Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mexican Picadillo Lasagna








     A Tasty Mexican Style Tortilla and Picadillo Lasagna!
     Italian Lasagna is popular north of the border entrée.  A classic Meat Lasagna is made with layers of sheet pasta, Sugo di Carne, Italian Three Cheese Mix and Salsa di Pomodoro.  After baking in the oven, the aroma of an Italian Meat Lasagna is nearly irresistible.  An Italian Lasagna is very heavy on the tummy, which also provides great comfort.
     The goal of making a Mexican style Lasagna should be the same as for Italian Lasagna.  The finished Mexican Lasagna should be aromatic and very filling, so it provides a high level of comfort.  This can be accomplished with ordinary Mexican cuisine ingredients.  For a standard Mexican Lasagna, corn tortillas take the place of pasta, American style ground beef taco meat takes the place of Sugo di Carne, Mexican melting cheese takes the place of Italian Three Cheese Mix and a spicy tomato sauce takes the place of Salsa di Pomodoro.
     There are hundreds of Standard Mexican Lasagna recipes on the internet, so I just had to do something different.  The goal of today's Mexican Lasagna recipe was to kick the flavor up a notch.  Instead of using American fast food style ground beef taco meat, Picadillo was a better choice.  Picadillo is made with ground beef, but Picadillo has a very complex semi sweet spicy flavor that will certainly raise the eyebrows of guests.  Refritos and Mexican Rice are also added to the layers in today's Mexican Picadillo Lasagna.  These items add a high nutritional value while increasing the flavor.  
     Topping the Mexican Picadillo Lasagna with just spicy tomato sauce and cheese would just be too ordinary.  Mexican Picadillo Lasagna deserves a special topping, so three sauces that represent the colors of the Mexican National Flag seemed like the best choice.  The Tomato Adobo Sauce (Red Sauce) is made with medium spicy hot dried red chile peppers and tomato.  Salsa Verde (Green Sauce) is made with tomatillos, green chiles and aromatic vegetables.   green chile sauce.  Tomatillos are not green tomatoes.  The white sauce is simply Mexican Crema, which is the same as French Crème Fraîche.  Mexican Picadillo Lasagna topped with these three colorful sauces not only looks good, it also tastes great!
     There is a trick to painting an entrée with multiple sauces.  The three sauces all must be made so they have the same consistency or they will bleed into each other.  Since the consistency of crema does not change, the red sauce and green sauce must be made just as thick as the crema.  

    *The Refritos and Picadillo take a few hours to make, so plan accordingly.

     Refritos:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     Canned Refritos are an option, but home made Refritos are best.
     • Refried Pinto Beans ~ Refritos!
    
     Picadillo:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Picadillo de Monterrey

     Crema:
     This recipe yields 1/2 cup.  (2 garnish portions.)
     Pre-made Crema is available in Mexican food markets and most grocery stores.  If none is available, then follow this recipe.  
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of sour cream in a mixing bowl.  
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cream.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place the Crema in a container.
     Chill the Crema till it is needed.  

     Salsa Verde:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     *Be sure to thoroughly puree the salsa verde.  After the sauce is pureed, gently simmer and reduce the sauce till it is the same consistency as the Crema.  The finished Salsa Verde can be chilled, then reheated when needed.
     • Salsa Verde

     Tomate Adobo Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 2/3 cup.   
     Step 1:  Place 2 seeded dried Chile Puya (Chile Pulla) in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 seeded dried Chile Guajillo.  
     Add 1 1/2 cups of water.  
     Simmer the chiles over low heat till they are soft.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of tomato puree.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of tomato paste.  
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.  
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Use an emersion blender, blender or food processor to thoroughly puree the sauce.
     Return the sauce to the sauce pot.  
     Step 4:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the Tomate Adobo sauce is the same consistency as the Crema.  (Medium sauce consistency.)   
     Step 5:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Reheat the sauce over very low heat just before serving.    

     Mexican Rice:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.
     There are many variations of Mexican Rice.  This recipe has corn added.
     Step 1:  Place a sauce pot over medium high heat.  
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of corn kernels.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced green bell pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of tomato puree.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Add 1/4 cup of long grain white rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil. 
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced cilantro. 
     Cover the pot with a lid.  
     Gently simmer and steam till the rice is tender.  (About 20 minutes.)
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Keep the Mexican Rice warm on a stove top. 

     Mexican Picadillo Lasagna:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty individual portion. 
     Step 1:  Select a round individual portion size casserole dish that is 7" to 8" in diameter.
     Step 2:  Place 3 tablespoons of the Tomate Adobo Sauce in a small mixing bowl.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Pour 2 tablespoons of the thinned sauce into the casserole dish.
     Spread the sauce evenly.
     Set the remaining thinned sauce aside.    
     Step 3:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla on the thin Tomate Adobo Sauce.  
     Place 1/2 cup of Picadillo on the tortilla.
     Evenly spread the Picadillo.  
     Step 4:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla on the Picadillo layer.  
     Place 1/2 cup of Mexican Rice on the second tortilla.
     Evenly spread the rice.  
     Step 5:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla on top of the rice layer.  
     Place 1/2 cup of warm Refritos on the third tortilla.
     Evenly spread the Refritos.  
     Step 6:  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chopped roasted poblano pepper over the refried beans.  
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of grated Queso Fresco over the refried beans.  
     Step 7:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla over the bean, poblano and cheese layer.  
     Spoon the remaining 2 tablespoons of Thinned Tomate Adobo Sauce over the fourth tortilla.  
     Step 8:  Place the casserole dish on a baking pan.
     Cover the casserole dish with a loose fitting lid.  
     Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Bake till the lasagna is warm.  (165ºF center temperature)  
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Remove the lid.  
     Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated Gueso Asadero over the lasagna.  
     Return the pan to the 300ºF oven.  
     Bake till the cheese melts and the lasagna is piping hot.  (Try not to brown the cheese!)
     Step 10:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Set the Mexican Picadillo Lasagna casserole dish on a doily lined serving plate.  
     Step 11:  *Light color sauces should be applied last!  The Crema Sauce should be applied to the center third of the lasagna, so the Mexican Flag colors are correct!
     Look at the top of the lasagna and visualize 3 evenly spaced stripes.
     Spread 3 or 4 tablespoons of the Tomate Adobo Sauce over 1/3 of the lasagna.  (Leave the other 2/3's of the surface bare.)    
     Spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of the Salsa Verde over the opposite 1/3 of the surface of the lasagna.  (Leave the center 1/3 bare.)  
     Spoon and spread 3 or 4 tablespoons of the Crema on the middle 1/3 of the lasagna surface, between the red and green sauces.  
     Step 12:  Garnish the rim of the casserole dish with thin sliced green onion and cilantro sprigs.  
     Place a black olive on the center of the Mexican Picadillo Lasagna.  

