Tag Archives: Mexican

Mexican Beef with Eggs

Apologies for my absence as of late. Allow me to sum it up by way of doling out some pearls of life wisdom:

  • Don’t have prolonged mold exposure in your apartment. It can make you sick.
  • Don’t get the flu. Especially don’t get the flu at the same time as your husband, i.e. the only other competent adult in your household. Turns out, cats are completely worthless when it comes to replenishing paper towels, cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry!
  • But if you do get the flu, do binge-watch both “The People Vs. OJ Simpson” (now on Netflix), AND “30 for 30’s OJ: Made in America”, on ESPN. Both excellent, particularly the latter.
  • Do go to Mexico for a week’s vacation!
  • Do give yourself the time and space you need to catch up on work after all that crap happens.
  • Do eventually get back to blogging because you’ve missed it. J

So, if you have had a few weeks like mine, you too will probably find yourself needing a quick, weeknight meal that also happens to be intensely comforting and incredibly tasty, budget-friendly, and right up your alley if you love Mexican flavors as much as I do. Oh, and it happens to be low-carb! Yea! Anytime I can feel like I’m eating a decadent feast when the net carbs are quite low is a win for me. Not that you couldn’t serve this with bread or tortilla chips. I will never judge that. Oh, and believe it or not, leftovers work beautifully. I know, I’d never believe me either if I hadn’t personally experienced it. But I would never lie to you, this really does reheat just fine. Enjoy!

Source: What Katie Ate On the Weekend by Katie Quinn Davies

Ingredients:
4 tsp olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 tbs chipotle hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1 (28 oz.) can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 large handful of cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish if you like
4 large eggs
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet (I used my cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no traces of pink remain and the meat has nicely browned. Add the onion, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and cooked through. Stir in the chipotle hot sauce, tomato, and cilantro, season again with a dash of salt and pepper, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until slightly thickened. It should have the texture of slightly loose chili.
Using a large spoon, make 4 indents in the beef mixture and crack an egg into each one. Lightly season only the tops of each egg with salt and pepper. (I like to first crack my eggs into small ramekins or prep bowls, that way you can start over without consequence if you accidentally crack the yolk or get a bad egg or something).
Cover the pot and cook 5-7 minutes, or until the whites are set. They’ll look unset when it’s ready if you, like me, are going for a runny yolk. You can cook it longer if you want your yolks set. When done, turn off the heat and garnish with the sliced jalapeno and extra cilantro. Serve immediately.

Classic Mexican Picadillo

Classic Mexican Picadillo

I must apologize for my absenteeism, right before blaming the walking pneumonia-turned double ear infection that’s had me quite derailed the past couple weeks. I do not recommend it. Starting to feel just this side of human again = let’s blog some more!

Classic Mexican Picadillo

Unlike the end of 2015, December 2016 has been, well, cold, and we’ve even seen some snowflakes! And since I’m well aware it’s not just me battling illness – the season for that has begun, grrr – I figured some healthy comfort food to soothe embattled senses and perk us up was in order.

Classic Mexican Picadillo

I believe Mexican Picadillo to be Mexico’s precursor to Texas’ chili, but without the extra calories we all love to pile on in the name of garnishes, which let’s face it, sounds much fancier and more virtuous than admitting we made chili solely to eat copious amounts of shredded cheddar, sour cream, and Frito scoops. No, you don’t do any of that to Picadillo. The most you do to Picadillo is maybe serve some warm corn tortillas or tortilla chips on the side.

Classic Mexican Picadillo

Which, if you’re now wondering what the point is, 1) I don’t blame you; and 2) let me assure you it’s incredibly delicious. This isn’t chili. The flavors and textures are familiar, yes, but different – less heat, more subtle sweetness, and if this makes sense, it just feels more pure than chili. Not that I’ll ever say a bad word about chili – that’s certainly not what I mean. I will recommend this (highly!) to both chili-heads and those who aren’t so crazy about chili. If you, like me, adore a bowl of chili, this will broaden your horizons and introduce a lovely, easy one-pot weeknight dinner into your repertoire with far less calories than chili; and if you don’t groove on a bowl o’ red, I’d say this is distinct enough that you should definitely give it a shot. Everyone, enjoy!

