PORK AND PIE FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE
In some societies, the pig is admired, in others it is avoided like the plague. One group treats its pigs as respected citizens, carrying the shoals in their arms and feeding them at the family table. Other folks, sometimes starving, ignore the porkers as food and forbid its consumption for religious reasons. In Mexico, the succulent porcines are greatly appreciated for their savory flavor, their rich diversity and tenderness. Mexicans are great pork eaters and pork takes first place over any other meat.
In "The True History of the Conquest of Mexico", Bernal Diaz de Castillo, a Spanish Conquistador, noted that the Aztecs hunted wild boar, rabbits, deer, armadillo, rattlesnakes and iguanas with bows and arrows, javelins and snares. The most popular tidbits of those days were roasted meat of rattlesnake, iguana and turtle and they are still favorite delicacies in many parts of contemporary Mexico. Pork also played an important role in the native cuisine of the Aztecs as a savory addition to the daily pot of greens, legumes, fruits, herbs and spices. With the introduction of domesticated cattle, pigs, goats and chickens by the Spaniards, the wild boar was immediately supplanted by the tamed home grown variety.
Early settlers who came to farm along the Rio Cuale in La Manzanilla cherished the domesticated pigs for their good nutritional quality and produced them for exportation to neighboring villages along the Bahia de Banderas. Today the pig is still revered in our town. He is a common spectacle running loose in the small colonies or zones surrounding downtown P.V. and always gets the right of way on the road. Occasionally, the next door neighbor will be fattening up a couple of pigs in his back yard for a special fiesta; for that big 'pig and pie' feast on New Year's Eve. Offer the local pig breeders some stale tortillas and vegetable peelings and you
are sure to be invited to gnaw away on the pig's head (roasted) until the last shred of meat is gone - a real family treat! A few days before the Christmas holiday, a familar sight in the streets of La Manzanilla is the halted traffic with blaring horns as a campesino drives his pigs to sell them door to door.
Mexico is a relatively poor country as far as 20th Century material wealth is concerned and meat of any kind is still considered a rich man's food. It has been estimated that about half of all Mexican families eat meat only on Sundays and special fiesta days, whereas more than one third of the population enjoys meat perhaps only once a year. One of the effects of this scarcity of meat in the average family food basket is to force the cook to utilize cuts which in more prosperous lands would be discarded. Consequently, there are many distinctive Mexican recipes calling for animal innards created by the frugal housewives. Some of these tasty delicacies universally enjoyed are pig's ear salad, tripe with sausage or tripe soup (menudo - the famous cure for hangovers), brains in tomato sauce, blood sausage, stuffed lambs' entrails roasted on a spit, braised oxtails, stir fried kidneys and stuffed pig's feet. Tablita mixta or mixed grill is a popular party dish or a snacking plate with beer, containing 3 - 4 animal organs like pancreas ( sweetbreads) or mollejas, kidneys or rinones, heart or corazon, lungs or pulmones and spleen or bazo, cunningly disguised and mingled with vegetables. It is the theory of the Mexican cook that however strange its raw state, any cut of meat can be rendered palatable and appetizing by proper cooking and blending with such highly flavored ingredients as tomatoes, onions, garlic, chiles and assorted herbs. The choice of which parts of the animal is a matter of habit, and if one can accustom oneself to cuts of rattlesnake and iguanas, one can come to view animal innards with as much enthusiasm. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" or as the Mexicans say "Lo que no te mate, te engorda!" "What doesn't kill you, fattens you."
As the year comes to an end in your home away from home in La Manzanilla, you may want to give a pork and pie party for your favorite friends and neighbors as is the custom in Mexico, to acknowledge yet another successful year in the art of living. Make this party memorable to suit the happy sentiments of a New Year in the land of paradise. Dress the table with a delicate pale lavender tablecloth and bright accents of beautiful Mexican hand crafted tin pieces. Fill a polished tin bowl with hot pink bouganvilla blossoms for the centerpiece and add a few smaller tin bowls with frosted green grapes. They will look pretty, but the real reason is explained below. Use tin candlesticks or lanterns for pink candles to spotlight all the goodies on the table and arrange small silvery tin bells with name cards attached (to help ring in the New Year) at each place setting.