     Viola!  A tasty Mexican Picadillo Lasagna that looks great! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Southwestern Pork Loin Chops & Jack Cheese Eggs










     Southwestern Style Pork Chops & Eggs!
     Pork Chops & Eggs is a popular breakfast in the American south and at old fashioned big city diners east of the Mississippi.  Out west, Pork Chops & Eggs is usually only found on the menu at down home style diners and Soul Food restaurants.  
     While living in Las Vegas I had Pork Chops & Eggs at a local diner, but the meal was really nothing to write home about.  Everything on the plate was bland enough to be served at a hospital.  That dull dining experience inspired thoughts of how good a Southwestern style Pork Chops & Eggs breakfast would taste.  Southwestern Spice Grilled Pork Chops with Jack Cheese Eggs sure would have been a better representation of the local cuisine.  
     Most of my professional cooking has been done at restaurants in or near National Parks in the Southwest the last few years.  It seems like these remote locations are just about the only places where traditional Southwestern style food is still served in an old west atmosphere.  Tourists genuinely want to experience old fashioned Southwestern food in an old west atmosphere, just like many American visitors do.  There is something about a hearty plate of Southwestern style breakfast food that just makes a person want to go out and enjoy a day in the great outdoors.  
     
     Mild Southwestern Spice Mix:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 tablespoons.  (Enough for 4 small pork chops.)
     This Southwester Spice Mix is on the mild tasting and it is not spicy hot.  Those who prefer spicy hot food in the morning know what to do.  Grab a bottle of hot sauce!
     Step 1:  Place 1 teaspoon of cumin powder in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Mild New Mexico Chile Powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Ancho Chile. 
     Add 2 pinches of rubbed Mexican Oregano.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Step 2:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the Mild Southwestern Spice Mix in a container.
     Store until it is needed. 

     Southwestern Spice Pork Chops:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  (8 to 10 ounces)
     Breakfast pork chops are usually cooked on a griddle or in a skillet.
     Pork Loin Chops for breakfast can have the bone attached or they can be served boneless.  If the bone is attached, add another couple of ounces to the weight.   
     Step 1:  Select 2 pork loin chops that weigh 4 to 5 ounces apiece. 
     Dust the chops with a few pinches of the Mild Southwester Spice Mix.
     Rub the spice mix onto the pork chop meat.
     Set the seasoned chops aside for 10 minutes, so the spice flavors penetrate the meat. 
     Step 2:  Heat a cast iron griddle over medium heat.
     Spread 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the griddle.
     Place the spiced pork chops on the griddle.
     Grill the pork chops on both sides, till they are fully cooked and brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Place the pork chops on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Keep the Southwestern Spice Pork Chops warm on a stove top.
     
     Southwestern Pork Loin Chops & Jack Cheese Eggs:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 whisked large eggs.
     Scramble and cook the eggs, till they are only halfway cooked and still runny.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of small chopped Monterey Jack Cheese.
     Scramble till the eggs are fully cooked and the cheese starts to melt.
     *Jack Cheese easily melts.  The carryover heat from the eggs will finish melting the cheese.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the Jack Cheese Eggs on the back half of a plate.
     Place 1 portion of a breakfast potato of your choice on the back half of the plate.
     *Grilled Potato Sticks are the potato in the photos.
     Overlap the Southwestern Pork Chops on the front half of the plate.
     Garnish the plate with a cilantro sprig or curly leaf parsley sprig.

     Viola!  An easy to make hearty Southwestern style Pork Chop & Cheese Eggs breakfast that tastes great!  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Californian Omelette






     Classic California Health Cuisine!
     California style omelets were popular in the late 1970's and early 1980's.  Back in those days the word "Californian" was used to describe food items that featured a combination of avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomato and cheese.  Californian style sandwiches, omelets and burgers sold well during that era, because consumers associated the toppings with California health cuisine.  In fact, this style of food actually was the first health cuisine marketing trend in America.    
     Today's Californian Omelette recipe is an item that I have cooked in many restaurants during my career.  Even in recent years, this item is still a good selling special du jour item because this omelette tastes great and it appeals to health conscious guests!     

     Tomato Salsa:  
     This recipe yields about 2/3 cup.  (2 garnish portions)
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of small chopped tomato in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced jalapeño pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced cilantro.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 3:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the salsa in a container.
     Chill for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.
 
