Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Jicama, Napa Cabbage and Manzano Pepper Salad with Cilantro Honey Orange Vinaigrette

     A Refreshing Salad With A Little Spicy Manzano Pepper Kick! 
     Today's light refreshing South American style salad combines ingredients that taste good with jicama.  Orange and cilantro is a tasty flavor combination for a light vinaigrette salad dressing.  Honey adds a touch of natural sweetness that pairs well with the delicate apple flavor of jicama.
     Manzano Peppers are in the South American Rocoto Chile Pepper family.  Manzano peppers are shaped like little globes.  The ripe color can be, yellow, orange or red.
     Some fresh produce stands market these peppers by the name Globe Peppers instead of Manzano Peppers.  One way to be sure that they are real Manzano Peppers is to look at the seeds.  Manzano Peppers are the only chile pepper varietal that has black seeds.
     Manzano Peppers are quite flavorful and they do have medium hot spicy bite.  If the seeds and pulp are removed, then the pepper flesh will be much less spicy.  Most of the hot pepper oils are in the pulpy seed area of a hot chile pepper.
     Jicama is a tuber from a vine plant that is native to Mexico.  The tuber looks like a fat round potato.  Jicama can be served raw or cooked.  In Mexico, raw jicama sticks are served with ground chile pepper powder sprinkled on them.  The combination of light apple flavor and chile pepper provides relief from the heat of summer.
     Cilantro Honey Orange Vinaigrette: 
     This recipe yields a little more than 1/4 cup of vinaigrette.  (Enough for 2 petite salads.)  
     There are three styles of vinaigrette emulsion.  Loosely combined, partially emulsified and fully emulsified.  A loose vinaigrette needs to be stirred or shaken before serving.
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced cilantro.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Slowly add 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil while stirring, to create a loose vinaigrette.
     Step 3:  Let the dressing stand for 10 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Stir before serving.
     Jicama, Napa Cabbage and Manzano Pepper Salad with Cilantro Honey Orange Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields 1 petite salad.  
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/3 cups of ribbon sliced Napa Cabbage in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 cup of peeled jicama that is cut into thin strips.
     Add 5 or 6 thin strips of seeded Manzano Pepper.
     *Only add a few Manzano Pepper Strips or this salad will be fiery spicy hot!
     Add 7 thin green bell pepper strips.
     Add a little bit of julienne sliced carrot for color.
     Add 1 julienne sliced white part of a green onion.
     Step 2:  Pour about 3 tablespoons of the Cilantro Honey Orange Vinaigrette over the salad ingredients.
     Toss the salad till the ingredients are coated.
     Step 3:  Place 5 or 6 small Napa Cabbage leaves on a plate in a starfish pattern.
     Mound the tossed salad mixture high on the center of the plate.
     No garnish is necessary!
     This is salad is refreshing on a hot afternoon! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pollo Encebollado y Queso Pupusas

     Guatemalan Onion Chicken Stew!
     Many people think that Central and South American cuisine is just like Mexican cuisine or Tex-Mex food, but is far from the truth.
     The cuisine of South America has a wide range of variety and cooking influences.  Savory food items that contain no spicy chile peppers are common.  Simple refreshing flavors, light stews and open flame grill cooking prevails in Central America and tropical South American countries.
     Pollo Encebollado is a traditional Guatemalan entrée and onions are the featured flavor.  There are no complicated cooking techniques involved in this recipe.  This is simple old fashioned cooking at its best!
     The stewing sauce should only be lightly seasoned, so the sweet onion flavor is not masked.  A whole chicken is plenty for two to three guests.  A half chicken is enough or one or 2 portions.  Two chicken thighs is an economical portion for one person.  Chicken thighs are nice for stewing and the dark meat has more flavor than white meat.

     Pupusas are popular in Central America and South America.  Pre-Columbian South American pupusas were often made with a combination of sweet potato and nixtamal corn flour.
     In Venezuela, Arepas are featured on menus.  An Arepa is like a pupusa that is split open and stuffed, like a sandwich.  A Gordita is like a big fat pupusa.
     The more that masa harina dough is kneaded and worked, the more pliable it will be.  Most chefs prefer white masa harina for pupusas, but yellow masa harina can also be used.  I used the yellow nixtamal corn flour the pupuas in the photos.
     A pupusa requires only a small amount of filling for flavor.  Pupusas are usually served with a thin tomato sauce and Curtido (cabbage salad).  The pupusas in the photos were served with a lightly marinated bell pepper strips and thin tomato sauce.  The thin tomato sauce has a very mild coriander flavor.