To carry out the Mexican tin motif, you may decide to use shiny tin foil pie plates for dinner plates instead of your best china and being disposable, they will help considerably in the cleaning up after the meal. Other ingredients for a successful New Year's Eve fiesta are hospitality, informality, friendliness, music, dancing and lots of bebidas or drinks. Turn on the record player with lively dance music or hire a mariachi group to compliment the pleasures of toasting in the New Year.
Serve a traditional Jalisco rum punch of steeped bitter orange leaves with a few classic turnovers or little pies of apples. Offer a mixed grill of sweetbreads, liver, heart and zucchini arranged on a hot tin tray or a heated earthenware platter set over a tin box with a few hot 'live' charcoals; the bite sized morsels to be speared with a cocktail pick and dipped in a bowl of hot tomato sauce nearby. While the guests are imbibing, you'll want to check on some last minute preparations such as reheating the golden yellow rice dish and baking a corn pudding alongside a tamal pork pie. Don't forget to take along your own glass of punch to sip as you baste the roasting fresh ham with a splash of the same rum punch. The rum's flavoring power works well beyond the drinks and blends well with meat sauces for basting. An exotic walnut soup will lead your guests into the main
menu and a half portion of poached trout in grape sauce as the entrada will proclaim you "The hostess of the year".
At midnight, be prepared to introduce your guests to a wild Latin tradition. With the first stroke of midnight, each guest starts to gobble up twelve frosted grapes placed before him, one at a time. The superstition has it that every grape represents a month of the coming year and any uneaten grape after the last stroke of twelve spells the expectation of bad luck for that month. Grape cramming to the ticking of the clock is not that easy, but it is lots of fun. Anyway, no superstition is valid if you haven't heard about it before. Then with sugar coated lips, everyone kisses (besos) and with strong embraces (con fuertes brasos) welcomes in the New Year with brotherly love. As the guests gather round the table for the pork and pie, a solemn moment for a New Year's toast is in order. In our house, we drink a cup of goodwill "toward men who bring peace on Earth", and together with our Mexican friends we drink several more toasts or copes alegrias with confidence in survival and in life itself. Just before all the New Year´s resolutions begin about dieting and no smoking, a traditional pumpkin pudding topped with a meringue and glazed zucchini slices is presented with an after dinner drink of mixed liqueurs called Toro Bravo with hot espresso coffee. It is impossible to pass up this tantalizing dessert! Enjoy it now and swear off the sweets starting tomorrow, while you sing another chorus of "Auld Lang Syne".
ORANGE LEAF RUM PUNCH (Ponche de Hojas Agria de Naranja)
From the state of Jalisco, this simple but satisfying rum punch has been a favorite for many generations. Green orange leaves and dried orange blossoms from the bitter orange or Seville orange tree are made into a tea to flavor with rum and relax the drinker. Served steaming hot, it is the heart warming cup of good cheer, una copa alegria, for the New Year. Note: The orange leaves brewed with cloves are used daily in a simple tisane or herbal tea as a tranquilizer to calm one's nerves and as a flavorful aperatif.
1 liter rum 1 pt. brandy
1 liter black tea 2 Tbsp. orange blossoms (optional)
peel from 12 oranges 3 doz. green orange leaves
2 liters water 1/2 c. orange flavored liqueur
1 c. powdered sugar (see Index)
grated nutmeg lime slices
Brew green orange leaves in 2 liters of boiling water for 20 minutes. Brew 1 liter of strong black tea and pour while still boiling over orange peels and orange blossoms (flor de azabare de naranja). Note: Dried orange blossoms are available in a small spice bag on the spice rack in the supermercado. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Mix both brews and strain. Stir in powdered sugar. Keep at a low boil until ready to serve. Add rum, brandy and orange liqueur to hot brew and pour into a heavy earthenware punch bowl to keep warm. Garnish with slices of lime. Ladle into hot mugs and sprinkle fresh grated nutmeg on top. Note: Flavor of green orange leaves and orange blossoms may be captured by substituting 1 tablespoon grated grapefruit rind, 1/3 cup orange juice, 1/3 cup lime juice and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Note: A discreet request to a mozo caretaker or a local bartender will bring a liter or two of a more potent alcoholic additive than the rum. Raizilla, an aromatic local moonshine made from the maguey cactus plant is often used in a fruit punch for a really slap happy New Year celebration! Add some raizilla to the orange leaf punch bowl which will sweeten and disguise its head reeling, eye blinding effects - but it will all feel so good! H A P P Y New Year!