     Beurre Noisette Dill Potatoes:
     This recipe yields 2 portions. 
     This is a nice tasting breakfast potato!  
     Step 1:  Select a 10 ounce unpeeled russet potato.
     Cut the potato in half lengthwise.
     Cut the potato halves into 1/4" thick slices.
     Step 2:  Boil 1 quart of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add the sliced potato.
     Blanch the potato slices for 3 or 4 minutes, so the potatoes are still very firm and less than halfway cooked.
     Drain the water off of the blanched potato slices.
     Step 3:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Cook the butter till it becomes a golden brown color and till the butter gives off a hazelnut aroma.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
     Add the reserved blanched potato slices.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the potatoes are fully cooked and golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh dill weed.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Keep the home fries warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Californian Omelette: 
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Be sure to prepare all of the vegetable ingredients ahead of time!
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add about 1/6 cup of thin slice Bermuda Onion strips.
     Add 1 bias sliced green onion.
     Gently sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     *2 eggs yields a petite omelette.  For a full size omelette, use 3 large eggs.
     Whisk the eggs till they are almost foamy.
     Step 3:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Pour the eggs into the hot pan.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Sauté till the eggs on the bottom half of the omelette are cooked firm.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the reserved sautéed onions on the uncooked top side of the omelette.
     Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated Monterey Jack Cheese on the omelette.
     Place the omelette pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the eggs are fully cooked and the cheese melts.  (About 3 minutes.)
     Step 5:  Remove the omelette pan from the oven.
     Place thin avocado slices on one half of the omelette.  (About 1/2 of a large avocado.)
     Place about 1/3 cup of Alfalfa Sprouts on top of the avocado slices.
     Step 6:  Fold the bare side of the omelette over the avocado and sprouts half.
     Slide the omelette onto a plate.
     Spoon 1/3 of the Tomato Salsa on the omelette.
     Place a 1 ounce dollop of sour cream on top of the omelette.
     Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sliced black olives over the sour cream.
     Place a portion of Beurre Noisette Dill Potatoes on the back half of plate.

     A classic healthy Californian Omelette!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chipotle Puerco Tacos con Guacamole







     Tacos & T-Shirts!
     Summer is taco season!  When at the beach or playing in the great outdoors, nothing satisfies a hunger filled craving for flavor more than tacos.  Tacos were originally created by the Aztecs as a food item that can be eaten with one hand while on the go.  This design has withstood the test of time and in this modern age, tacos are still the number one summertime food staple in most people's book.
     Since the Aztecs were a gourmet society, it is easy to imagine that local herbs, spices and chile peppers were added to whatever was placed on the tortilla wrapper.  Spicing up a meat filling for tacos has also withstood the hands of time and the basic spice mixture really has not changed that much since ancient times.  The addition of cumin during the Spanish occupation of Mexico was the most dominant change made, but not all taco meat fillings rely on this foreign spice for flavor.      
     Chipotle were created by the Pueblo culture in ancient times.  Chipotle are ripe red jalapeño peppers that are smoked over smoldering jalapeño bushes, then sun dried.   Chipotle Peppers have a deep smoky flavor that goes well with a variety of meats.
     Pork that is simmered with chipotle till the meat easily shreds is one of the most popular taco fillings.  Western taquerias usually only place a savory meat on the tortillas with no garnish or extra toppings.  Guacamole and cheese both cost extra, but cheese is not actually a popular addition in authentic taquerias.  Taquerias offer a self serve condiment table with sauces, escabeche and vegetable accompaniments, so a few small tacos on a plate can be turned into a healthy complete meal.  
 
     Guacamole:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.  (2 to 3 garnish portions)   
     Step 1:  Place the pulp of 1 peeled seeded ripe avocado in a mixing bowl.  (About 1/2 cup.)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Mexican style hot sauce.
     Step 2:  Add 1 chopped green onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of small chopped tomato.
     Add 1 clove of chopped garlic.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped seeded green jalapeño pepper.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro.
     Add 1 pinch of Mexican Oregano.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Mix and mash the ingredients together till the guacamole is a paste consistency.
     Place the guacamole in a container and chill for 30 minutes so the flavors meld.
          
     Chipotle Puerco:
     This recipe yields enough for 3 or 4 tacos.  (About 1 1/4 cups)
     Step 1:  Select 8 ounces of fairly lean pork shoulder meat.
     Cut the pork into thick strips.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lard.
     Add the pork strips.
     Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the pork strips are lightly browned on all sides.
     Step 3:  Drain off any excess grease.
     Return the pot to medium heat.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced canned Chipotle en Adobo.
     Briefly sauté for 1 minute, so the mixture becomes aromatic.
     Step 5:  Add enough water to cover the pork.  (About 3 cups.)
     Add 10 to 12 whole cilantro leaves.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer till the meat becomes tender enough to easily shred.  (About 1 hour.)  
     *Add water as necessary to barely keep the pork covered.
     Step 7:  After the pork is very tender, simmer and reduce till the excess liquid evaporates and the pork is coated with chipotle mixture.
     Step 8:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Use 2 forks to coarsely shred the pork meat in the pot.
     Step 9:  Keep the Shredded Chipotle Puerco Taco Meat warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Chipotle Puerco Tacos con Guacamole:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.  (2 tacos)
     Step 1:  Warm 2 small corn tortillas (or 2 small flour tortillas) on a dry griddle over medium/medium low heat, till the tortillas become soft and flexible.
     Step 2:  Place the warm tortillas side by side on the front half of a large plate.
     Place 2 1/2 to 3 ounce portion of the Chipotle Puerco across the center of each tortilla.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
     Step 3:  Garnish the back half of the plate with:
     - shredded lettuce
     - chopped tomato
     Place a 2 to 3 dollop of the guacamole on the back half of the plate.
     Garnish the guacamole with thin lime slices.

