Archive for August 15th, 2010

15th August
written by Loren

This man accurately conveys my enthusiasm for Mexican night.

Despite being of distinctly Scandinavian heritage, I absolutely love Mexican food.  Something about the combination of spicy peppers, lime juice, and cilantro makes just about anything taste pretty damn good.  Mexican food also plays very nicely with margaritas and beer, making it a great meal before hitting the town (if you can refrain stuffing your face with delicious tacos that is).

Mexican night at my place is somewhat of an endeavor since I make everything but the tortillas from scratch. Homemade black beans, onion salsa, beefy-chorizo goodness. But you can always make the sides beforehand and then just make the meat and beans before eating. Whatever, figure out the timing yourself, just get your ass to the store and buy these ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (Relatively lean)
  • ¾ lb chorizo. Try to find the stuff that was ground in-house by the butchers. That stuff that comes in the high pressure plastic casings is basically a giant Mexican flavored Slim Jim.
  • Package of tortillas
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of Rotel chili peppers+tomatoes
  • 2 large red onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 Jalapenos
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • Lettuce or cabbage
  • 1 avocado
  • Either beef stock, or beef bullion
  • Spices :cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper

So we’ve got three separate recipes here. The meat, the beans and the salsa. You’ll have to find your own recipe for margaritas for now.

This stuff is bitchin! Wait, do the kids still say bitchin?

The salsa is pretty simple. Take 1.5 diced red onions (save the other half for the bean recipe); add it to a mixing or serving bowl.  Add the juice of 3 lime halves, ¼ cup of minced cilantro, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and 2 minced jalapenos. If you like your food spicy then leave some to most of the white ribbing from the pepper in there when you clean out the seeds. If not, make sure to scrape it all off. Add a few shakes of cumin and chili powder (I like to be precise with my measurements), a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it all together and taste, see if it needs a bit more salt, pepper, lime juice, etc. Throw that in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors mingle.  No, there are no tomatoes in this salsa. They make salsa too watery for tacos, although perfect for chips.  Finally, don’t be reluctant to try this even if you dislike raw onion. The lime juice pretty much neutralized the sharp onion flavor.

For the beans: throw a medium saucepot on the stove over medium heat. Let it preheat for a bit then add a 1 tbsp of olive oil and the remaining half of the diced red onion, with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Let the onions sweat for a minute or two, turn the heat down if they start to brown. Then add 3 cloves of minced garlic and stir. After about 30 seconds add the can of Rotel, but drain off most of the excess liquid first.  Then add the can black beans which have been rinsed and drained.  That needs to cook for 5-10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Leave the cover off because some of the liquid needs to cook away, but don’t let it get too dry. When the beans soften up, add 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro and the juice of half a lime then take it off the heat and mash it together.  I use a potato masher for this; works great. If you don’t have a tato masher, you could probably use forks or spoons or something similarly primitive, but I will think less of you. Just go buy one.

For the meat: preheat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the beef and break it up in the pan then let it sit until it gets nicely browned on one side. Flip it over then add the chorizo and mix it up. Before starting the meat you should make this little spice slurry: take 1/3 cup of the beef stock; add ¼ tsp of cumin and ½ tsp of chili powder and oregano. You could also add 1 tbsp of minced poblano or chipotle peppers, if you wanted to. Top it off with 1/8 tsp of corn starch powder for a thickener, and then mix the slurry together. I tried to think of a less appetizing phrase than spice slurry but came up short. Anyways, drain the meat of most of its grease once the chorizo is cooked, then add the spice slurry and mix to coat the meat.