     Pupusa Dough:
     This recipe yields enough dough for 4 to 5 pupusas!
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of masa harina in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder.
     Add sea salt and 1 pinch of black pepper.
     Stir the dry ingredients.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of warm water, while stirring.
     Stir till the ingredients start to turn into small dry clumps.
     Step 3:  Add 1 ounce of warm water at a time while kneading, till a soft dough is formed.  The dough should be able to hold its shape.  When squeezed, the surface of the dough should not crack.
     Step 4:  Allow the dough to rest and absorb the moisture for about 20 minutes.  Squeeze the dough to see if the surface cracks.  If it does, then the dough needs more water.  Add a little more warm water at a time while kneading, till the dough is smooth and pliable again.
     Step 5:  Place the dough in a sealed container till it is needed.  

     Pollo Encebollado:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Chicken thighs are perfect for this recipe and they sell for a very low price.  A sectioned 1/2 chicken also is 1 large portion and it can be used to make this recipe too.
     *It is important to not brown the ingredients in this recipe!
     Step 1:  Select 2 large chicken thighs or 1/2 chicken that is cut into quarters.
     Score the thick pieces of meat by cutting a few slashes through the skin to the bone.
     Step 2:  Heat a large sauce pot or braising pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of lard or vegetable oil.
     Add the chicken pieces.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped onion.
     Step 3:  Lightly sauté the chicken and flip the pieces often, so the chicken is not browned.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color with no browning.
     Step 4:  Add just enough flour, while stirring, to barely soak up the excess grease in the pan.  (about 1 or 2 teaspoons)
     Step 5:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add enough light chicken broth to barely cover the chicken pieces.
     Add 1 laurel leaf.
     Add 1 small pinch of Mexican Oregano.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of whole mustard seed.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 6:  Bring the broth to a gentle boil and stir the sauce.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce is a medium thin consistency.
     Keep the Pollo Encebollado warm over very low heat
     *The rice and pupusas can be cooked while the chicken simmers!
     Achiote Pink Peppercorn Rice:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of light vegetable broth in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1 teaspoon of whole pink peppercorns.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Add 1 cup of long grain white rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam the rice till it is tender.
     Keep the rice warm on a stove top.

     Marinated Bell Pepper Strips:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     The discarded marinate can be saved to make more.  
     Place 1/2 cup of thin mixed red and green bell pepper strips in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Marinate the peppers for 20 minutes.
     Drain off the marinade before serving.
     Thin Tomato Sauce For Pupusas:
     This recipe yields 3 to 4portions.  (about 1 cup)
     Step 1:  Place 3/4 cup of imported canned Spanish or Italian tomatoes that are packed in their own juices in a sauce pot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of the juice from the can.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth.
     Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Step 3:  Place the pot over medium low heat and bring the liquid to a simmer.
     Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, till the vegetables become tender.
     Step 4:  Puree the sauce with a blender, blending wand or a food processor.
     Step 5:  Return the sauce to a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce till it is a very thin tomato sauce consistency.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.
     Queso Pupusas:
     This recipe yields 4 to 5 cheese pupusas!
     Be sure to moisten the dough if it dries out.
     Step 1:  Roll portions of the pupusa dough into smooth ball shapes that are about 2 1/2" in diameter.  (A little larger than a golf ball.)
     Step 2:  Press a thumb size hole a little bit deeper than halfway into a pupusa dough ball.
     Stuff the hole in the dough ball with about 1 teaspoon to 1/2 tablespoon of chopped cheese.  (Queso asadero, white cheddar or jack cheese are good choices.)
     Step 3:  Press the dough over the hole to seal it shut.
     Press the stuffed dough ball between two palms, to create a flat round pancake shape.  Do not worry if a little bit of the stuffing pokes through the dough.  Each flat round pupusa should be about 3/8" thick.
     Repeat till 4 or 5 pupusas are made.
     Step 4:  Heat a griddle or large cast iron skillet over medium/medium low heat.
     Place 1 tablespoon of lard on the hot pan.
     Step 5:  Place as many pupusas on the cooking surface as you can.
     Grill the pupusas till golden brown highlights appear on both sides and the dough is fully cooked
     Keep the queso pupusas warm on a stove top.

     Pollo Encebollado con Queso Pupusas:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée presentation.
     Step 1:  Use a custard cup mold to place a portion of the achiote pink peppercorn rice on the plate.
     Place a ramekin of the thin tomato sauce on the place.
     Overlap 2 queso papusas on the plate.
     Place the marinated bell pepper strips on the papusas.
     Step 2:  Place the stewed chicken pieces on the plate.
     Lade a generous amount of the stewed onion sauce over the chicken and on the plate.
     Garnish with the laurel leaf from the stew.

