Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Kitchen My World - Mexico

After a long absence from MKMW, I was eager to jump back on the wagon and participate this month. My Kitchen My World has changed around a little bit since the last time I participated. Now there are two countries each month, and recipes are posted on the second and fourth Saturday. The first country for May is Mexico, in honor of Cinco de Mayo - I knew I could do this one, because I love Mexican foods!

I have this great cookbook, the Better Homes and Gardens Mexican Cookbook, published 1977. It was my source for all the recipes in this post.

All I had to do was flip through the book and pick a few delicious-looking recipes. We have a plato mayor (main dish), sopa (soup), and postre (dessert).

Since I'm pregnant, we didn't do this whole menu all at once - we spread out the dishes over several days. If I were to try eating all this in one sitting, I would end up with a very upset tummy that would plague me for hours! Not to mention trying to plan and cook it all at once is just more than I could manage, even with Jeff doing a majority of the work. Doing each dish separately ended up being a great idea because we could enjoy and savor each individual recipe on its own, instead of having one big marathon meal where no one individual dish stood out. Also, it was like we got to celebrate Cinco de Mayo all week long! It worked out great!

The entree for our Mexican menu was an absolutely fabulous dish called Pollo Aguascalientes, or Chicken Aguascalientes-Style. Aguascalientes ("hot waters") is a region of Mexico located northwest of Mexico City. It is so named because of the abundance of hot springs in the area. Based on this dish, I would say that they have a pretty good handle on making good food - this was absolutely fantastic! I loved loved loved! the combination of flavors in this chicken and we will definitely be making this again and again.

Pollo Aguascalientes
2 1/2- to 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up (instead of buying a whole chicken, we used what we had available - two thighs and three drumsticks)
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I skipped the peeling and seeding and it worked fine)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. cornstarch

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet brown chicken in cooking oil about 15 minutes. Add onion and garlic, cook 5 minutes more. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, sugar, salt, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and 1/2 cup water. Cover; simmer 30-35 minutes or till chicken is tender and cooked through.

Remove chicken to platter; keep warm. Measure pan juices; add water to make 2 cups. Return to skillet. Combine cornstarch and 2 tbsp. cold water; add to skillet. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.

Spoon some sauce over chicken; pass remainder. Traditionally served with shredded lettuce, jalapeno peppers, fried potatoes (slice a potato or two, and fry in butter), and chorizo (we skipped the chorizo). Makes 4 servings.

This chicken dish, though supremely delicious, was a lot of work, so next time I really want to try cooking it in the slow cooker. I think the recipe will convert to slow cooker really easily. Just add the ingredients into the cooker all at once, then cook until the chicken is done. When we do it that way, I'll post how it goes.

The soup we chose to make was a deliciously simple Sopa Ranchera, or Ranch-Style Soup. With basic ingredients and easy instructions, the soup was quick and easy to make, and very delicious. This is another one that I wouldn't hesitate to make again.

Sopa Ranchera
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. cooking oil
4 cups chicken broth (we used turkey broth from a turkey we roasted up a while ago)
1/4 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 cup frozen peas

In saucepan cook onion in hot oil till tender but not brown. Stir in chicken broth, rice, tomato puree, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in frozen peas; simmer, covered, 5 minutes longer. Makes 4 servings.

Dessert was absolutely delicious. I decided to make the same thing that we did for Cinco de Mayo last year - Leche Quemada, or Caramel Milk Pudding. It's basically sweetened condensed milk that's baked until it's browned and set - super rich and super delicious, it ends up similar to caramel. Last time I baked this in individual ramekins, but this time I poured it all in one pan, and we served it with fresh fruit and whipped topping.

My bowl, nice and pretty

Leche Quemada con Frutas
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 mango, sliced
1 banana, sliced
1 apple, sliced
Frozen whipped topping, thawed (or I guess you could do real whipped cream if you wanted)

Pour milk into an 8-inch square baking dish; cover with foil. Place in shallow pan; pour boiling water around it to a depth of 3/4 inch. Bake in 425-degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm or cold over sliced fruit, top with whipped topping. Serves 4 to 5. We did one serving over mango and banana, then wanted more so did another serving over apple. It tasted like caramel apple! But we only took pictures of the mango/banana bowls.

Jeff's bowl, lots more whipped topping!

There will be a round-up of all the other Mexican menus at My Kitchen My World. I'm excited to see what everyone else made! Buen provecho!


Shelby said...

Stephanie, it is great to see you posting! I have that same cookbook!

Katy ~ said...

Well done. It's so much fun to try food from different cultures and to see how they interpret the use of spices and their combinations with other foods. How sweet that your husband helps in the kitchen!

NKP said...

Lot of delicious Mexican fare, great work!

Katy ~ said...

Happy Mother's Day!

Amber said...

LOVE that you take a recipe adn just make it work with what you have. I am a constant lurker..and you've given me such courage to just COOK with an end result in mind!
:) thank you!

rosasdolcevita said...

Hi Stephanie,
This my first time visiting your blog. I found you through MKMW. What a wonderful roundup you have here of Mexican dishes and the ingredients are so simple. I love recipes that have fewer ingredients.

Congrats on your pregnancy! I'm also expecting baby #2 and I already have a one year old.

Looking forward to visiting again.


joannabug said...

I had no idea you could make a custard out of sweetened condensed milk. It looks lovely!

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...


Everything looks delicious! I wanted to let you know the round-up is now posted. We're so glad to have you back at MKMW, I know I missed your creations.

I have that Mexican cookbook and love it, it's an oldie but goodie :) I will have to look up some of your recipes and give them a try.

Take care,