Normandie Kitchen

Shared food in a share house

Tag: mexican

Chile con carne (Texas red)

Few foods are as iconic, and deeply embedded in the American Southwest, and northern Mexico as chili rojo con carne. The origins of this recipe are with the vaqueros and rancheros of northern Mexico; and it’s traditionally been made with little more than chunks of steak, chili, and cumin; onion, garlic and oregano.

The definition of “classic chili” can be contentious, and ground for heated, almost violent, debate. If you grew up in the north, midwest, or especially the northeast, you’re probably thinking of a tomatoey stew, with red beans, and optional ground beef. Maybe with corn. That “chili” has nothing to do with the dark, earthy, moderate-to spicy classic version. There are no beans. There is no corn. There’s very little tomato. This version is within that tradition — similar to Texas red, or Eliseo’s mother’s chili.

finished_chili

Brad, Eliseo

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Habanero

Habanero chilis are typically green to orange, with a sharp, fruity smell and an intense heat. They are the typical chili in Caribbean and Yucatanian cuisine, as well as Nigerian and Camaroonian. They work very well with tropical and fruity flavours, such as pineapple, lime, and bitter orange. Because they are so intensely spicy, however, you must exercise extra caution when working with them.
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Vinagreta de cebolla

When we were first experimenting with cochinita pibil, we found a recipe including this salsa of pickled purple onion, and we loved it. The simpler recipe of blanched onions in bitter orange juice seems to be more typical in Yucatan. But vinagreta de cebolla is still our favourite. Spicy, and slightly smoky from the charred habaneros; with the aroma of allspice and oregano. It’s quintessentially Caribbean, and ideal for pulled pork. It’s so good, we find ourselves eating it by the spoonful.
onion_relishBrad and Eliseo
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Bitter oranges

Bitter, or Seville oranges are too sour and bitter to eat as a fruit. But they’re important ingredients in many foods. Traditional marmalade is made with these oranges, as is orange blossom water. The rind has a cleaner, more intense aroma than sweet oranges, so it’s traditionally been used for liqueurs, such as Grand Marnier and Triple Sec; as well as for sweets. You can substitute regular orange rind, but use the Seville zest when you can. In Iran and southern Mexico, they use fresh bitter orange juice in the same way as you would use lemon or lime juice.bitter_oranges

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Cochinita pibil

Pork in banana leaf is one of the most common foods to be found in Yucatan. Slow cooked, falling-apart tender meat, with a tang of bitter orange, the earthiness of annatto, and an aroma of allspice. It’s like a Caribbean version of northern Mexican barbacoa, or Texan barbecue. The brilliant red of the sauce looks alarmingly spicy, but in fact cochinita pibil is not hot at all. In itself. The spice comes with the blazingly hot habanero salsa you may or may not want to add. This makes great tacos, or salbutes, served simply with pickled onion and salsa. But cochinita pibil is even better as a torta (sandwich).
cochinita_torta
Brad and Eliseo
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