, fry tortillas in oil until crisp, carefully making sure that they remain flat. Drain on paper towels. Layer on remaining ingredients and serve.

Arroz con Pollo

IMG_3869Serves 6
2½ lbs. chicken parts (preferably not breasts)
6 peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1½ t. whole comino
1/3 c. oil
2 c. rice
2 cloves garlic
1½ t. comino
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 c. chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (16 oz.) can peas, drained

Boil chicken, peppercorns, whole garlic and comino in water 30 minutes. Remove chicken from stock and strain the stock.Ground spices in molcajete

In large skillet, brown rice in oil. Grind garlic and comino in molcajete and add some of the stock to loosen.

Add tomato sauce, spices and remaining stock to rice; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add peas and chicken, cover and heat through. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Moctezuma Casserole

IMG_3769Moctezuma Casserole                                                                                   Serves 4-5
3 poblano peppers
1 (13oz.) can tomatillos
1 medium onion, chopped
2½ c. cooked diced chicken or pork
IMG_37678 oz. sour cream
Garlic powder and salt to taste
12 corn tortillas
Oil for frying
2 c. grated cheese (longhorn, cheddar or colby)

Sear each pepper over open flame until skin blisters on all sides. Place peppers in plastic bag and let sit 20 minutes. Peel peppers, discard stems and seeds, and cut into strips.

Combine peppers, tomatillos (mashing a bit), onion, meat, sour cream, garlic powder and salt and mix well.

Heat tortillas in oil to soften.

In greased 2-quart casserole alternate tortillas, thin layers of meat mixture and cheese, ending with cheese on top. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes in 350-degree oven.

Molé Verde

Mole verdeServes 8-10
3½ -4 lbs. chicken or turkey parts
1½ t. whole comino
2 cloves garlic
6 peppercorns
1 (13 oz.) can tomatillos
1 c. raw pumpkin seeds
3½ t. raw sesame seeds
2 serrano chiles, quartered
1 poblano chile, chopped
1½ medium bell peppers, chopped
2 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 slice toast or 1 flour tortilla
½ t. salt
2 peppercorns
1½ T. chili powder
¼ c. oil or lard
1¾ c. chicken or turkey broth
1 T. sugar
2 1/3 oz. Mexican chocolate (or bitter chocolate)

Combine chicken or turkey, whole comino, garlic and peppercorns in a large pan. Cover with water and boil 30-45 minutes (an hour for turkey). Remove meat from stock and bone if desired (turkey is best boned). Set meat and stock aside. (You may brown cooked meat in a little oil or lard, if desired.)

In blender, combine ingredients as listed from tomatillos to chili powder and blend well. This will probably have to be done in two batches. Pour blended mixture into large pot; add oil and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add in broth, chocolate (if using bitter chocolate, increase sugar amount) and sugar. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted, and sauce is quite thick. Add in chicken or turkey and cook over low heat until meat is heated through.

Once the chocolate is added, the molé loses its green color.

Jalapeño Chicken Casserole

Jalapeno chickenServes 8-10
2½ c. cooked chicken, diced
1½ c. chicken broth
1 (10¾ oz.) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 (10¾ oz.) can of cream of chicken soup
½ c. pickled jalapeños, chopped (with juice)
½ c. chopped pimiento
6 c. crumbled tortilla chips or corn chips (approx. two 9.75 oz. bags)
1 lb. grated cheese (longhorn, cheddar, colby or monterrey jack)

Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well. Grease 13×9 pan and line bottom with 2 cups chips. Top with half the chicken mixture and a third of the cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining chips and cheese.

Refrigerate at least an hour (casserole will keep overnight). Bake 45 minutes in 350-degree oven and serve immediately.

Chicken Empanadas

Chicken empanadas                                                                                                                    Makes approx. 20
Dough:
4. c flour
2 t. salt
1½ c. soft butter or margarine
8-10 T. warm water
1 egg yolk

Filling:
1 chicken, cut into parts
2 cloves garlic
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
½ c. oil
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ t. basil
2 bay leaves

Put flour and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in butter and add water a little at a time to make dough. Gather into a ball and chill 1 hour.

Boil chicken in water to cover, with garlic, 1 onion, 1 bell pepper and salt to taste for approximately 45 minutes. Drain, cool, bone and chop. In skillet, cook remaining onion and bell pepper in oil with salt and pepper until pepper is soft. Add chicken, tomato sauce, basil and bay leaves and simmer 15 minutes. Set aside to cool a bit and remove bay leaves.