     Simple comfortable mild flavors is what this traditional Guatemalan recipe is all about!  This is a great plate of food for any time of year. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Diablo Rojo Guisado de Pollo

     Red Devil Chicken Stew!
     Today's chicken stew recipe is really the devil in disguise!  Red is the color of danger and this devilish entrée is spicy enough to set a tongue on fire!  
     During the last few months I have been editing old recipes from my original recipe blog and transferring the finished literary material to 7 new websites.  While sorting through the old recipes for another editing project to work on, I noticed the Red Devil Chicken Stew Recipe.  The last 20 or so recipes that I republished were savory recipes that were designed for folks that have mild tastes.  As every hot chile pepper fanatic knows, mild comfortable food flavors get to be boring after a while and there is nothing like hot chile peppers for getting rid of the ho-hum doldrums!  
     Many chefs simply shy away from writing extra super hot spicy chile pepper recipes, because they figure that there is no marketing potential.  All I can say is that there are plenty of hot chile pepper food fans in this world and they sure do appreciate honest to goodness super spicy hot recipes.  In fact, a few of my super spicy hot recipes have been on the top ten most popular list for weeks on end. This proves that there is a market for extra spicy hot recipes.
     Today's Diablo Rojo Guisado de Pollo recipe is seriously spicy hot.  This recipe is designed for folks that occasionally crave super spicy hot food.  Sure, this recipe can be toned down to suit milder tastes, but then it would be just like the thousands of Southwestern style spicy chicken stews that really designed for middle of the road tastes.  
     Chile Colorado:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.
     This is a medium spicy hot Chile Colorado Sauce that has a full robust flavor. 
     Step 1:  Remove the stems and seeds from these dried chile peppers:
     - 1 Chile Morita
     - 2 Chile Pulla
     - 1 Chile Negro
     - 1 medium size Chile Guajillo
     Step 2:  Place the dried chile peppers in a sauce pot.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 2 pinches of coriander.
     Add 2 pinches of ground achiote.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 3:  Simmer the chiles over low heat, till they become soft.
     Use a blending wand, food processor or blender to puree the chiles and chile broth.
     Step 4:  Place the thin chile puree in a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce till it is a medium thin sauce consistency that can coat a spoon.  The volume should be about 1 cup.
     Set the Chile Colorado Sauce aside.  

     Guisado de Rojo Diablo Pollo:
     *This recipe yields 2 hearty portions!
     This chicken stew is extra spicy hot!
     Step 1:  Remove the skin and excess fat from 4 large chicken thighs.  Leave the bones attached to the meat.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
     Add the prepared chicken thighs.  
     Sauté the chicken thighs on both sides, till they are lightly browned.
     Step 3:  Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 3 tablespoons of chopped celery.
     Add 3 tablespoons of small chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 6 to 8 pieces of thick sliced carrot.
     Sauté till the vegetables just start to become aromatic.
     Step 4:  Add 8 canned plum tomatoes that are cut into bite size pieces.
     Add 1/2 cup of tomato puree.
     Add the reserved Chile Colorado Sauce.
     Add enough chicken broth to cover the chicken thighs in the pot.  (About 1 1/2 to 2 cups.)
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of Mexican Oregano.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced epazote.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of spicy New Mexico Chile Powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Chile Pequin Powder.
     Add 2 crushed dried Chile Habanero. 
     Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 6:  Gently simmer the stew, till the stewing sauce reduces to a medium tomato sauce consistency and the chicken thighs are tender.  (About 40 to 45 minutes)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice to finish the stew.

     Arroz de Achiote:
     This recipe yields 2 large portions.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of water in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of long grain white rice.
     Step 3:  As soon as the liquid returns to a boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam the rice for 20 minutes.
     Keep the rice warm on a stove top.

     Diablo Rojo Guisado de Pollo:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée presentation.
     Spoon 1 portion of the achiote rice on a plate.
     Use a spoon to form a rice ring around the border of the plate.
     Spoon some of the stewing sauce onto the center of the plate.
     Place 2 chicken thighs on the stewing sauce.
     Spoon a generous amount of the stewing sauce over the chicken.
     Garnish with cilantro leaves. 

     The chile pequin and habaneros are what gives this Red Devil Chicken Stew a spicy hot kick.  The Chile Colorado Sauce adds a nice range of bold chile pepper flavor.  Not only is this stew super spicy hot, it tastes great!