Classic Mexican Picadillo

Source: The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 lb. ground beef (I used sirloin)
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno or serrano chile, seeded and diced
3 tbs chili powder
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup beef stock
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with their juice (can be fire-roasted if you prefer)
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
½ cup dry red wine
½ cup raisins
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
Chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish

Directions:
Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbs olive oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Add the ground beef and cook it, breaking up lumps until browned. Add the second tbs of olive oil and add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook 30 seconds more, stirring to evenly combine.
Now stir in the stock, tomatoes with their juice, tomato sauce, wine and raisins. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans and olives and cook 15 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve hot, sprinkling each serving with cilantro.

Polvorones

Polvorones

I figure, it’s been a month (gulp!) so maybe I should stop neglecting my blog, huh? The past four weeks have gone like this: my birthday; work stress; rushing the cat to the vet after he puked blood, upon which we discovered three coins in his stomach (!!!!) – they’re gone now and no, that was not cheap; a week in Chicago for a good friend’s wedding; recovering from said trip to Chicago seeing as I haven’t had a week that debaucherous and sleep-deprived since college – so worth it but oh it hurt; catching up on work; election stresses; more work; and here we are!

Polvorones

A few weeks ago I promised to memorialize Marcela Valladolid’s recipe for Polvorones on this site, and today I shall deliver. For anyone not familiar, polvorones are amazing, shortbread-y little nutty cookies, a staple in Spanish and Latin American cooking, made by grinding and/or chopping lots of walnuts into a thick shortbread-type cookie dough and baked off.

But that’s not the best part – that happens after they come out of the oven and get rolled in powdered sugar. What happens when you roll warm cookies in powdered sugar is that the sugar sort of “sets” on the cookie and makes this almost-shell of sweetness around the entire cookie, but also becomes part of the cookie itself. Obviously, it makes them completely irresistible. So, get them out of the house before you eat the entire platter!

Polvorones

You can almost watch this process happening – as the sugar sets it’s like it becomes a part of the cookie – very cool :). Totally delicious and classic. Try them if you’ve never done so. Enjoy!

Source: Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup ground walnuts
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in the flour, then the ground and chopped walnuts. Divide the dough in half, forming each in to a ball. Wrap them separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Put the powdered sugar in a separate bowl and set aside. Grease a baking sheet or line with a silpat.
Working with half the chilled dough at a time and keeping the rest in the fridge, roll 2-teaspoon-size chunks of the dough between your palms to form balls. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet, spacing them ½-inch apart.
Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom and just pale golden on top, about 18 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then toss the warm cookies in the powdered sugar. Transfer the sugar-coated cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Featured Cookbook Friday: Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid

I picked this week’s cookbook, Fresh Mexico by Food Network’s Marcela Valladolid, on something of a lark – I needed a salsa for some tacos I was making, Marcela’s first book has a beautiful recipe for yellow tomato pico de gallo; once I made that one, I decided to keep going! It was a good week. 🙂

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The Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo was delicious – a very classic Mexican pico but with a twist of yellow tomatoes instead, which makes it slightly sweeter. Good on tacos, good on tortilla chips!

Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo

Next up I decided to do some baking – another Mexican classic, Polvorones! These are fabulous little cookies, coming to the blog in their own post soon!

Polvorones

Since fresh sweet corn will be leaving us soon, I made this extremely tasty Mexican version of a classic potato salad: Grilled Corn and Poblano Potato Salad. Baby potatoes are boiled then halved, corn is grilled on the cob, poblanos are roasted and peeled, then the whole thing gets tossed together in a mayonnaise and sour cream dressing with plenty of scallions and cilantro. Very nice!

Grilled Corn and Poblano Potato Salad

Lastly, I’ve long since been intrigued by one of her dinner salad recipes: White Bean and Octopus Salad, so this provided as good a time as any! The recipe calls for baby octopus, which I couldn’t find, so I (nervously!) ordered already cooked octopus legs from Fresh Direct, praying they wouldn’t be overcooked, (they weren’t, yea!) and just warmed them in some garlicky olive oil, which became the base for the dressing. Beyond that, I made the salad as written, and we both absolutely loved it!