APPLE TURNOVERS (Empanaditas de Manzana)
Empanadaa are the popular Latin American turnovers or half moon pies imported from Spain and filled with meat, vegetable or fruit hash which can be made small for appetizers or large family size like empanadas gallega for a meal-in-one dish. Lavish midnight suppers on New Year's Eve feature miniature sweet spicy apple pies or turnovers as an appetizer with a rum punch.
2 c. all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 c. margarine 1/3 c. orange juice
1 c. diced peeled apple 1/2 c. raisins
1/3 c. sherry 1/2 c. almonds
1/4 c. sugar 1/4tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 c. frying oil
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and ground coriander. Cut in margarine with a fork and add orange juice. Mix thoroughly into a soft pliable dough mixing with fingers without kneading. Do not overwork dough. Roll out 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut into 2 inch rounds with rim of juice glass. Combine diced apples, raisins soaked in sherry, chopped almonds, sugar, ground cloves and cinnamon. Toss together to evenly coat diced apples and raisins. Place heaping teaspoon of filling on 1/2 of each pastry round. Fold other half over to form half moon shape. Seal by crimping edges together with fingers. Fry in deep hot fat until golden brown on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain on absorbent paper. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Or bake in oven at 200° C for 15 - 20 minutes until lightly browned. Serve hot or cold. Note: The apple filling can be substituted with jams or other fresh fruits used for pies.
MIXED FRY (Mezcla Frita)
A mixed fry is composed of different ingredients usually featuring animal organs fried separately and served together. It makes a bountiful platterful for the cocktail hour and each mouthful is a pleasant surprise. Most ingredients can be prepared the day before, refrigerated and rebooted in the oven before serving.
1/2 kilo pig's feet 1/4 kilo sweetbreads
1/2 kilo beef liver 1/2 kilo beef heart
2 large apples 2 zucchini
12 cauliflower flowerets 2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 recipe sweet potato chips 1 recipe fried banana chips
(see Index) (see Index)
1/4 tsp. pepper 3 c. flour
8 eggs 3 c. bread crumbs
sugar cinnamon mix lime wedges
1 recipe tomato sauce (see 2 - 3 marinated Chile strips
Have ready three bowls: One of flour seasoned with salt and pepper, one of well beaten eggs and one of fine bread crumbs or cracker meal.
1. Clean pig's feet and cut across in 1 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in boiling salted water for 2 hours (or in pressure cooker for 30 minutes). Drain and wipe dry. Roll in seasoned flour, dip into well beaten eggs, roll in bread crumbs and deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm on earthenware platter set over a tin can or box of hot live charcoals.
2. Remove skin from sweetbreads (pancreas) and cut into 1 inch thick pieces. Roll in seasoned flour, dip into beaten eggs, roll in bread crumbs and
deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain and set alongside fried pig's feet on heated platter.
3. Cut beef liver into thin bite size strips. Roll in seasoned flour and deep fry in hot oil for 4 minutes on each side. Repeat as in No. 1 after frying step.
4. Remove skin of beef heart. Slice into bite size pieces. Slowly cook in salted water for 1 1/2 hours. Note: May be cooked along with pig's feet. Drain and dry well. Dip in seasoned flour, beaten egg and continue directions as in No. 1.
5. Slice unpeeled apples crosswise remove core and cut each slice in half. Shake slices in plain unseasoned flour. Dip into beaten eggs and repeat as in No. 1. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mix.
6. Wash and cut unpeeled zucchini into long strips. Dry well and dust with seasoned flour, dip into eggs and deep fry in hot oil. Blot dry on paper towels. Add to serving platter.
7. Parboil small flowerets of cauliflower for 5 minutes in salted water. Drain and dry. Roll in seasoned flour. Continue
as directed in No. 1.
Note: Any other vegetables like eggplant cubes, mushroom buttons or diced pumpkin may be added and/or other animal organs like kidneys, brains, tongue or spleen. Serve assortment of crisp fried meats and vegetables on a hot serving platter. Garnish with lime wedges. Have close by for dipping, cocktail picks and a bowl of hot cooked tomato sauce with chopped marinated Chile strips added (see Index).