Roll dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut into 4-inch circles (or, take small balls of dough and roll into circles). Fill, fold over and crimp edges closed. Brush tops with egg yolk. Bake in 400-degree oven on ungreased baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden.

Flautas

FlautasSo called because they are long and thin like flutes, Flautas differ from crispy tacos only in shape. They usually have less filling and are very tightly wrapped to about the size of a cigar.

Dip corn tortillas in hot oil to soften and fill with shredded cooked chicken, turkey or Carne Asada. Roll tightly and fry until crisp. Top with Salsa Verde and sour cream if desired.

Full disclosure:Flautas tied

The first few I fried refused to stay rolled up, so I improvised, tying them with a bit of corn husk.

Molé

MoleMolé is a meat-stretching dish which has a legend to go with it. The legend we grew up with is:

In colonial Mexico, a convent was told on very short notice that it would receive a visit from the bishop. Knowing that he would be hungry upon arrival, the nuns looked at their one chicken and meager supplies and tried to figure out how to feed everyone. Using what they had on hand, they came up with molé. The ingredients may be varied to suit individual taste.

Serves 10-12

5 dried ancho chiles*
5 dried pasilla chiles
5 dried mulato chiles
5 lb. chicken or turkey parts
1 ½ t. whole comino
2 cloves garlic
6 peppercorns
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes in puree
½ c. roasted, unsalted peanuts
½ c. blanched almonds
½ c. raw pumpkin seeds
5 cloves garlic
2 medium onions, chopped
1 ¾ c. water chiles were soaked in
½ t. cloves
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. cilantro seeds
2 sprigs fresh cilantro or parsley
2 slices toast or 2 flour tortillas
½ c. oil or lard
3 c. chicken or turkey broth
7 oz. Mexican chocolate (or bitter chocolate)
¼ – 1/3 c. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil water; put in large saucepan and add chiles. Cover and soak for an hour. Combine chicken or turkey, comino, garlic and peppercorns in a large pot. Cover with water and boil 30-45 minutes (an hour for turkey). Remove meat from stock, and if using turkey, remove from bones. Set meat and stock aside. (The cooked meat may be browned in a little oil or lard, if desired.)

Remove seeds and stems from chiles. In blender, combine chiles, tomatoes, nuts, garlic, onions, water, spices, cilantro and toast and blend well. This may have to be done in batches. Pour blended mixture into large pot; add oil and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add broth, chocolate (if using bitter chocolate, increase sugar amount), sugar, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted and sauce is quite thick. Add poultry and cook over low heat until poultry is heated through.

*Molé may also be made with all ancho chiles or all pasilla chiles, if desired.

A Note on Commercial Molé

If you like the taste of molé but not the trouble of making it, commercial molé is available in either powder or paste form. To mix these for use, either method below will provide good results:

1. Add chicken or turkey broth, sugar* and salt to taste, or
2. Add hot water and smooth peanut butter (and sugar if desired) until molé
is a nice thick consistency.

Add in cooked chicken, turkey or pork and heat through.

* Sugar helps take out the picante sting.

Tamales

IMG_2738                                                                                                        Makes 4 dozen
Preparing the shucks:
Purchase corn shucks which have been specially dried for use in tamales. In tepid water, carefully separate the shucks to prevent tearing and discard any silk. Soak shucks until soft, at least 1 hour. (If corn shucks are unavailable, 7-inch squares of aluminum foil may be substituted. Squares may be sprayed with a cooking spray to prevent sticking.)

While the shucks are soaking, prepare the masa:
6 c. masa harina (Quaker is a common brand)
2 c. shortening or lard (do not use oil)
4 t. chili powder
2 t. salt
2½ c. strained stock (chicken or pork)

Mix 5 cups masa and all other ingredients into dough, adding the last cup of masa, if necessary, 1/3 cup at a time until dough is moist but not sticky.

Drain shucks well. They may need to be toweled dry inside before using.

Spread masa thinly (1/8 inch or less) on inside of each corn shuck using the back of a spoon or your fingers to cover the bottom 2/3 of the shuck. Place a row of filling lengthwise in the middle of the masa on each shuck and roll up snugly. Fold top end of shuck down to lock roll.