White Bean and Octopus Salad

I really like this book. So far everything I’ve tried has turned out delicious!

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Years ago, when I finally decided to start eating from the produce aisle on a voluntary basis, I’ve been searching for a vegetable-based taco that meets with my admittedly high and exacting taco standards. Which are the following: they must be filling and hefty, no matter what the contents; flavor must be extremely bold and in your face; there must be a touch of heat and spice from chiles of some kind; there must be multiple components that complement each other.

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Vegetarian tacos generally fail at most of these criteria, particularly the last one. It often feels like people, more specifically restaurants and food trucks, think that if the filling is vegetable or bean based, then it might be overkill to top it with a vegetable or bean-based salsa. No!! Not at all! In fact it’s quite necessary to provide that contrast of textures, and that is a bit tougher on a vegetable-based taco.

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

But with this blog post, I’m proving beyond any doubt that it is entirely possible. The key is choosing different textures between the main event filling and the garnish. This taco is, thus far, my hands down favorite meat-free taco ever, and it’s not a stretch to say it’s going in my top ten tacos eaten ever. The zucchini here is chopped and sautéed, so a chopped tomato salsa really wouldn’t work. The textures and shapes would be too similar. Corn kernels are a perfect solution. Then the chipotle crema adds a creamy note that this taco just begs for, plus that heat and spice that I personally require on all tacos.

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Carnivore or vegetarian, I don’t care, just try these. Whatever your eating habits/philosophy, it doesn’t matter – you will NOT be disappointed. Enjoy!

Source: Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

Ingredients:

TACOS:
2 tbs olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cubed zucchini
Salt and black pepper, to taste
8 corn tortillas, warmed

CORN SALSA:
2 ears grilled corn on the cob, kernels cut from cob
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and black pepper, to taste

CHIPOTLE CREMA:
3 tbs plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch each of salt and black pepper

Directions:
For the TACOS: heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook, stirring, until the zucchini becomes slightly tender, 5-6 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
For the CORN SALSA, combine the corn kernels, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl and toss together.
For the CREMA, whisk together yogurt, adobo sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper.
To assemble the tacos, add some zucchini mixture to each warm tortilla and cover it with corn salsa. Drizzle some crema on top. Serve immediately.

Mexican Hot Dog Tacos

Mexican Hot Dog Tacos

I actually made this recipe last summer, trying to use up an excess of corn tortillas before they spoiled, and while this is a great summer recipe (I could totally see chowing down on this after a day at the pool), I also think it’s quite appropriate to share at this time of year: you know, when winter is winding down and the weather is showing hints of warming up consistently, and it’s almost time to start thinking about how we might look in a swimsuit, but we can bury our heads in the proverbial sand just a few weeks longer.

Mexican hot dog tacos

The Mexican hot dog is a crafty delicious thing that I’m pretty sure was not invented by a cardiologist, but rather enterprising street cart owners who capitalized on drunk people exiting dance clubs and wanting something a little greasy. It’s a hot dog split in half lengthwise, stuffed with jalapenos and cheese, then wrapped in bacon to seal it all up. Putting such a thing in a tortilla and dousing it with salsa to make a taco is one of the best things ever.

tomato based salsa

Bookmark this recipe for your next splurge day. I promise it’s so worth it. Enjoy!

Mexican Hot Dog Tacos

Source: adapted from Dos Caminos Tacos by Ivy Start

Ingredients:

TACOS:
6 hot dogs
2-3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
About 18 slices of pickled jalapeno
12 slices bacon
6 corn tortillas, warmed

SALSA:
Canola oil, for greasing
4 ripe Roma tomatoes (about 1 lb.)
2 unpeeled cloves garlic
1 medium white onion
1 small jalapeno
1 dried chile de arbol, stemmed
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, coarse stems removed
Kosher salt

