Friday, December 15, 2017

Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

2 1/2 cups long grain white rice (washed and rinsed well)
3 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons Recaito
1/4 cup chopped pork salt
1/4 cup chopped bacon
2 tablespoons Spanish olives
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can green pigeon peas, drained
1 envelope sazon with culantro and achiote
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground comino (cumin)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

Start by heating the oil in a pot at high heat, and when the oil is nice and hot, add the salt pork.

When the salt pork is cooked but not crisp, add the bacon. 

Once browned, add Recaito, (a unique cilantro-based seasoning base that enhances the flavor) onions and garlic, olives, capers, comino (cumin), oregano, black pepper and envelope of sazon. Stir fry all together for about 1 minute.

Add pigeon peas, tomato paste, then add the water and bring to boil.

Wash rice under cold running water until water is clear and drain. Add rice to pot, chicken boullion and stir.


Once the liquid has began to boil and most of the water has cooked off, lower heat to lowest setting, and stir 1 more time, top with bay leaves, then cover with tight lid.

Let this cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat setting, remove cover and bay leaves, turn rice, and continue to cook at low heat for another 15 minutes until the rice is tender. Enjoy!

Tip:  Do not stir, but turn the rice with a large serving spoon. For a variation, add some cubed ham when adding the sofrito. The best part of this rice is the crust which forms on the bottom, called the pegao!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Nuevo Leon Enchiladas

Nuevo Leon is a state in Mexico and this is one of their traditional Enchiladas recipes. The Ancho Sauce in this recipe can also be used for other recipes.
Tip: Read instructions completely before cooking.
16 Corn Tortillas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken, preferably dark meat, such as thighs
2 cups (10 oz.) Queso Fresco
1 cup white onion, chopped
2 cups of Ancho Tortilla Dipping Sauce  (Click for recipe)

Heat a 9" or 10" heavy bottomed skillet and add the 1/2 cup oil.  Heat on medium high. One by one, using a pair of tongs, dip the tortillas in the hot oil until soft, should only take about 4 seconds, lay on a plate and continue until all the tortillas are dipped. See photo.

Heat the ancho sauce in a pan until warm. One by one, using a pair of tongs, dip the softened tortillas in the ancho sauce and lay on a plate. See photo.

In a large baking dish, I use 2, 2 quart rectangular baking dishes, lay a tortilla and add some shredded chicken, a little onion and some cheese. Then add 1 teaspoon of the ancho sauce, roll up, set aside in pan. Continue until you have eight in each pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the 2 dishes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and onions on the dishes. See photo.

Heat the oven to 375 degree and bake for 25 minutes.

Serves 8, 2 Enchiladas each. Can be served by themselves or with rice, beans or any side dish you would like.

Tip: Queso fresco is the most widely used cheese in Mexican cooking. The firm-textured fresh white cheese. Its name translates as "fresh cheese" and is slightly salty, with a mild, tangy taste similar to farmer's cheese. Like other fresh cheeses, queso fresco is lower in fat and sodium, despite its salty flavor, than aged cheeses. It's easily crumbled to sprinkle on dishes like enchiladas and tamales, as well as soups like black bean and tortilla. It also makes a tasty addition to cold vegetable salads. And although it softens, it does not melt when heated; queso fresco is classically used in the filling for chile relleños and quesadillas. For a snack, heat some on corn tortillas and top with a dollop of salsa.