Line bottom of large covered pot with extra shucks or broken pieces. Place molcajete upside down (without the mano) in the middle of the pot, and lean the tamales upright against it. Steam tamales, covered, over water with open ends up for 1-1½ hours. (Some tamale makers cover the pot with a towel to absorb excess moisture and then put the lid on.) Serve tamales warm, removing shucks before eating.

Reheating: Tamales may be reheated, still in the shucks, in the microwave, by steaming over water or by toasting on a comal until hot. They can also be frozen for later use.

Tamale Fillings

Chicken

IMG_2729                                           Fills 5 dozen tamales
5 lbs. chicken parts
4 quarts water
1¾ t. whole comino
4 cloves garlic
1 t. peppercorns, cracked in molcajete
1 chile ancho (or 1 T. chili powder)
2 T. water from chile ancho
Salt to taste

Combine chicken, water, comino, garlic and pepper in large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until tender, approximately 30 minutes. Remove chicken from stock and cool. Reserve stock for masa. Bone chicken and chop meat. Soak chile ancho in hot water in covered saucepan until soft, about 30 minutes. Discard seeds and stem and grind pulp and the chile water in molcajete (if using chili powder, eliminate the 2 T. water). Add chile ancho and salt to chicken and mix well.

Beef

IMG_2733                                             Fills 2 dozen tamales
1 t. whole comino
½ t. peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1 T. water
2 lbs. ground beef
2 ancho chiles (or 2 T. chili powder)
3 T. water from chile ancho
Salt to taste

Grind comino, garlic and peppercorns in molcajete; add water to loosen. Combine ground beef and spices in large skillet and brown over medium heat. Drain off 95% of the grease. Soak chile ancho in hot water in covered saucepan until soft, about 30 minutes. Discard seeds and stem and grind pulp and the chile water in molcajete (if using chili powder, eliminate the 2 T. water). Add chile ancho and salt to beef and cook until well done.

Beef II
Fills 2½ dozen tamales

Prepare filling as above, and add in to the cooked beef:
½ c. raisins, which have been soaked in hot water and drained
½ c. chopped nuts (pecans, almonds or peanuts)

Bean

Prepare one of the Frijole recipes, then mash beans into a thick paste. Use approximately 2 tablespoons of filling per tamale.

Jalapeño Bean

Slice jalapeños lengthwise into eighths and remove seeds. Add slices to taste to bean filled tamales before rolling.

Pork

                                                                                   Fills 3 dozen tamales
2 lbs. lean pork, cubed (hog’s head or Boston butt is traditionally used)
Salt to taste
½ t. peppercorns
½ t. dried red pepper flakes
2 t. whole comino
3 cloves garlic
1 c. stock
2 T. chili powder
2 t. oregano
½ t. cayenne pepper (optional)

Crack peppercorns in molcajete. In large pot, combine pork, salt, peppercorns, red pepper and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Remove meat from broth and shred or grind.

Grind comino and garlic in molcajete; add ¼ c. of the stock to loosen. Add to pork along with remaining ingredients and mix well.

Venison

Substitute for the pork in the above recipe:
1¼ lb. venison
¾ lb. port trimmings

Armadillo

Substitute armadillo for the pork in the pork filling recipe.

Gilbert’s Tamale Filling

6 quarts cooked shredded meat
3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 quart meat broth
1 pkg. French’s Chili-O seasoning mix
1 large onion, minced
¾-1 t. garlic powder
2 t. oregano
½ t. ground comino
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
½ t. paprika
2 (12 oz.) jars chili hot sauce

Simmer all ingredients until flavors are well blended. If mixture has too much broth, thicken it:
¾ c. oil
¾ c. flour
Heat oil and flour in skillet until brown and add to meat mixture, stirring well.

Sweet Tamales

Prepare masa as above, omitting salt. Add to masa:
½ c. sugar
1½ c. raisins
1½ c. chopped nuts, preferably pecans
Red or green food coloring (optional)

Mix well. Spoon approximately 2 T. masa onto each shuck, shaping it to resemble a cigar. Roll shuck around masa and fold bottom over. Cook as above.

Variation:
½ c. sugar
1 c. coconut
1 c. chopped dates
1 c. raisins
1 c. chopped nuts

Tamale Makers Bill Gillespie, Rob Laurich and Michelle Fox

Tamale Makers Bill Gillespie, Rob Laurich and Michelle Fox