Directions:
First make the SALSA: position a broiler rack about 8 inches from the broiler, or as close as you can get while still being safe.
Pour a little canola oil onto a thickly folded paper towel, then wipe it all over a rimmed baking sheet. Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeno, and chile de arbol on the prepared baking sheet. Tomatoes and jalapeno should be skin side up. Broil until the skins are charred and somewhat blackened.
Leave the blackened skin on the vegetables and let them cool until you can handle them. Take the garlic and squeeze the flesh out from the skins over your blender or food processor. Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, chile de arbol, lime juice, and cilantro to the blender. Process until you get that chunky-smooth texture of restaurant salsa. Add salt to taste – you’ll need a good bit of it. Set the salsa aside to cool down to room temperature.
For the TACOS: with a very sharp knife, cut each hot dog open lengthwise, making a slit but not cutting all the way through, so you could open the hot dog like a book.
Slice the cheese into strips, then cut those strips lengthwise so they will fit nestled into the slit you just cut into the hot dogs. Place the cheese strips into the cut open hot dogs, using as many as you need to fit the entire length of the hot dog. Wedge 2-3 (depending on their size) pickled jalapeno slices into the open hot dogs. It’s fine to squish them in there. Now wrap each hot dog in 2 slices of bacon, securing with toothpicks at the ends.
Preheat your grill, indoor or outdoor is fine, to medium-high heat. I used an indoor grill for this to prevent the inevitable fiery flare-ups that would have happened (thanks to the bacon fat) on the charcoal grill outside. Drizzle or wipe down the grill with a touch of canola oil to prevent sticking, then place the bacon-wrapped hot dogs on the grill cut side up. When the cheese has mostly melted, flip the hot dogs and continue cooking until the bacon is crisped up and browned. The whole thing will take 10-12 minutes total. Remove the hot dogs from the grill with tongs, then carefully remove the toothpicks.
To serve, place 1 hot dog in a warmed tortilla and spoon some salsa over top. Serve immediately. You’ll likely have extra salsa – serve with tortilla chips for dipping and refrigerate the leftovers for a snack later.

Duck Chorizo Tacos with Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Duck Chorizo Tacos with Brussels Sprouts Slaw

I made my first batch of homemade fresh chorizo about three years ago, and I haven’t looked back once. The homemade is infinitely superior to the store-bought taste-wise, and no scary-sounding, unpronounceable ingredients either. Chorizo is almost exclusively made from pork shoulder (or so I thought!), and that cut is fatty enough that you don’t really need to hunt down fatback. Although you can, and it’s fantastic that way too!

Duck Chorizo Tacos with Brussels Sprouts Slaw

But, like I said, I had always thought pork had the market cornered on chorizo, only to find out I was happily mistaken – duck chorizo is a thing! So when Fresh Direct sent me a duck breast that was misshapen and didn’t look all that great for searing and slicing, I decided to run it through the meat grinder and try my hand at some duck chorizo.

Duck Chorizo Tacos with Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Wow. Yeah. It’s phenomenal! I opted for tacos, and I wanted to keep the tacos themselves on the simple side to really showcase the chorizo. So I’d been thinking a cabbage slaw, but saw these giant Brussels sprouts at the market and since Brussels sprouts are little cabbages, I decided to try it.

Duck Chorizo Tacos with Brussels Sprouts Slaw

As duck chorizo is and very well should be a thing, so should Brussels sprouts slaw. It was really fantastic! A tad more flavor than regular green cabbage, but it definitely didn’t overpower the duck flavor. This is definitely a repeat-worthy meal here. Enjoy!

Duck Chorizo Tacos with Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Source: Duck Chorizo is from Harold Dieterle’s Kitchen Notebook by Harold Dieterle; the rest is from yours truly

Ingredients:

CHORIZO:
1 lb. ground duck, doesn’t matter what cut just make sure the skin and fat is ground along with the meat
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs sweet paprika
4 tsp chili powder
2 tbs ground fennel
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs sherry vinegar
Kosher salt

SLAW:
4 giant Brussels sprouts or their equivalent, trimmed, halved, and very thinly sliced across
Juice of half a lime
Kosher salt and black pepper
Slight drizzle of olive oil

8 corn tortillas, warmed
Minced cilantro, for garnish
Crumbled Cotija cheese, for garnish

Directions:
To make the CHORIZO, place the duck, garlic, paprika, chili powder, fennel, oregano, sherry vinegar, and kosher salt to taste in a large bowl. Stir to incorporate, then refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
Right before you’re ready to cook the chorizo, make the SLAW. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts to a mixing bowl and add the lime juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside until serving.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a slight drizzle of olive oil (the duck has plenty of fat!) and once it’s hot, add the duck. Cook, crumbling with a spoon and stirring, until the duck is cooked through. Let cool just slightly before assembling the tacos.
To assemble the tacos, fill a warmed tortilla with the duck chorizo, then top with slaw and garnish as you like it – I kept mine simple with a little minced cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese. Serve immediately.