     Chipotle Puerco Tacos are fun summertime finger food! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Monterey Jack Chicken Filets with Pomegranate Beurre Blanc







     Old School Modern Southwestern Cuisine!
     Today's recipe is a throwback to the late 1980's when nearly every trendy restaurant from coast to coast offered some kind of a creative Southwestern style special du jour.  Modern Southwestern cuisine was at a peak in popularity and many chefs seized the opportunity to offer a few Southwestern style food items to attract customers that were interested in this style of food.  
     The problem was that in areas of the country where mild tasting food was the standard, it was difficult to market food items that were made with spicy chile peppers.  As a result, mild tasting food items were simply topped with Jack Cheese and a sauce that featured items that were associated with the Southwest.  Back in those days, pomegranate was associated with modern western style health cuisine more often than Mediterranean cuisine, so this fruit was often featured in Southwestern cuisine food creations.           
     Today's Monterey Jack Chicken Filets with Pomegranate Beurre Blanc is a mild tasting modern Southwestern style entrée that I made as a lunch special du jour while working as a sous chef in a French café.  The clientele base at that café was primarily wealthy senior citizens, so spicy chile pepper food items would not have been a good choice.  Fruit and cheese is a classic French flavor combination that appeals to consumers that prefer mild flavors and the combination of chicken breast filets topped with Jack Cheese and Pomegranate Beurre Blanc was easy for customers to recognize.  Needless to say, this entrée sold well during the spring and summer season as an occasional lunch special du jour in that restaurant situation.     
     Garnishing the Pomegranate Beurre Blanc with pomegranate fruit adds to the visual appeal of today's entrée.  Applying a generous portion of sauce was a stylish way to present certain food items back in the 1980's.  Sauces like Hollandaise were a symbol of decadence back in those days and customers more often wanted to experience the sauce more than the featured item, so smothering food items with sauce was en vogue.  Smothering Monterey Jack Chicken Filets with Pomegranate Beurre Blanc will please guests that live to experience a tasty sauce!         
     
     Pomegranate Beurre Blanc:
     This recipe yields about 2/3 cup.  (2 portions)
     This is a true Beurre Blanc recipe, with no cream added to the wine reduction.  A real Beurre Blanc is most often made to order or it is made in small batches that are kept warm for a short time.    
     The secret to emulsifying a Beurre Blanc is to have a warm white wine reduction in a warm sauce pot, then briskly whisk cold butter pats into the mixture.  Cold is added to warm, while whisking, to achieve an emulsion.  Too cold of a temperature or too hot of a temperature will result in a broken emulsion.    
     Step 1:  Cut 3 ounces of Unsalted Plugra Butter (or unsalted butter) into thin butter pats.
     Chill the butter pats till they are needed.
     Step 2:  Place a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 tablespoon of pomegranate vinegar.
     Add 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice.
     Add 1 chopped shallot.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.  
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin syrup consistency.  (The volume should be about 2 tablespoons.)  
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat or place the pot on a warm stove top. 
     Add 2 pats of the reserved chilled butter at a time, while constantly whisking.
     *When the first couple of butter pats start to melt and emulsify with the reduced wine syrup, then add the next two butter pats while constantly whisking.  Repeat till all of the butter pats are incorporated and a thin creamy looking butter emulsion sauce forms.   
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Add 1/3 cup of pomegranate fruit while stirring.  
     Pour the Pomegranate Beurre Blanc into a ceramic cup.
     Keep the cup warm on a stove top and stir occasionally till the sauce is served.
 
     Monterey Jack Chicken Filets: 
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Select 1 large boneless chicken breast filet that weighs 6 to 8 ounces.
     Butterfly cut and split the chicken breast into 2 thin filets.  
     Step 2:  Lightly season the petite chicken breast filets with sea salt and white pepper.
     Dredge the chicken filets in flour.  
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the prepared chicken filets.
     Sauté the chicken filets on both sides till golden highlights appear and the chicken is more than halfway cooked. 
     Step 4:  Drain off any excess butter.
     Return the pan and chicken filets to medium heat.
     Step 5:  Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 3/4 cup of light chicken broth.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the excess liquid evaporates and the chicken is fully cooked.  Flip the chicken filets occasionally.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.   
     Place a few thin slices of Monterey Jack Cheese on top of the chicken filets.  (About 1 1/2 to 2 ounces.)
     Place the pan in a 350ºF.
     Roast for about 1 minute, till the cheese melts.  (Do not brown the cheese!)
     Keep the pan warm on a stove top.  
 
     Monterey Jack Chicken Filets with Pomegranate Beurre Blanc:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Use a spatula to place the chicken filets on the front half of a plate.
     Step 2:  Use a ring mold to place 1 portion of plain Sticky Rice (or a rice of your choice) on the back half of the plate.  
     Place a vegetable of your choice on the plate.
     *The vegetable in the photos is a sautéed yellow squash, zucchini, okra and bell pepper medley flavored with tarragon.
     Step 3:  Spoon a generous portion of the Pomegranate Beurre Blanc over the chicken filets and onto the plate.  (About 1/3 cup.)  
 
     Viola!  A mild tasting French café style Southwestern chicken entrée!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Southwestern Chicken Stromboli








     Southwestern Pizzeria Cuisine!
     I made today's Southwestern Chicken Stromboli photo example while working at a resort in Death Valley.  The Stromboli was actually an employee meal that was prepared during a busy day, when the crew did not have time to walk to the employee dining hall that was about a mile down the road.  I was running a Southwestern style barbecue buffet for guests at that time and there was always some leftover roast chicken that was not served the previous buffet.  I figured that making something exciting like a Chicken Stromboli would be good for keeping the spirits up.  As it turned out, the Southwestern Chicken Stromboli turned out to be one of the most cost effective and best tasting employee meals of the summer season!
     Roasting a Southwestern spiced chicken ahead of time, then letting it cool is necessary for today's recipe.  A Stromboli has no sauce inside and very little cheese is added to the filling.  The filling of a a Stromboli should be about 90% meat or meat and vegetables.  The sauce is always served on the side. 