FROSTED SUGAR GRAPES (Uvas Glaseadas)
Frosted sugar grapes are decorative garnishes for many dishes including creamed chicken, broiled fish, fruit salads, ice creams and many more. On New Yearts Eve, they are served separately as part of a Mexican tradition for expressing hope that good fortune lies in store for each of us in the forthcoming year (see instructions at the beginning of this chapter).
1 kilo seedless grapes 1 egg white
1 pkg. lime flavored gelatin
Cut bunches of grapes into small clusters of about 12 grapes. Dip clusters one at a time into well beaten egg white. Hold by stem to permit excess to drain off. Sprinkle with lime flavored gelatin powder. Chill for 3 hours. Arrange 1 cluster or 12 grapes on individual serving plate lined with a silver doily or a fresh lemon leaf. Garnish with a smell flower blossom - such as a marigold.
Note: Frosted grapes may be prepared ahead and stored in refrigerator overnight or longer. Serve at the first stroke of midnight.
WALNUT SOUP (Sopa de Nogales)
Creamy smooth walnut soup is an elegant hot soup to be sipped slowly, tempting the palate for good things to come. The success of this dish is dependent on a good robust chicken stock and the freshness of the walnuts. Local walnuts from Moscota and other mountain villages above La Manzanilla are plentiful in the fall.
2/3 c. whole walnuts 1 liter soup stock (Chapter I)
1 onion 4 slices bacon
1 can evaporated milk 2 egg yolks
1/8 tsp. nutmeg 1/2 c. dry sherry
chile powder 1/3 c. whole walnuts for garnish
Soak whole walnuts in boiling water to loosen tough skin. Drain. Remove skins, dry well and set aside. Saute' chopped onion with diced bacon slices until thoroughly cooked. Saute' walnuts with cooked onions and bacon. Puree walnut mixture into a smooth paste, using a little of the stock if needed. Stir walnut paste into boiling soup stock (3 teaspoons powdered chicken bouillon dissolved in 4 cups boiling water). Simmer for 20 minutes, adding dry sherry and nutmeg. Taste to correct seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Beat in evaporated milk and remove from heat. Pour hot soup over beaten egg yolk in a soup tureen. Ladle into hot soup bowls and garnish with whole walnuts dusted with Chile powder.
TROUT WITH GRAPES IN LIME SAUCE (Truchas con Uvas en Salsa de
"They say fish should swim thrice - first it should swim in the sea, then it should swim in butter and at last sirrah, it should swim in good claret." (Jonathan Swift). In this recipe, fresh trout fillets swim in wine, butter and lime sauce and at last sirrah, they are smothered with green juicy grapes. They are served in half portions as the fish entrada in a full course Mexican supper.
6 fillets of trout (trucha) 1 1/2 c. white wine 1 1/2 c. chicken broth 4 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. cayenne popper
1 1/2 c. fresh cream 1 c. seedless grapes (uvas)
(crema fresco) seedless grapes for garnish
1 1/2 c. lime sauce
Poach trout fillets in mixture of wine and chicken broth (1 teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon in 1 cup boiling water) for 7 minutes. Remove fillets with slotted spoon and transfer into a heated oven-proof platter.
Reserve poaching stock. Add butter, salt and cayenne pepper to 1/2 reserved stock and bring to a boil. Add grapes and continue cooking briskly for 5 minutes. Gradually add lime sauce (follows) and fresh cream, stirring constantly and cook 5 minutes longer until slightly thickened. Spoon creamed sauce with grapes over fish fillets. Place oven-proof earthenware platter under broiler for 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh seedless grapes. Serve hot.
LIME GRAPE SAUCE (Salsa de Limon con Uvas)
After the Spanish ban on vineyards was lifted in the late 18th Century, the reappearance of juicy crunchy seedless grapes in Mexican cooking became apparent. A basic Mexican cream sauce was enriched with the flavor of home grown green grapes of Aguascalientes and Guanajuato and closely resembled the classic Spanish grape sauce, known as Salsa Veronique. The growing popularity of grapes is evidenced by its inclusion in many modern Mexican cookbooks.