Asian-Style Duck Tacos with Plum Pico de Gallo

Asian Style Duck Tacos with Plum Pico de Gallo

I think most of us in the US would agree that peaches tend to be the heavyweight champions of stone fruit season. But if that’s indeed true, then I’d say that plums are the minor league champs, and deserve their day in the spotlight. And I for one get very excited when these underrated champs reach their peak high season! My local grocery store has them on full display, right there on the sidewalk, both black and red varieties looking proud, plump, and delicious.

black plums

I knew I wanted a savory application for the beauties, and thanks to me buying twice as many corn tortillas than I needed last weekend, tacos began to make a lot of sense. (Due to the excess of corn tortillas, we’ve actually been eating a LOT of tacos around here lately).

plum pico de gallo

I must admit, I’ve never before warmed to the idea of “fusion tacos” – but, well, when you’re eating as many tacos as we have been lately, the idea starts sounding better and better. So that’s where Asian style duck tacos come into play. These are reminiscent of a Peking duck. They marinate in a basic Chinese style combination of garlic, ginger, soy, and hoisin.

Asian Style Duck Tacos with Plum Pico de Gallo

The plums actually stand in for, rather than accompany, the traditional tomatoes used in pico de gallo, which gives the salsa a fruitier and very bright taste. Its texture is maybe *slightly* softer than traditional tomato-based pico. But the plums complemented the duck beautifully. I hope y’all will enjoy these!

Asian Style Duck Tacos with Plum Pico de Gallo

Source: adapted from Dos Caminos Tacos by Ivy Stark

Ingredients:
TACOS:
1 large (1 lb.) duck breast, trimmed of excess skin and fat, patted dry
½ cup red wine (I used a pinot noir)
½ cup soy sauce
2 tbs hoisin sauce
½ tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
1 chile de arbol, crumbled or chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, sliced
¼ medium red onion, coarsely chopped
Slight pinch of kosher salt
4-6 corn tortillas, warmed
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

PLUM PICO DE GALLO:
½ lb. ripe plums (can be red or black variety), pitted and diced
¼ cup finely diced fresh cilantro
¼ medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tbs finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 serrano chile, minced (seeded if you want the salsa to be less hot)
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp sugar, optional
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
Place the duck breast in a large, resealable plastic food storage bag. In a small mixing bowl, combine the red wine, soy sauce, hoisin, lime juice, peppercorns, garlic, cinnamon stick, chile de arbol, ginger, and onion. Pour over the duck breast and close the bag. Massage the bag so that the duck is completely coated in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Get the duck out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to start cooking so it can come up to room temperature.
Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat and let it get as hot as it’s going to get before you start cooking the duck.
Meanwhile, remove the duck from the marinade and wipe off any excess. Using a VERY sharp paring knife, score the skin on the diagonal in one direction, then rotate the duck and score the skin on the diagonal going the other direction, so you have a cross hatch pattern all over the skin. Season very lightly with kosher salt. Place the duck in the cast-iron skillet, skin side down. Cook until the skin is crackly-crispy and the fat has rendered. This will take about 15 minutes total, and you may need to adjust the heat upwards or downwards, depending on how well the fat is rendering. You want it hot enough to do its thing but not hot enough to burn the duck or cook the inside meat too quickly. Periodically you will need to carefully remove the duck with tongs to a cutting board and drain off the rendered fat. If you don’t do this, you’ll be pseudo deep-frying the duck by the end and it will taste greasy.
Once the fat is rendered, flip the duck breast over and cook on the meat side until its internal temperature reads 130 F, about 10 more minutes. Remove the duck to a plate, loosely tent with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Prepare the PLUM PICO DE GALLO: combine the plums, cilantro, red onion, garlic, mint, serrano chile, lime juice, sugar if using, and salt. Taste for seasoning, as you may need to add more salt. Adjust as necessary.
To assemble, place the duck on a clean cutting board and slice as thinly as possibly across on the diagonal. Place a few duck slices in each tortilla, then spoon on a helping of plum pico de gallo. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately. Serve the leftover pico de gallo with tortilla chips if you wish.