     Pizza Dough:   
     This recipe yields enough dough for about 1 large Stromboli and 1 small pizza.  
     • This recipe is written for a mixer with a dough hook.
     • Standard Pizza Dough is the same as French Baguette Dough.  High gluten flour is best for this recipe, but regular bread flour or all purpose flour can be used. 
     • Some chefs prefer Focaccia Dough for making pizza.  To make a Focaccia Dough, add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil during Step #2 in this recipe.    
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water (112ºF) in a mixer bowl.  
     Add 2 tablespoons of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast.
     Place the mixer bowl in a lukewarm place like on top of a warm oven.
     Allow the yeast to bloom.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 4 cups of flour.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Step 3:  Place the bowl on a mixer and attach a dough hook.
     Set the mixer to low speed and let the ingredients combine.  
     Mix till the dough starts to gather on the dough hook and the dough pulls away from the mixer bowl.  
     *If the dough is still too wet, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time, till the dough gathers on the hook. 
     Step 4:  Turn off the mixer.
     Cover the dough in the mixer bowl with a dry towel. 
     When the dough rises more than double, turn the mixer on low speed for a few seconds to beat the dough down.
     Step 5:  Remove the dough hook. 
     Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise again.
     When it rises the second time, beat the dough down by hand.
     Step 6:  Place the dough on a flour dusted counter top.
     Roll the dough into a large ball shape. 
     Step 7:  Cut the dough ball in half to make 2 medium size pizza portions.
     Roll and tuck each dough portion with your hands to make smooth dough balls.
     Step 8:  Place each dough ball in a sealed container.
     Chill the dough for at least 2 hours in a 41ºF refrigerator.   
     *The dough ball portions can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for later use.

     Chile Honey Basting Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 2 cups.  (Enough for 2 to 3 whole chickens.)
     Any extra basting sauce can be refrigerated for 7 days.  The Southwestern Chile Honey Basting Sauce can be used for grilled or roasted poultry, fish pork or beef.  The excess will definitely not go to waste!
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of honey in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
     Add 3/4 cup of blended olive oil.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of minced Bermuda Onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro.
     Step 3:  Add 1 teaspoon of Ancho Chile Powder.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Guajillo Chile Powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Chile Puya Powder.   
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Mild New Mexico Chile Powder. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of coarse ground black pepper.
     Add about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.  (to taste)
     Step 4:  Stir the ingredients together.
     Place the basting sauce in a container.
     Set the sauce aside or chill it for later use.  

     Chile Honey Roasted Chicken:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 large Stromboli.
     Step 1:  Select 1 whole chicken that weighs about 3 1/2 pounds.
     Cut the chicken into 5 sections.  (The back, legs and breasts.)
     *Save the chicken back for making stock or broth for another recipe!
     Remove the skin and fat from the chicken leg and breast sections.
     Step 2:  Lightly brush a roasting pan with vegetable oil.
     Place the chicken sections in the pan.
     Use a basting mop to brush all sides of the chicken with the Chile Honey Basting Sauce.
     Step 3:  Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Slow roast till the chicken is fully cooked and baste occasionally. 
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature.
     Pull the chicken meat off of the bones.
     Tear and shred the chicken meat into bite size pieces.
     Place the Chile Honey Roasted Chicken pieces in a container and chill till needed.

     Southwestern Chicken Stromboli Filling:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 large Stromboli.  (About 7 cups.)
     Step 1:  Roast 1 ear of corn in a 350ºF oven till the kernels become tender.
     Allow the corn to cool to room temperature.
     Shuck the corn.
     Cut the corn kernels off of the cob.
     Step 2:  Place 1/2 cup of the roasted corn kernels in a mixing bowl.  
     Add the reserved Chile Honey Roast Chicken.  (About 3 1/2 cups.)
     Set the mixing bowl aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of coarse chopped onion.
     Add 1 cup of coarse chopped mixed red and green bell pepper.
     Add 1/3 cup of sliced green jalapeño pepper.
     Briefly sauté till the vegetables are al dente.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature.
     Add the vegetables to the Chile Honey Roasted Chicken and corn in the mixing bowl.
     Step 5:  Add 1/3 cup of chopped Roasted Poblano Pepper.  (Canned Roasted Poblano Pepper is okay for this recipe, but fresh is better!)
     Add 1/3 cup of coarse chopped cilantro.
     Add 2 cups of grated Jack Cheese
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Chill the Southwestern Chicken mixture till it is needed.

     Southwestern Chicken Stromboli:  
     This recipe yields 1 large Stromboli.  (About 18" or 4 portions.)
     Step 1:  Cut an extra large portion of pizza dough that weighs about 20 ounces.
     Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured countertop.
     Roll the dough into a large flat 28"x 15" oval shape that is about 3/8" thick.
     Step 2:  Mound the Southwestern Chicken Stromboli Filling evenly across the length of the oval shaped pizza dough sheet.  (Be sure to leave a 4" wide bare edge of pizza dough around the mound of stuffing.
     Step 3:  Drape the pizza dough ends over the chicken stuffing.
     Overlap the sides of the dough over the mound of stuffing to form a large cylinder shaped Stromboli. 
     Pinch the seams of the dough shut to seal the stuffing inside.
     Step 4:  Lightly brush a large sheet pan with blended olive oil.
     Roll the finished Stromboli onto the sheet pan.  
     Invert the Stromboli, so the seam side faces down.
     Brush the Stromboli with blended olive oil.
     Step 5:  Place the pan in a 450ºF oven.
     Bake till the Stromboli is a golden brown color. 
     Step 6:  Remove the Southwestern Chicken Stromboli from the oven. 
     Let it cool for 3 or 4 minutes. 
     Slide the Southwestern Chicken Stromboli onto a serving platter.
     Garnish the platter with pickled pepperoncini.
     Serve with your favorite Western Barbecue Sauce on the side.  