1/3 c. white wine 3 Tbsp. lime juice
2 stale flour tortillas 1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. popper 1 c. fresh cream
1 1/2 c. fish or chicken 1 1/2 c. seedless grapes
broth or reserved poaching broth
Mash and puree stale flour tortillas in lime juice and wine to make a thin paste. Add to boiling fish broth or reserved poaching broth from trout fillet recipe above. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook slowly, stinting constantly for 5 minutes until sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in seedless grapes and gently cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat and slowly fold in cream. Pour over poached fish fillets.
FRESH HAM WITH PINEAPPLE SAUCE (Vienna de Cerdo con Salsa de
The juicy field ripened pineapple is greatly appreciated in Mexico and is sometimes used above the entrance way as a symbol of hospitality. It is also widely used in the Mexican kitchen as an ingredient in meat dishes, desserts and drinks to capture the kiss of tropical sweetness. Pineapple in any form is most compatable with ham and in this recipe it coats a fresh leg of pork with its juicy sweet, slightly tart pulp.
1 fresh ham (4 kilos) 6 chile anchos with water to soak
1 sprig epazote (optional) 1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. oregano 3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt 2 c. dry red wine
Prepare Chile anchos as described in Chapter II. Puree soaked chiles with soaking water. Add sprig of epazote, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, garlic cloves, salt and red wine. Mix in electric blender into a thin smooth paste.- Score rind of ham or slash in 1 inch squares, being careful not to cut through. Rub entire surface with chile herb paste and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Wipe dry before placing in oven and reserve marinade. Place fat side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered in oven at 200° C for 1 hour. Remove rind. Pour pineapple sauce (follows) on top and return to oven at a lower temperature (160° C). Bake 1 hour longer (or 45 minutes per kilo for a whole ham) basting periodically with pan drippings and pineapple sauce. Remove ham to serving platter with shank end to the carver's right. Spoon off as much grease from pan drippings as possible. Hold ham firmly in place with fork and cut thin slices down to the bone. Release slices by cutting along the bone at right angles to slices. Arrange slices on serving platter. Pour remainder of sauce and pan
drippings with pineapple chunks around the ham. Garnish the plate with thin slices of orange. Serve individual slices with a helping of corn pudding.
CHILE PINEAPPLE SAUCE (Salsa de Pina y Chile)
In contrast to French sauces which rely on a starchy flour or roux base, the full body and spirit of a Mexican sauce starts with a fresh recado (literally meaning the daily marketing) as discussed before. The addition of pureed chiles, herbs, fruit, vegetables and nuts in various combinations or alone are the thickening agents and aim to give each dish its own characteristic flavor. Pineapple is a sweet sour flavoring added to the recado to perk up the succulent goodness of a fresh leg of pork.
4 Tbsp. Oil 2 onions
3 garlic cloves 4 tomatoes
1 small pineapple 1 (4 oz.) can pimentos
1/2 tsp. dried mint flake 1 c. reserved chile herb marinade
(optional) (see previous recipe)
2 Tbsp. chopped almonds pan drippings from ham roast
2 Tbsp. Raisins dry red wine
Peel small pineapple, cut into cubes, removing core. Saute' chopped onions and minced garlic cloves in oil until onions are soft. Add mashed tomatoes and cook into a sauce for 10 minutes. Add pineapple cubes, canned drained pimentos cut into strips, chopped almonds, raisins and reserved chile herb marinade, with enough red wine to make 1 cup of spiced liquid. Cook slowly for 20 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Correct seasoning by adding salt to taste. Pour over fresh leg of pork.
GOLDEN YELLOW RICE (Arroz Gualdo)
Poor or rich, Mexicans wouldn't let the New Year start without a humble dish of rice as a symbolic wish for continued good luck, a long life and prosperity for the coming year. Similar sentiments are expressed throughout the world, from China to the Carolinas in the U.S. A rich deep golden rice delicately flavored with achiote or annatto seeds is a tasty and attractive side dish with the holiday fish, ham or chicken.