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Well, we’ve been in our new neighborhood almost a month now, and we’re experiencing the typical trials and errors of learning a new area, including misadventures in new forms of public transportation, taking wrong turns, and just generally not yet knowing where everything is. One of the first undertakings was locating the grocery stores though.

They are very different from my old ones, and now every time we want/need to grocery shop, we face the decision of closer to home but less quality, or further from home and better quality. I hate to admit it, but closer to home often wins. This store isn’t terrible by any means, it’s just lower quality than the other one. Their produce section isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, but it can leave things to be desired at times, and it seems like no one is ever working the seafood counter. They do have one glorious section in the butcher section though.

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

In between the prepared chopped veggies and the ethically challenged chickens, there are a few cases of high quality and off-the-beaten-path meats from companies I love and trust. You’ll find extremely good andouille sausage, duck – sometimes whole and sometimes in parts, rabbits, pork bellies, and lamb pieces. However, I have learned the hard way that this section changes almost daily, and is very unpredictable in what they’ll have stocked on any given day. So if you see something you want, you really can’t trust that it’ll be there the next week, or even the next day.

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Which is what prompted me to grab a beautiful whole rabbit simply because they had it, and then figure out what to do with it when I got home. I decided: tacos. They sounded good and I had some corn tortillas about to expire. So why not?

I seasoned the whole rabbit simply with salt, black pepper, and paprika, then roasted it in the oven until cooked through and tender. Shred the meat off the bones (which is a bit more of a particular process than with chicken, but you get the hang of it) and toss in Mexican adobo. Messy and incredible. Enjoy!

Adobo Rabbit Tacos

Source: adapted from Dos Caminos Tacos by Ivy Stark

Ingredients:
1 whole rabbit, 2 ½ – 3 lbs, left whole, inside organs removed and any excess skin trimmed if necessary
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Sweet paprika
Olive oil
4 guajillo chiles, stem, seeds and membranes removed
2 ancho chiles, stem, seeds and membranes removed
3 black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
½ stick cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
½ tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano
1 tbs white wine vinegar
8 corn tortillas, warmed
Taco garnishes of your choice (I used guacamole, minced cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Sprinkle the rabbit with kosher salt, black pepper and sweet paprika all over. Brush with olive oil. Drizzle more olive oil all over a rimmed baking sheet. Place the rabbit on the baking sheet.
Roast the rabbit for a total cooking time of 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes – check with a meat thermometer, it should read 160-165 F when done. Baste with the oil every 20 minutes, and flip the rabbit halfway through.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, just until you can handle it. Remove the meat from the bones and tear it into large shreds. Set aside.
While the rabbit is roasting, make the adobo sauce. Place the dried chiles in a dry saucepan and toast over medium-high heat until fragrant, a few minutes. Pour in enough water to cover the chiles, then bring to a rolling boil. Once it is boiling, shut off the heat, cover the pan, and let steep for 20-30 minutes, until the chiles are softened.
Meanwhile, in a dry small skillet, add the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cumin. Toast over medium heat just until fragrant, shaking the pan several times. Place the spices in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Lift the softened chiles out of the pan and place them in the blender, along with the dried spices, the garlic cloves, and the leaves from the thyme and marjoram sprigs. Add the vinegar, plus salt to taste, and about 1 cup of the chile soaking liquid. Puree until smooth, adding more soaking liquid if it is too thick.
Place the shredded rabbit into a large bowl, then top with the adobo. Stir to combine thoroughly. If it has gotten cold, rewarm over the stove or in a microwave.
To assemble, spoon some adobo rabbit into a warmed tortilla, then garnish with whatever you choose – guacamole, salsa, cilantro, crumbled queso fresco, a squeeze of lime, pickled jalapenos, chopped raw onion…