     This is a big hearty Southwestern Chicken Stromboli! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mayan Chocolate Milkshake








     Mayan Chocolate Milkshake
     Fortunately not all of the ancient written texts of the Maya and Aztec cultures were destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors and dubious priests, when the land of Mexico was overrun.  Both the Maya and Aztec cultures were gourmet food societies and many old original recipes survived.  Mayan Chocolate Drink is one of the most famous ancient recipes and this beverage has become popular once again in modern times.  
     The original Mayan Chocolate Drink was made with roasted cocoa beans, vanilla beans, hot chile pepper, cannella (native cinnamon), achiote (anatto) and corn meal.  Honey might have been used to sweeten this beverage, but it is well known that the original Mayan Chocolate Drink was bitter tasting.  Mayan Chocolate is a classic complex flavor combination that is quite appealing.  Many modern Southwestern cuisine chefs use this Mayan flavor creation to make interesting desserts.  A famous ice cream manufacturer makes a toned down version of the Mayan Chocolate flavor too.
     I have published recipes for Mayan Chocolate Mousse and Mayan Chocolate Crème Anglaise in the past.  The Mayan Chocolate Crème Anglaise can be used to make Mayan Chocolate Ice Cream.  Since I wrote the Mayan Chocolate Crème Anglaise  recipe long before I got a frozen dessert making machine, more than likely I will have to make a batch of ice cream for a recipe sometime in the future.
     Today's gourmet milkshake recipe does not require making ice cream from scratch.  A nice quality rich chocolate ice cream product from a grocery store is a good medium for making a Mayan Chocolate Milkshake.  Since the chocolate flavor is already present, the rest of the Mayan Chocolate Drink ingredients can be added, with the exception of the Nixtamal Corn Flour.
     Garnishing a gourmet milkshake is part of the modern street food game.  Convenient pre-made garnishing items, like bottled syrup make fancying up a milkshake easy to do.  Using Pie Dough scraps to make Cinnamon Crisps is what many home cooks do and fancy Cinnamon Crisps are a nice milkshake garnish.  A Meringue topping adds a nice touch too.    

     Cannella Crisp Garnish:
     This recipe describes 1 garnish portion.
     Either Pâte Sucrée (sweet shortcrust dough) or Pâte Brisée (French pie crust dough) can be used to make the garnish.  For the sake of convenience, store bought pie dough sheets can also be used.  Better still, cinnamon crisps are usually made with pie dough scraps!  
     Step 1:  Roll a small sheet of pie dough that is 3/16" thick and measures 3"x 7".
     Cut 3 long thin triangle shapes with a ruffle edge pastry wheel.
     Step 2:  Place the 3 pie dough triangles on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.
     Brush the triangles with melted unsalted butter.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of cannella on the the pastry.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of raw sugar on the pastry.
     Step 3:  Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the Cinnamon Crisps are crispy golden brown.
     Set the cannella crisps aside.
   
     Strawberry Syrup Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.  
     Store bought pre-made strawberry syrup was used to garnish the glass.  Today's recipe is meant to be easy and convenient!
     Store bought strawberry syrup sometimes has too thin of a consistency for painting a frozen glass.  If the consistency of the strawberry syrup is thin, then follow these steps:
     Step 1:  Heat about 1/2 cup of strawberry syrup over medium low heat.  
     When the syrup starts to gently boil, add enough cornstarch and water slurry to thicken the syrup to a heavy syrup consistency.
     Step 2:  Place the syrup in a plastic squirt bottle.
     Let the thickened syrup cool below 80ºF before painting the ice cold glass, so the glass does not shatter. 
     
     Strawberry Syrup Painted Milkshake Glass:
     This recipe yields 1 syrup painted milkshake glass.
     Step 1:  Select a tall 20 to 24 ounce capacity soda glass or lager beer glass.  
     Chill the glass in a freezer till it becomes ice cold.
     Step 2:  Use the squeeze bottle to stream streaks of strawberry syrup inside the glass, while turning the glass.
     Step 3:  Immediately return the glass to the freezer, so the strawberry syrup freezes in place.
     Freeze the glass till the milkshake is made.

     French Meringue Garnish:
     This recipe makes enough for 2 to 3 baked soft meringue garnishes.
     Step 1:  Place 2 large egg whites in a mixer bowl.
     Add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
     Whisk the eggs till soft peaks start to form.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar.
     Add 2 drops of pure vanilla extract.
     Whisk till medium stiff peaks appear.
     Place the French Meringue in a star tip pastry bag.
     Step 3:  Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.
     Very lightly brush the paper with melted unsalted butter.
     Pipe a round meringue shape that has a high peak on the center (like a mushroom cap).
     *The round meringue garnish must be a little bit smaller than the mouth of the milk shake glass.
     Step 4:  Bake the meringue medallion in a 375ºF oven till golden brown highlights appear.
     Set the meringue medallion aside and make the milkshake before the meringue deflates!

