By Caroline Gibbs, Big City Chefs Food Writer
Though you never need an excuse to throw a fantastic dinner party, you can use this Cinco de Mayo as a reason to invite over your closest friends and enjoy delicious food and celebrate Mexican heritage and culture. Here are a few dishes to spice up your menu this May 5th. Arriba, arriba, andale, andale to the kitchen!
(Recipes taken from The Big City Chefs Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Entertaining)
Spicy Pinto Beans
Yields 6 servings
2 cups Dried pinto beans
6 cups Water
1 Tomato, seeded and diced
2 Serrano chilies, seeded and diced small
½ White onion, diced small
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Cilantro
1. Soak beans in water overnight. Boil beans for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until tender and bursting. Or you can buy whole cooked pinto beans in the can. Drain them before using.
2. Saute garlic, onion and chilies together in oil or drippings until onions are clear. Add tomatoes, cilantro and cooked beans. Cook for several minutes while smashing beans with a spoon or mashed potato press. Only smash about 2/3 of batch. Add S and P to taste and serve immediately. Garnish with jack cheese.
Note: Green chilies pair best with white wines, and you can find the perfect white by matching its acidity to that of the dish.
Spicy Ranchero Chicken
Yields 2 servings
2 Organic chicken breasts
1 1/2 large Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 1/2 green Chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
1/2 medium Onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Chicken broth
Kosher salt, to taste
Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon All-Purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons Chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups Water
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
1. Poach chicken breasts in boiling, salted water 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. In saucepan, mix together tomatoes, green chiles, onion and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer thirty minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add salt, to taste, and jalapeno pepper.
3. In another pan, blend flour; chili powder and oil. Add water and salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer gently 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour sauce into a 9-inch square baking dish and place chicken breasts on top of sauce.
4. Pour green chile and tomato sauce over the chicken breasts and sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is tender and cheese is melted.
Creamed Green Chilies, Corn Soufflé and Jicama Slaw
For the Jicama Slaw:
1 Medium jicama
1 Small carrot
1 Small zucchini
1/2 Red bell pepper
1 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
4 Key limes, juiced
1 teaspoon White vinegar3 tablespoons Olive oil
For the Creamed Chilies:
1 tablespoon butter
2 Poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, seeds removed and cut into strips
8 ounces Mexican “crema” (or heavy cream can be used as a subsitute)
For the Soufflé:
1 cup Whole kernel corn
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Milk
1 cup Cream
3 tablespoons Flour
3 Egg yolks, beaten
3 Egg whites , beaten stiff
3/4 cup Cheddar cheese
1. Jicama slaw: Cut all veggies (jicama, carrot, zucchini, red bell pepper) into shoe-string size matchsticks and toss. Add remaining ingredients (cilantro, key limes, white vinegar, olive oil) and toss again.
2. Corn Souffle: Make a roux by combining butter and flour and cooking on med. for a couple minutes. Add cream, S and P, and milk and bring to a simmer. Add beaten egg yolks and mix well. Cook 1 minute. Add cheese and corn. Mix well. Add half the egg whites and mix. Fold in the rest of whites and immediately place in soufflé cups or cupcake pan. Place on a sheet tray with a thin waterbath for even cooking. Cook at 350 for 45 minutes or until souffle’ browns and is firm.
3. Creamed Green Chilies: Add butter and chilies to saucepan over medium-high and cook until softened. Add cream and lower heat slightly. Let cream and chilies simmer until the mixture has reduced by half. Remove from heat.