Braised Goat Tacos

Braised Goat Tacos

I’m an animal lover anyway, but I harbor a special love for goats. Not sure why, but then again why not? The babies are just beyond adorable, and I love that obnoxious free spirit they all seem to inhabit in spades. As I heard a farmer put it once, “goats have… opinions.” There’s a little farm out on the North Fork of Long Island that allows you to stop and bottle feed their baby goats; one of the funniest and most fun things to do in the area. One of them ate my scarf.

Braised Goat Tacos

So I suppose if you feel as I do, it would be strange to eat goat meat, and maybe that’s part of why I hadn’t tried it until recently. But, after reading up on it, I discovered that Americans are one of a few countries that don’t eat it, and that may not be a good thing. There are many compelling yet admittedly preachy reasons for carnivores to incorporate more goat and less cow into their diets (click here if you’re interested in finding out more). So, I figured let’s try it!

Braised Goat Tacos

Okay, sold. It’s delicious and no, it doesn’t taste like chicken. It doesn’t taste like beef. Or lamb. It’s its own thing – it tastes like goat! And goat is extremely tasty – very earthy and with a slight almost sweetness that you don’t find in beef or lamb. Just delectable, really.

Braised Goat Tacos

Recipe notes: you’re looking for around 3-4 pounds of goat meat. So if your goat meat includes bones, take that into account. The meat I found looked like garden variety stew meat, but each piece actually had some bones on it (it reminded me of pork neck or oxtails). I still don’t know what cut of meat it was (and apparently the store clerk didn’t either!). But basically, you’re slow cooking the meat until it’s very tender and can be shredded. So boneless stew meat chunks are fine, as is meat on the bone, as mine was. Enjoy!

Braised Goat Tacos

Source: adapted from Michael Symon’s Carnivore by Michael Symon

Ingredients:
1 cup white wine or sherry vinegar
1 cup plus 3 tbs olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbs cumin seeds, toasted
1 tbs coriander seeds, toasted
2 tsp ancho chile powder
¼ tsp chile de arbol powder (can sub in cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes)
2 tbs packed brown sugar
3-4 lbs. goat meat (see note above), cut into stew chunks
1-2 bottles Mexican beer
1 (15 oz.) can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes
Corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges, for serving
Fresh cilantro, for serving
Crumbled queso fresco, for serving

Directions:
In a mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, 1 cup olive oil, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, both chile powders, and brown sugar. Add the goat meat to a large (gallon-size) resealable plastic food bag, then carefully pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag, then squish it around to coat the meat thoroughly. Set the bag in a bowl or baking dish and stick it in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Season each piece with salt. Reserve the marinade. Put a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Brown the meat, making sure not to crowd the pan, about 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary.
Once all the meat is browned, add it all back into the pot, plus any accumulated pan juices. Now add the reserved marinade, 1 bottle of beer, and the tomatoes. The liquid should almost cover the goat meat. Add some or all of the remaining beer if necessary. Bring to a nice boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook around medium-low for about 2 hours, until the goat is very tender and can easily shred with a fork or your fingers. Depending on your cut of meat, this might take only 90 minutes or it might take as long as 3 hours. You want to keep this at a gentle simmer the entire time – enough to actually cook the meat but not hot enough so that it scorches. I checked on mine every 20-30 minutes and gave it a stir to keep it on track.
Once the meat is cooked, remove from the heat and let the goat meat cool in the pot. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones, shred it, and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Discard the bones and fat.
Strain the liquid into a smaller saucepan over low heat and warm it back up. I found it necessary to do 2 strains: once through a fine-mesh sieve to discard the solids, and then I ran it through a fat separator. While I’m not averse to a little animal fat, this particular goat netted a quite-ridiculous amount!
Spoon the warm sauce over the shredded meat. You probably won’t need all of it, you just want to coat and moisten the meat. Taste it here for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
Serve in the warm tortillas garnished with lime wedges, cilantro and queso fresco.