     Mayan Chocolate Milkshake:
     This recipe yields 1 large gourmet milkshake.  (With some extra on the side!)
     Making a little bit of extra milkshake is a tradition!  Fancy milkshakes have to be assembled quickly, so be ready to work fast.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of rich Double Chocolate Ice Cream in a milkshake blender.
     Add 2/3 cup of chilled milk.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of mild New Mexico Chile Powder.
     Add 1 pinch of Ground Chile Arbol (or Cayenne Pepper).
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1 teaspoon of cannella.  (Or 1/4 teaspoon of regular cinnamon.) 
     Step 3:  Blend at a medium speed till the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
     Step 4:  Pour the Mayan Chocolate Milkshake in the prepared frozen strawberry syrup painted tall glass.
     *Only fill the glass to 3/4" from the top, because the aerated milkshake will expand to fill the glass!
     Step 5:  Use a cake spatula to free the Soft French Meringue Garnish from the parchment paper and float it on top of the milk shake.
     Insert the three Cannella Crisp Garnishes into the milkshake, so they rest against the rime of the glass and stand vertically.
     Step 6:  Serve any extra Mayan Chocolate Milkshake in the blender cup on the side.
 
     Viola!  A refreshing gourmet Mayan Chocolate Milkshake for summer!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Chile Morita Pollo Tamales con Refritos Mayocoba












     Tamales!
     Tamales have been made for at least 10,000 years by ancient civilizations of Mexico and Central America.  Cooking food wrapped with leaves is one of mankind's oldest cooking methods.  Banana leaves are traditional tamale wrappers in Oaxaca and the Yucatan region.  Corn husks are also used to wrap tamales in those regions.  Corn husk tamales are the most popular kind of tamale in most other regions of Mexico and the Southwest.  
     Tamales were not originally just a cooking style.  Tamales were one of the first portable foods for people who were on the move.  Placing a few corn husk wrapped packages of food in a satchel bag guaranteed that there would be something to eat while crossing vast distances in the desert.   
     Nixtamal Corn Flour is corn that is treated with ash that usually comes from burnt cocoa plants.  Hominy is corn that is treated with slaked lime.  After boiling the corn in a lime or ash broth, the high PH allows all the nutrients in corn to become easily available for digestion.  Regular corn meal will not produce a good tamale filling and it will offer half the nutritional value.  
     Nixtamal Corn Flour is marketed as Masa Harina and it is available in either white or yellow corn color.  Many Mexican cooks and chefs prefer White Masa Harina, while others prefer yellow.  There are heirloom corn varieties, like Hopi Blue Corn, but Heirloom Masa Harina can be difficult to find, unless you shop at the stores located in the Native American Nation Territories of the Southwest.  
     Masa Harina Dough is one of the simplest doughs that there is and it is very easy to make.  Warm water is the only required ingredient for a basic Masa Harina Dough.  This simple dough is considered by many to be one of the perfect ancient foods of the world.  
     For Tamales, animal fat is usually added to the Masa Harina Dough.  Grease from wild game was what Mesoamerican cooks used.  Pork lard is what modern Mexican cooks prefer, but many like to add chicken grease or roast pork lard drippings.  Vegetable oil can take the place of lard and it should be used when making vegetarian tamales.  Only a small amount of lard or oil is needed to give masa harina dough a smooth durable texture.
     Chicken can be roasted and chopped for a tamale stuffing or the chicken can be simmered in sauce till it easily shreds.  I chose the chunky roasted chicken style for today's tamale recipe.  The selection of chile peppers for the stuffing traditionally is regional, but the choice of peppers can be a personal choice.  Cascabel Chiles are one of the traditional choices for Yucatan Tamales.  Chipotle or Chile Morita are often the top choice of cooks in Northern Mexico.  Mild chiles like Chile Poblano, Chile California or mild New Mexico Chiles are usually preferred by Southwestern cuisine chefs.  
     Dried corn husk tamale wrappers are available at just about any food market.  The best deal can be found at Mexican food markets, because high volume sales of tamale corn husks translates to lower prices.  Fresh corn husks can also be dried and used for making tamales.  Dried corn husks should be soaked in water for a few minutes, so they can be easily bent.  The corn husks can be folded over the stuffing and the tamale can be left as is, or the tamales can be tied like a package with a corn husk ribbon.  A key to making good tamales is to not put too much stuffing in the corn husk.  Always measure an amount of filling that is proportionate to the size of the tamale wrapper.  Tamale corn husks do vary in size.
     Tamales can be roasted in embers, pit roasted, baked on stone slabs, steamed or boiled.  Steaming is the method that most modern cooks use.  Several tamales can be piled in a large steamer basket and cooked at one time.  The steaming time can vary, but tamales are fully cooked when they become piping hot and the center temperature is 165ºF.

     Myocoba Beans:
     This recipe yields about 4 1/2 cups.
     Step 1:  Soak 1 1/2 cups of Dried Mayocoba Beans in a container of water overnight in a refrigerator.
     Drain off the soaking water and rinse the Mayocoba Beans under cold running water.
     Step 2:  Place the Mayocoba Beans in a large sauce pot.
     Add 1 cup of chicken broth or light pork broth.
     Add enough water to cover the beans with 2" of extra liquid.
     Step 3:  Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or pork lard.
     Add 1 chopped garlic clove.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Add 1 minced green onion.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced epazote.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground Chile Ancho.
     Add 1 pinch of ground Chile Arbol.
     Step 4:  Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
     Boil for 17 minutes.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer till the beans become tender.  
     *Allow the excess liquid to evaporate.  Only add water if the level of liquid is lower than the beans.
     Keep the finished Mayocoba Beans warm over low heat or chill them for later use.

