Esto es fantástica cena!!
Jaime here!Anyone that knows me knows that I am an absolute fan of just about any Mexican food. Because we cook so much for ourselves and the show, there are not many restaurants that really I die to go out for, except… Mexican!! What more than you can ask for than going out being served immediately fresh hot chips, salsa, and then an iced on the rocks jumbo Rita! And I don’t even have to leave my chair!
One of the great things about Mexican food is that is similar in concept to Italian or Mediterranean peasant food meaning with the right know how, simple inexpensive food can be culinary masterpieces. Lest face it, flour and tomatoes?? it does not get any more cheap and easy than that, but try to make gourmet Italian food and you will quickly understand there is a lot of knowledge necessary in order to craft such fine dishes. A lot of that knowledge is knowing not what to do, but what NOT to do. The KISS theory often works well in cooking, Keep It Simple Stupid. This was one of my father’s favorite sayings’.
So, the fact is you can make gourmet Mexican dishes right at home and it is the best company dish period. No doubt Mexican food has loads of flavor and fun while usually being inexpensive to make.
Here is the recipe for a great Mexican Dinner that I fixed up here in Cedar Key Florida, all ingredients are easy and you can tamper with the taste how you like.
Chimichanga Dinner at Home. You will need: Seasoned large cast iron skillet, ground beef or chicken or both, spring onion, cumin, garlic fresh and powdered, coarse black pepper, sea salt, fresh jalapeño peppers, olive oil, sugar, crushed dried red pepper, fresh flour and corn tortillas from the market or home made, fresh parsley, canned whole tomatoes, red wine vinegar, cilantro, cilantro, fresh veggies, tomato, 5 limes avocado, black olives, and some good sour cream. Tools-Spatula that is plastic, tongs, a large bowl, baking dish, and lots of paper towels.
First up SALSA!!!
This recipe is my fav and is a variation of the Border Café salsa and the salsa you would get at Plaza Azteca. This is the basic mix, vary how you like.
In a bowl add:
Three cans whole tomatoes and crush by hand
Three chopped fresh spring onion
One teaspoon crushed red peper
One cup fresh chopped parsley
Three cups fresh cut cilantro
Juices of three limes, or more
Two teaspoons sea salt
One teaspoon course black pepper
One half cup of olive oil
One quarter cup of red wine vinegar
One chopped Jalapeno (cut very small)
10 leaves cut small of Culantro
5frech cut garlic cloves
Two teaspoons garlic powder
One cup of water
Dash of sugar
Mix everything together cover and chill. Then serve close to room temperature.
NOTE: It is good to make a lot of this salsa because it keeps very well in the fridge and goes good with just about everything. Try this the next morning for breakfast, cook one egg anyway you like, place in corn tortilla with some melted cheddar, fold, then garnish with some of this salsa! WOW!
IMPORTANT, I can not stress this enough, LISTEN UP! Once you start frying your toritllias give it your full attention and DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET DISTRACTED OR YOU WILLL BE SORRY!!!
Seriously, tell everyone in the room to leave you alone, don’t talk to you, and have total attention to what you are doing. Trust me on this and…… don’t even ask why, I have made enough mistake in the kitchen and have the scars to prove it!
Take your homemade or market purchased corn and flour tortillas. I use both. Some people like the fluffier four tortilla fried, others prefer the corn. Both are authentic and both good. I will usually do the yellow corn as the main chip, then fry flour for serving with dinner as a side.
Heat your cast iron skillet and have your plastic tongs and spatch ready. Also have a baking tray set aside with lots of paper towels ready to be used as a drain. You will have the salt and pepper nearby because as you take the chips out of the skillet to drain you will lightly season with salt and pepper, but LIGHTLY! Very little S&P but some.
Once your oil is up to temp, start frying your quarter cut tortillas and place them in the skillet. This is going to go quickly, maybe only a minute on each side or just until they brown a little. That is it. Then quickly remove them and place on paper towel drain. Season, then transfer to a big bowl lined with paper towels for serving.
MAKE YOUR OWN TACO SHELLS AND CHALLUPS.
With the spatch hold a tortilla halved in the hot oil for a minute or two. Then flip and do the other side while keeping the sides separate using your tong. This is NOT hard to do and if you mess one up, it makes for a great large chip. DO NOT EAT BOXED TACO SHELLS!!! YUUUUUUUK! For the chalupas simply fry on each side.
FILLING, Beef or Chicken, even Seafood.
What ever you feel like or do what I do and buy what is on sale. No mater what you decide basically you are going to pre cook your filling and set aside. You can do this the day before or simply in another fry pan. I do it all during the dinner hour and use the same cast iron skillet making the entire meal a one pot dish. It is easy, just cook your filling first in the skillet, then a quick rinse and dry, then fill with oil and cook the chips and main course.
When you cook your filling the sky is the limit, however I use these simple ingredients no matter what the meat is. For this recipe, we will just do a simple ground beef.
Cook the beef in the skillet and drain the fat. Now add close to a cup of your home made salsa, and equal parts of powdered garlic, cumin, and black pepper. Dash of sea salt and half cup of water and juice of four limes.. Cook and let simmer. During the last 10 minutes add a dash of flour as a thickener, mix, and let rest.
There are times I will do both beef and chicken. The thing is when ever I make these dinners there are so many leftovers we eat like kings for the next week!
Take your large flour tortillas and wet all the edges and where ever you will fold with water. Fill the center of the tortilla and fold then set aside. Basically you are just making a burrito at this point.
Next simply pan fry the Chimichanga in the skillet a few minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Finish off in the oven at 350 degrees with melted cheese if you like. I only bake them for an additional 10 minutes or so.
SERVE IT UP!
I like to serve this with a side of black beans and all the regular fav’s like fresh sliced avocado, lettuce, tomato, salsa, black olives, etc.
This is not a hard dish to make but you do want to be careful when frying the chips because it all happens fast and you need to be on your toes. One other thing, get a lot of tortillas. A lot of your guest will have never had fresh home made hot tortillas right off the skillet and especially with that awesome home made salsa. The chips go FAST! So be prepared and have plenty on hand to cook. The left over chips hold up fantastic in the fridge and we snack on them for days.
TIPS: This is one of those dishes where there really are no short cuts. When doing Mexican dinners I have had nice friends bring bagged chips bought from the store and I politely told them to take it back or use it to feed there dog or maybe brim or carp in the local pond. There is no substitute for fresh home made skillet fried chips with home made salsa. Once you experience this food, there will be no turning back. If your dinner guest want to bring something, as long as it is in a bottle and it is NOT store bought salsa, you should be in good shape.
Adios El Hombre!
from Cedar Key Florida!!
PS, notes on oil-