Mexican Recipes

Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Mexican cuisine is one of richest and most varied in the world - hot, spicy and colourful.

Most of today's Mexican food is based on pre-Hispanic traditions, including the Aztecs and Maya, combined with culinary trends introduced by SPanish colonists.

Enjoy homemade Mexican dishes with these authentic recipes from Monica Medina-Mora and Angeles Ayala, both originally from Mexico City.

Leg Of Lamb With Adobo Sauce

Adobo is a sauce made from puréed dried chillies, herbs and vinegar as the main ingredients.  It is used as a serving sauce as well as a marinade for meats.  This aromatic sauce complements the flavour of the lamb perfectly in this recipe, and is pictured above.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 x 1.5-2 kg (3-4 lb) leg of lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wild rocket leaves, to garnish (optional)

Adobo Sauce

4-5 ancho chillies, deseeded
1 small onion
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
300 ml (½ pint) chicken stock
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Method

1. Rub the lamb with the oil and garlic, season with salt and pepper and place in a roasting tin.  Roast in a preheated oven, 220ºC (425ºF), Gas Mark 7, for 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC (350ºF), gas Mark 4, and roast for a further 50 minutes per kg (2lb), basting occasionally.  The meat should still be pink inside.

2. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, remove the stems from the chillies, tear the chillies open and remove the seeds.  Heat a dry, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and lightly roast the chillies for a few seconds on both sides.  Transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 15-20 minutes until soft.

3. Drain the chillies and transfer to a blender or food processor.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, and process until smooth.  Pass through a sieve.

4. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the chilli mixture and simmer gently, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes until cooked.  If the sauce gets too thick, add a little more stock.  Keep warm.

5. When the meat is ready, transfer to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil.  Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.  Slice the meat and serve covered with the adobo sauce, garnished with rocket leaves if liked.

Nutrient Analysis Per Serving: 1485 kJ - 360 kcal - 57 g protein - 3 g carbohydrate - 2 g sugars - 34 g fat -13 g saturates - 0 g fibre - 1344 mg sodium.

Healthy Tip: Lamb is a good source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, which is highly valuable for its beneficial effects on the immune system.


Pork Fillet In Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Pumpkin seed sauce, known as pipián, is a pre-Hispanic sauce, and used to be served with fish or game before the arrival of the Spanish, who introduced pork to the country.  This delicious and delicate sauce is prepared with pepitas - pumpkin seeds - which are a highly nutritious and a very popular ingredient in Mexican cooking.

pork fillet in pumpkin seedIngredients

750 g (1½ lb) pork fillet
Salt
Plain White Rice to serve

Pumpkin seed Sauce

450 g (14½ oz) tomatillos, husks removed
5 green chillies
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
25 g (1 oz) fresh coriander
1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
250 g (8 oz) pumpkin seeds, shelled and toasted, plus extra to garnish
Salt

Method

1. Lightly sprinkle the pork fillet with salt.  Place in a roasting tin and roast in a preheated oven, 220ºC (425ºF) Gas Mark 7, for 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC (350ºF), Gas Mark 4, and roast for a further 30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

2. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat a dry heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and roast the tomatillos, chillies and garlic cloves, turning occasionally, until soft.  Leave to cool, then peel the garlic.

3. Transfer the tomatillos, chillies and garlic to a blender or food processor, add the coriander and half the stock and blend to a fairly smooth texture.  Pass through a sieve.

4. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and gently simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes until cooked.  Season to taste with salt.

5. Transfer the mixture again to a blender or food processor, add the pumpkin seeds and the remaining stock and blend to a fairly smooth texture.  Check the seasoning.  Place in a heatproof dish and keep warm in a large saucepan half-filled with water over a low heat.

6. When the meat is ready, transfer the fillet to a warm serving dish, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.  Slice the pork and serve with the pumpkin seed sauce and the plain white rice (recipe below), sprinkled with pumpkin seeds to garnish.

White Rice

Ingredients

Serves 4

325 g (11 oz) basmati rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
500 ml (17 fl oz) chicken stock
Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lime
2 flat leaf parsley sprigs
Salt

Method

1. Soak the rice in hot water for 15 minutes.  Drain, rinse well and drain again.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the rice, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until it loses its stickiness.  Add the stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and add the lime juice and parsley sprigs.  Cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.  Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes. 

To serve, transfer the rice to a warm platter.

Nutrient Analysis Per Serving:  2944 kJ - 707 kcal - 56 g protein - 13 g carbohydrate - 4 g sugars - 48 g fat 10 g saturates - 1 g fibre 370 mg sodium.

Healthy Tip: Pork tenderloin is an excellent source of protein and thiamine (vitamin B1), essential for energy production, nerve function and muscle tone.  The pumpkin seeds are a very good source of several nutrients including manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as protein and monounsaturated fats.


Scallop Tostadas

A delicate and tasty starter made with fresh scallops placed on a tostada, a crunchy corn tortilla.  A tostada is a typical antojito (snack), popular throughout Mexico.  It can be either eaten plain or topped with fresh ingredients that vary according to the region.

Scallop tostadasIngredients

Serves 4

200 g (7 oz) uncooked scallops, white flesh only
30 g (1 oz) red onion, finely sliced
2 jalapeño chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
10 cm (4 inch) piece of cucumber, deseeded and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 soft corn tortillas, preferably small
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Garnish

Fresh coriander leaves
Lime wedges

Method

1. Slice each scallop into 3-4 equal pieces about 5 mm (¼ inch) thick and place in a glass bowl.  Add the red onion, chillies, cucumber and chives.  Gently stir and mix with the lime juice and oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

2. If you cannot find small corn tortillas, use a 10-12 cm (4-5 inch) round pastry cutter to cut out rounds from large corn tortillas.  Place the tortillas on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven, 180ºC (350ºF), Gas Mark 4, for 8-10 minutes until crisp.  Leave to cool before using.

3. Assemble the tostadas just before serving.  Using a slotted spoon, place a quarter of the scallop mixture on top of each tostada.  Garnish with coriander leaves and lime wedges and serve immediately.

Nutrient Analysis Per Serving: (using small tortillas or cut small rounds, weighing approximately 17 g (½ oz) each) 727 kJ - 173 kcal - 14 g protein - 13 g carbohydrate - 1 g sugars - 8 g fat - 1 g saturates - 1 g fibre - 139 mg sodium.

Mexican Recipes

Healthy Tip: Crisping the tortillas in the oven rather than deep-frying them, as is traditionally the cooking method, makes these tostadas even healthier.

These recipes are taken from Fesh Mexican, by Monica Medina-Mora and Angeles Ayala, which can be purchased at all book shops for £16.99 or online from Amazon for £10.19.


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