     Refritos Mayocoba:
     This recipe yields about 2 1/2 cups.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of cooked Mayocoba Beans and a proportion of the bean simmering juice in a sauce pot. 
     Add 1 cup of water. 
     Add 2 tablespoons of lard or vegetable oil.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Gently simmer till the beans are very tender.
     Step 2:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Mash and puree the beans till they are a smooth consistency.
     *The beans can be pureed with an emersion blender, food processor or they can be mashed by hand with a potato masher.  
     Step 3:  Return the mashed bean puree to the sauce pot.
     Place the pot over very low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the refried beans are thick enough to be gathered with a spoon.
     *Stir often!  Taste the refritos and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
     Keep the Refritos Mayocoba warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Masa Harina Dough For Tamales:
     This recipe yields enough dough for about 10 Tamales, depending on the size of the corn husks.
     Yellow or White Masa Harina can be used  The dough should be made ahead of time, so it becomes pliable.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of Masa Harina in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of black pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of melted lard or vegetable oil.
     Add a little bit of warm water at a time, while mixing with the fingers, till a soft semi sticky pliable dough forms.
     *The amount of liquid needed is always a judgement call.
     Step 2:  Cover the bowl with a dry towel.
     Let the masa harina dough stand for 30 minutes, the Nixtamal Corn Flour has a chance to absorb the moisture.
     *After 30 minutes, the dough should be soft and not too sticky.  The dough should be able to be gathered into a ball shape.  When the ball is pressed, a minimal amount of cracks should appear.  Add a few drops of water at a time while kneading, if the dough becomes dry.
     Step 3:  Knead the dough till it becomes very smooth.
     Add a few drops of water as necessary, if the surface of the dough shows signs of cracking.
     Place the Masa Harina Dough in a sealed container and set it aside or chill it for later use.

     Chile Morita Pollo Tamale Filling:
     This recipe yields enough for 6 or 7 Tamales, depending on the size of the corn husks.
     Only a small amount of meat and chile pepper is needed to flavor each Tamale.  The bulk of the Tamale filling is always Masa Harina Dough.
     Chile Morita is a dried smoked special red jalapeño from the Chihuahua region of Mexico.  Chile Morita is more robust tasting than Chipotle and it is in the medium spicy heat range.  
     Step 1:  Season an 8 ounce chicken breast section with sea salt and black pepper.
     Rub the chicken section with 1 pinch of each of these spices:
     - ground anatto
     - cumin
     - coriander
     - Spanish Paprika
     Step 2:  Place the seasoned chicken breast on a roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Roast till the chicken breast section is fully cooked.
     Step 3:  Allow the chicken to cool.
     Remove the meat from the bones.
     Coarsely chop the roasted chicken meat and set it aside.
     Step 4:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Add 3 or 4 whole Chile Morita that are seeded and crushed into large pieces.  (to taste)  
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil.
     Simmer till the chile peppers become tender.
     Step 5:  Add the reserved chopped roasted chicken meat.
     Simmer and reduce till the excess liquid evaporates and the sauce is thick enough to sauce cling to the chicken meat.
     Set the Chile Morita Pollo aside and let it cool to room temperature.

     Chile Morita Pollo Tamales:
     This recipe yields 6 or 7 Tamales, depending on the size of the corn husks.  A couple extra dried tamale corn husks will be needed for making the optional ribbons.  
     Step 1:  Soak 8 or 9 dried tamale corn husks in water for 10 minutes.
     Step 2:  Set 6 or 7 of the largest whole soaked corn husks aside.
     Tear 2 of the soaked corn husks into long ribbons that are about 3/8" wide.  (About 12 to 14 thin ribbons are needed.)
     Tie pairs of the corn husk ribbons together to create a total of 6 or 7 extra long ribbons.
     Set the ribbons aside.
     Step 3:  Place the soaked whole corn husks on a countertop.
     Use a pastry towel to pat them dry.
     Step 4:  Press a 2 to 3 ounce portion of the Masa Harina Dough into a thick patty shape that is about 3" in diameter.
     Place a 1 1/2 ounce portion of the Chile Morita Pollo filling on the dough patty.
     Place a 2 ounce patty of dough on top of the filling.
     Seal the dough around the chile chicken filling.
     Step 5:  Place the chile chicken stuffed dough portion on the center of a corn husk toward the wide end of the wrapper.
     Fold the sides of the corn husk over the stuffing.
     Fold the narrow end over the stuffing.
     Fold the wide end over the stuffing.
     Use one of the extra long corn husk ribbon to tie the tamale package shut.
     Set the finished Tamale aside.
     Step 6:  Repeat Step 4 and Step 5 till 6 or 7 Tamales are made.  (Any extra dough can be saved for another recipe.)
     Step 7:  Place the Tamales in a steamer basket.
     Place the steamer basket above the water in a steamer pot.
     Place the steamer pot over medium high heat.
     Place the lid on the pot.
     Steam the Tamales till they are piping hot and the internal temperature is at least 165ºF.  (The steaming time is about 20 to 25 minutes.)
     *Add water occasionally if the level of water in the steamer pot becomes low.
     Step 8:  Remove the steamer pot from the heat.
     Keep the Tamales warm on stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Chile Morita Pollo Tamales con Refritos Mayocoba:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     Step 1:  Place a 6 to 8 ounce portion of the Refritos Mayocoba in a shallow casserole dish or ramekin.
     Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of grated mixed cheddar and jack cheese over the refritos.
     Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of bias sliced green onion over the refritos.
     Place the refritos on the back half of a serving platter.
     Step 2:  Place a small ramekin of your favorite Mexican Hot Sauce on the back half of the platter.
     Overlap 5 Chile Morita Pollo Tamales across the front half of the  platter.
     *Serve with a dinner plate on the side for the spent tamale wrappers.

     When the corn husk wrapper is opened, the aroma fills the air!  These are some good tasting Hot Tamales! 
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