2 Tbsp. annatto seeds 1/4 c. oil
1 onion 1 bell pepper
2 tomatoes 2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. Capers 1 1/2 c. rice
1 tsp. salt 3 c. boiling water
Fry crushed annatto seeds in hot oil until oil is a deep orange red color. Remove seeds with a slotted spoon and discard. Add rice to hot colored oil and saute' for 5 minutes. Add chopped onion, diced bell pepper, crushed garlic cloves and cook until vegetables are tender crisp. Add peeled and chopped tomatoes, minced capers, boiling water and salt. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and rice is a deep golden color, dry and fluffy. Serve as a dry soup or as a side dish with baked fresh ham.
CORN PUDDING (Budin de Elote)
Corn, a basic food in the Mexican diet, is enjoyed not only in the everyday staple of tortillas and its related dishes, but is served in a variety of other forms, including soups, stews, drinks, desserts and sweet cakes. A favorite is a luscious corn pudding served as a vegetable dish with the main entree. Don't fret, it may puff up like a souffle and then fall flat on its face. Don't let this bother you. Simply garnish top with a tomato rose.
2 l/2 c. fresh corn kernels l/2 c. cream plus 1/2 c. milk
or 6 ears of corn 3 egg yolks
l/2 stick margarine 1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. rice flour 1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. shredded Chihuahua 1/2 c.marinated Chile strips (see
cheese Index) or 3 canned pimentos
Scrape corn kernels (do not cut) off fresh young ears of corn with tip of teaspoon. Then press along the rows to retrieve the richly flavored juice and hearts of the kernel. Puree kernels and corn juice with cream and milk to make a thick mush. Beat egg yolks with softened butter until creamy yellow. Sift rice flour together with sugar, salt, pepper and baking powder. With electric mixer, beat rice flour mixture into egg mixture into a smooth batter. Stir in corn mush and shredded Chihuahua cheese. Beat egg whites until fluffy. Fold into batter. Pour mixture into a well greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake in oven at 170° C for 1 hour until top is browned and center is spongy to touch. Cool slightly to remove from baking pan onto serving platter. Cut into 2 inch squares and garnish with a marinated Chile strip. For a dressed up holiday dish, garnish with a tomato rose. Using a large tomato, begin by cutting a base from the tomato (do not sever at one end). Continue cutting one continous narrow strip, 3/4 inch, in spiral fashion, using a sawing motion and taper the end to a point to remove. Curl strip onto its base in the shape of an opening rose.
TAMAL PORK PIE (Tamel de Cazuela con Puerco)
Tamales, as a mainstay of the Mexican diet, are no less popular today than they were at the time of the Aztecs. Filled with meats and sweets for special occasions, they come in a variety of sizes from the smallest stew dumpling to a three foot sacahuil of the Huastec country around San Luis Potosi. The latter is made of a soft masa dough around a whole pork loin, rolled in banana leaves and baked overnight in an oven fueled with wood. This is the forerunner of the contemporary smaller tamal pork pie. For New Yearts Day, tamal pork pie is the customary auld tang syne casserole in many parts of Mexico.
CORN FLOUR PASTRY CRUST (Corteza de Masa)
This pastry crust is made of corn flour, harina de tamal, a heavier and coarser flour, but masa harina or instant masa (not to be confused with the stateside cornmeal as used in corn bread) may be substituted.
1/2 c. lard 3 c. masa harina
1 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. broth (reserved pork 1/4 tsp. chile powder
Cream lard until light and fluffy. Aerate masa harina flour with salt and chile powder with a fork. Do not sift. Mix together with creamy lard, adding milk and pork broth. Beat until dough is light and elastic. A small ball of dough will float on top of a glass of water. Line sides and bottom of a 3 liter casserole with 1/2 portion of dough recipe. Cover and set aside to be filled and reserve other half for the pie topping.
POT OF PORK STEW WITH APPLES (Filling)(Mole de Olla de Puerco con
A holiday pot of stewed pork or a mole de alla is loaded with rich spicy hot flavors. It can be served as a meal-in-one stew with the same assortment of garnishes used for pozole (see Index) or as an elegant filling for a tamel pie.
