Lasaña Azteca

Mexican-inspired white lasagna Azteca rolls. Recipe via theothersideofthetortilla.com

This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with Barilla and Latina Bloggers Connect, but the recipe and all opinions here are my own.

Rollitos de lasaña azteca, or Aztec lasagna rolls, are an easy and flavorful dish that you can prepare in advance and pop into the oven to get dinner on the table without much effort.

Several years ago, my Tía Annette gave me a copy of a Mexico City Junior League cookbook from the 1980s. The thing I loved most about the book was that it had expat fusion recipes that were Mexicanized versions of American comfort foods, and it was a window into what the most popular recipes were among these women at the time the book was published.

This recipe is my modern spin on a fusion of two recipes that were particularly popular at the time that edition of the Mexico City Junior League cookbook was written: A white lasagna made with Mexican cheeses, and a dish known as budín Azteca or pastel Azteca, which is basically a lasagna dish that uses tortillas in place of lasagna noodles, and has a cheesy, spicy chile and vegetable filling.

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Tinga de pollo

How to make tinga poblana, a Mexican dish with a tomato base and shredded chicken. Great for tostadas, tacos, served with rice, or as a quesadilla! This dish is also sometimes known as tinga de pollo or chicken tinga. Recipe via @MauraHernandez on The Other Side of The Tortilla.

This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with Hunt’s and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions and the recipe are my own.

Tinga de pollo, also known as tinga poblana or chicken tinga, is a flavorful, authentic Mexican dish that you can get on the dinner table in less than an hour.

 There are a few key ingredients to this recipe that help you get it on the table quickly: Store-bought rotisserie chicken, tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes. Like many traditional Mexican dishes, tomatoes are an important flavor as the base of this recipe. And if you shred the chicken in advance or have some help shredding it, you’ll really have dinner ready in no time!

This tangy, slightly spicy, stewed dish originally comes from the state of Puebla and is sometimes also made with shredded beef or pork instead of chicken. Ingredients in this dish can sometimes vary slightly from family to family, but most recipes have a tomato base, call for chorizo and fresh tomatillos—all of which, when combined, lend a little umami flavor and texture to this popular dish.

RELATED RECIPE: Fideo seco… 

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Slow-cooker carnitas

How to make Mexican carnitas with a slow-cooker. Recipe on theothersideofthetortilla.com.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with the National Pork Board, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Slow-cooker carnitas are great for an easy weeknight family dinner or for a weekend gathering. This is a super simple meal with only four ingredients that you can also prepare in advance and reheat.

Carnitas are typically a true nose-to-tail kind of dish where almost the entire pig is used. My husband loves this recipe and says that it’s similar to ordering maciza, which is mostly lean and white meat. If you’re used to eating carnitas and order “surtido” (which includes a little bit of everything), you can simulate that by buying a pork shoulder that has a cap of fat on one side. The fat will partially cook down and melt in the slow-cooker, and the soft remains left over at the end can be chopped up and mixed in with the shredded meat. (And you can use some of the liquid fats to moisten the meat before storing, so it doesn’t dry out when reheated, too.) 

RELATED RECIPE: Slow-cooker cochinita pibil

This recipe is made with pork shoulder which can also be called Boston butt roast or pork butt, depending on the region of the U.S. where you live. In Mexico, this area of the pig is often called espaldilla or cabeza de lomo, which are adjacent cuts that come from the top of the front legs of the pig and just above. These cuts are typically well-marbled and are very versatile, but the best way to use them, in my opinion, is to cook them low and slow (at a low temperature over a long period of time) so that the meat becomes fork-tender. 

If you’re not very familiar with pork shoulder, you may have already eaten it before without even realizing it; when you buy ground pork from the grocery store, it’s oven made from pork shoulder. And it makes great chorizo!

RELATED RECIPE: Homemade pork chorizo

If you can’t find a boneless roast, you can buy a little larger piece to account for the weight of the bone. You can cook it the same way, just leaving the bone in, and then remove the bone before serving. A bonus to cooking this cut low and slow: you can also render your own pork fat—the same way you would with bacon—and transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

This recipe serves four people for a light meal (about three tacos each), or two people for a larger meal. If you wish to serve more people, or simply have more leftovers, you can double the size of the pork roast to 4 pounds, add three slices of thick-cut bacon and two more dried bay leaves.

Slow-cooker carnitas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Slow-cooker carnitas

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless Boston butt roast (pork shoulder)
  • 5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon
  • 1.5 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Line the bottom of your slow-cooker with three pieces of bacon and put the bay leaves on top of the bacon.
  2. Sprinkle about half of the sea salt on one side of the pork roast, and the remaining salt on the other side. Place the pork roast over the bacon and bay leaves.
  3. Place the remaining two slices of bacon over the top of the pork roast and put the lid on the slow-cooker. Turn the slow-cooker to low and let it cook for 8 hours.
  4. After 8 hours, remove the meat from the slow-cooker with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and shred well with a fork.
  5. Serve with warm corn tortillas and garnishes such as diced white onion, chopped cilantro and salsa of your choice.
http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2014/10/slow-cooker-carnitas-recipe/

For more information and recipe ideas visit porkbeinspired.com or The National Pork Board’s Spanish-language website, porkteinspira.com.

 

Fideo seco

Mexican fideo seco recipe via @MauraHernandez at The Other Side of The Tortilla

This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with Barilla and Latina Bloggers Connect, but the recipe and all opinions here are my own.

Fideo seco is a Mexican pasta dish traditionally made with either chipotle chile alone, or a mix of three chiles: chipotle, guajillo and pasilla. When made with three chiles, the dish is known as fideo seco a los tres chiles. This simple version uses only chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and requires minimal effort and easy cleanup.

