Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mexican Cooking Challenge #3

Last night I made meal number three from the Saveur Mexican cooking issue.  I had to make this recipe last night because one of the ingredients is this close to being out of season and after this week will be completely unavailable until next August/September.  That would not work with the fact that I would like to make all of these recipes before spring sets in.  The ingredient at issue - squash blossoms.

Squash blossoms?  Yes, they are the flower that comes before a squash grows.  Yes, the flower is eatable.  In this recipe it is more decorative than flavorful.  But, I did not know that until we ate them last night. You are probably wondering what I made with squash blossoms.  Soup.  Sinus clearing spicy, chicken soup.  This recipe was actually really easy to make.  So, if you have a cold and are not feeling well, this chicken soup is spicy enough to make that cold go away.  You really don't need the squash blossoms to make this recipe, but it was required as Saveur wrote the recipe, so I used them.

Before I continue, I must say "Thank you" to my neighbor Jenny for the squash blossoms.  She and her sons are growing squash this year.  She allowed me to go into her backyard and pick as many as I wanted.  So, thank you Jenny.  I dedicate this soup recipe to you.

 I must also let you know that I partially made a second recipe.  I made a tomatillo salsa that is supposed to be served with an avocado.  I had everything in the house, but when it got around to the avocado, it was not quite ripe (I forgot to tell TS how to tell if an avocado is ripe when he went grocery shopping).  Not ripe avocados are not tasty.  I went ahead and served the salsa with the queso fresco and tortillas as a side to the soup, but I will have to make this recipe again so I say I made the complete recipe.  I will give you the recipe for the tomatillo salsa in the mean time because it was really good.  It was actually kind of mild and a nice addition as a side to the soup. 

First the soup recipe: Caldo Xochitl con Flor de Calabaza (Squash Blossom Soup)
(The Saveur recipe can be found here)

Serves 6-8

8 cups chicken stock
8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups crumbled queso fresco
1 cup cooked rice
8 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
4 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
½ medium white onion, minced
1 cup roughly torn squash blossoms
½ cup minced cilantro leaves

1. Bring stock and chicken to a boil over medium-high heat
2. Once boiled, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
3. While chicken is cooking in the broth, assemble the queso fresco, the chipotles, serrano chiles, onion, squash blossoms and cilantro.  As each one is chopped, minced or torn, put that ingredient in a separate bowl.
4. When chicken is cooked, remove chicken and transfer to a bowl and finely shred chicken.
5. To serve: divide chicken, cheese, rice, both chiles, and onion among serving bowls; top with squash blossoms, and then ladle hot broth into bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Now for the tomatillo salsa recipe:

8oz. tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro
¼ cup minced white onion
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste

  1. Bring tomatillos and 4 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; cook until tomatillos are just soft, about 5 minutes. 
2. Drain and set tomatillos aside to cool.
3. In a food processor, put tomatillos, 1/3 cup cilantro, 2 tbsp onion, serrano chile, garlic and salt.
4. Pulse food processor until slightly chunky (about 20 pulses).

I will probably make the full recipe, as posted on Saveur, later this week when the avocado has ripened. 


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