3 ancho chiles - or 3 Tbsp. 1 onion
pare chile ancho powder 2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 kilo pork shoulder or 2 tomatoes
butt roast 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1 1/2 liters cold water 1 bay leaf
(enough to cover) 1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cilantro seeds 2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves 1 c. canned corn kernels or
1 tsp. salt 2 ears fresh corn
1 c. diced apples
Place pork shoulder (espaldilla de puerco) or pork butt (pulpa de bole) cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes in an earthenware pot or Dutch oven with enough cold water to cover. Add chopped onion and minced garlic cloves. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours until meat is tender. Toast and soak dried chile anchos in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove seeds and puree in blender with soaking water, tomatoes, sugar, cumin powder, cilantro seeds (a lemony sage flavor), oregano leaves and bay leaf. Add puree mixture to hot oil in another pan and cook for 10 minutes into a thick sauce. Add to stew pot with fresh corn kernels scraped off ears of corn. If using canned corn, add later. Simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt. Strain stew. Reserve stock for making tamel crust. Arrange pork bits and cooked or canned corn kernels moistened in stock on bottom of casserole lined with tamal dough. Scatter diced apples on top.
Cover the filling with the remaining dough so that pork is completely enclosed. Flute edges. Bake in oven at 170° C for 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes to settle before cutting. Reheat remaining stock and serve with pie.
PUMPKIN PUDDING WITH MERINGUE (Budin de Calabasa Merengada)
Pumpkin, the symbol of fruitfullness and health and the prince of the autumn garden makes a fitting finale to a winter dinner. A bit of mashed pumpkin slipped into a simple custard is a holiday treat, especially when dressed up with a meringue or a glazed zucchini decoration.
2 c. cooked pureed pumpkin 2/3 c. grated piloncillo
1 stick margarine 6 egg yolks
1 tsp. grated orange peel 1 c. orange juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 egg whites 1/2 c. shredded coconut
Combine cooked pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned), grated piloncillo, melted margarine, beaten egg yolks, grated orange rind, orange juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat well. Fold in whipped frothy egg whites and shredded coconut. Bake in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish in oven at 170° C for 1 hour. Cool. Top with meringue or glazed zucchini or serve plain, hot or cold.
3 egg whites (left over from 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar above) 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Whip egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and whip until stiff but not dry. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread over baked pudding with a flat spatula. Bake in oven at 160° C for 15 minutes
until lightly browned. Garnish with glazed zucchini on the outer edge. Serve cooled pudding cut into wedges.
GLAZED ZUCCHINI (Calabacita Glaseada)
4 sliced zucchini 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
Melt sugar and honey in a skillet until liquid is pale amber in color. Cook thinly sliced zucchini coins in syrup for 1 minute on each side until translucent and shiny. Overlap glazed zucchini coins around outer edges of baked pumpkin pudding. Cool and serve cut into wedges.
BRAVE BULL (Toro Bravo)
A creamy frothy iced drink with a mocha flavored liqueur is called Brave Bull and is just as famous in La Manzanilla as Irish coffee for an after dinner drink. Sometimes it is appropriately called Popo y Ixta after the two volcanoes outside of Mexico City. For one serving:
3 Tbsp. Kahlua or coffee 3 Tbsp. white tequila
flavored liqueur (see vanilla ice cream
Index) crushed ice
Whirl up in an electric blender until frothy, Kahlua, tequila and enough crushed ice to fill a 4 ounce whiskey sour glass. Spoon a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream on top and serve.
MEXICAN ESPRESSO COFFEE (Cafe Espresso Mexicano)
Espresso meaning 'pressed out' is usually made in a special machine in which steam under pressure is forced through the coffee powder. In Mexico, dark coffee beans are pulverized and steeped 2 - 3 times with sugar to bring out and preserve the coffee aroma to simulate the rich coffee flavor of Italian espress. Real aficianados drink it straight while others take a lump of sugar in their mouths while drinking to please the Mexican Palate. For 6 servings:
2 c. water 6 Tbsp. grated piloncillo 6 Tbsp. ground roasted coffee lime peel strips
Pulverize ground roasted coffee in electric blender. In a wide mouth earthenware pot like a bean pot, boil water and sugar. Add pulverized coffee grinds. Allow coffee to rise. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Reboil 2 more times. Add 1 teaspoon cold water to settle grounds. Strain through a fine sieve and pour the coffee espresso syrup into a demitasses cup. Garnish with a strip of lime peel. Especially good when using freshly ground coffee from the isolated Hacienda Jalisco Coffee Ranch deep in the Sierra Madre Mountains behind La Manzanilla, which is also operated as a hunting lodge.