Monday, January 16, 2012

Menudo Remix and Frito Pie

EDIT: I just cut a lot of blogs from my reader, but only if they hadn't posted since 2010.  If you are one of the aforementioned slackers and plan on reviving your blog, just comment and I'll add you again.  Muahahaha.

Howdy all!  This winter break has reached the point of excruciating!  Classes don't start again until the 30th so I have been doing a lot of cooking, focusing on Texas classics lately.  For the new year, I had a hankering for menudo and decided to tackle the dreaded chile paste again.  This time...SUCCESS!  This is the best menudo yet!  I am so stoked.  If you haven't tried menudo yet, you are seriously missing out.  Onto the recipes...

this menudo is from MoFo 2010...same basic recipe, though
Vegan Menudo
(Serves 6)
gluten free
soy free option: Replace TVP with 15 oz can of rinsed and drained pinto beans.

1 cup TVP pieces (not granules) rehydrated in 1 cup of boiling water
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small white onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp Mexican oregano, crumbled
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp fine sea salt
6 cups beef-flavored or regular vegetable broth
⅓ cup Ancho Chile Paste (recipe below)
15 oz can hominy , drained and rinsed
minced red, white, or green onion
lime or lemon wedges

Heat the oil in a large saucepan medium high heat. Add the onion and carrot. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

While the onion and carrot are cooking, get the spice mix ready. Mince the garlic and set aside. Mix the oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, and salt together.

When the vegetables are softened, add the garlic and spice mix to the pot. Cook for about a minute before adding the broth, chile paste, hominy, and TVP to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes. Garnish with onion, fresh cilantro, and lime or lemon wedges.

Ancho Chile Paste
soy free
gluten free

This can be made with any dried chile you like, though I favor ancho for its deep, bitter flavor and mild spice.  You can store this in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.  If storing in the freezer, I suggest doubling the recipe and freezing in 1 Tbsp cubes.

2 oz dried ancho chiles, seeded and stems removed
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp Mexican oregano, crumbled
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp sugar
½ cup vegetable broth

Toast the dried chiles in a pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Watch them carefully so they do not burn. Empty the chiles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes.

Drain the chiles and place them in a blender or food processor along with the garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, sugar, and vegetable broth. Blend until completely smooth.

The chile paste is great mixed into soups instead of chile powder!  It's also fantastic in chile or used in sausages instead of tomato paste.

Now I leave you with this picture of Frito pie.  I came up with a most excellent recipe for Texas chili yesterday.  Really good stuff.

frito pie with Isa's cashew queso, onion, and pickled jalapenos
I hope everybody has a Happy MLK Jr Day!!!