What makes this dish different than any typical pasta dish is that the pasta is first fried, which brings out a somewhat nutty flavor in the pasta, and then is soaked in a tomato-chipotle puree to absorb the flavor. It’s cooked by baking in the oven, and when finished, the consistency is moist but not soupy.

RELATED RECIPE: Sopa de fideo… 

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Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas {Go4Gourmet Challenge}

I love cooking challenges, so I was completely floored to be asked to participate in the Go 4 Gourmet cooking challenge with McCormick Gourmet this month! The rules were simple: They’d ship me a box of ingredients and I would create a dish that included all the ingredients. Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of “Chopped,” but I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and create something. As soon as I found out the ingredients in the box would be paprika, chorizo and chicken stock and the requirement that I needed to also add fresh Brussels sprouts, I knew exactly what to make: A paella!

The Go4Gourmet McCormick Gourmet Challenge Box

Spanish influences in Mexican cuisine mean it’s not out of the ordinary to see different kinds of paella served in Mexico. This is a sponsored post and I received some of the ingredients from McCormick and was compensated for my time and talent to develop this recipe. I’ve written about eating paella in Mexico and shared my own paella recipe here before, along with tips for making paella (from the pan to the correct rice to use, and how to steep saffron).

Although one might not think of Brussels sprouts in a paella, this recipe is a riff off of a classic paella Valenciana that has rabbit and artichokes and I replaced the rabbit with chicken thighs (just because chicken is easier to find) and substituted Brussels sprouts for the artichokes. The earthy flavor of Brussels sprouts and spicy, salty chorizo is a perfect flavor combination as well. I knew I wanted the Brussels sprouts to retain a little crispness, so I decided to roast them with a little olive oil, paprika and kosher salt before putting them into the paella. The result: Brussels sprouts that still had a bite despite being submersed in chicken broth and rice. The chorizo also provides enough salt that aside from the kosher salt you’ll use to roast the Brussels sprouts, you likely won’t feel the need to cook with more salt.

Brussels sprouts roasted with paprika, olive oil and salt for a paella

Paella with Brussels sprouts, Spanish chorizo and chicken for the Go4Gourmet challenge with McCormick Gourmet

You can participate in this and other Go 4 Gourmet challenges at Go4Gourmet.McCormick.com! New challenges are announced every two weeks through December and you can enter your own recipes to win weekly prizes!

Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas

Earthy Brussels sprouts, spicy and salty chorizo, and chicken thighs are an excellent flavor melding for a spin on a classic paella Valenciana. This is a sponsored recipe for the Go4Gourmet challenge with McCormick Gourmet.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces baby brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for tossing and roasting the brussel sprouts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick’s paprika
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 threads of saffron plus 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
  • 7 oz chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for browning the chicken)
  • 4 oz sliced Palacios Spanish chorizo
  • 1 tsp garlic (crushed in a garlic press or diced)
  • 1 1/2 tsp McCormick’s paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste plus 6 tablespoons water (to make a tomato paste)
  • 1 1/4 cups Spanish rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Instructions

  1. Clean and halve 5 ounces of baby brussel sprouts.
  2. In a bowl, add brussel sprouts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon McCormick’s paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss until coated.
  3. In a shallow casserole dish, spread brussel sprouts out and cook under your broiler for about 5 minutes or until the brussel sprouts start to brown and crisp. Remove from the broiler and set aside.
  4. While the brussel sprouts are under the broiler, steep your saffron in a small dish with 1 1/2 tablespoons of hot water. Set aside.
  5. In your paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sear the chicken until it browns a bit.
  6. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute.
  7. Sprinkle the paprika over the chicken. Pour the tomato puree around the edge of the pan all the way around. Let it cook for a minute or two.
  8. Add the rice and chicken stock; stir gently until the rice is completely moist. Add the saffron and the little bit of water that you steeped it in. Stir gently.
  9. Add roasted brussel sprouts to the pan, tucking them into the rice and chicken stock. The brussel sprouts should be mostly covered. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until you see the rice rise, then tuck the sprig of rosemary into the rice.
  10. Turn the heat to medium low. After about 10 minutes, tuck the pieces of sliced chorizo into the rice.
  11. Continue cooking until the rice is soft and you can hear the socarrat forming along the bottom of the pan. You’ll know the socarrat is forming when you hear a little crackling noise. (Socarrat is the yummy, crunchy sort of caramelized rice that sticks to the bottom and is the prize of the paella party.) Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to achieve socarrat perfection on your first try; it takes some practice to get it right.
  12. Remove from the heat at let the pan rest for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Be sure to use baby Brussels sprouts and hard, cured Spanish chorizo.

http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2013/10/paella-chorizo-brussels-sprouts-chicken-go4gourmet-mccormick-gourmet/

Tacos de longaniza en salsa verde

Quick and easy meals for weeknights are essential in most households, mine included. But if you’re like me, you still want to put something at least semi-homemade on the table to please your family at dinnertime. Longaniza en salsa verde is one of my go-to dishes that’s both easy and quick to make and can also use homemade or store-bought ingredients depending on how much time you’ve got to cook.

tacos de longaniza en salsa verde

If you have the time, you can make my salsa verde recipe from scratch (but I suggest that you leave out the salt until after it’s cooked; longaniza can be rather salty so you may find you don’t need to add any salt in the salsa). If you don’t have time to make the salsa, you can use your favorite brand of store-bought salsa verde. I often serve this dish with a side of black beans diced onion and chopped cilantro as garnish…. 

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