Shout out for Mexican Independence Day

viva mexicoIn Mexico we love to cheer: Olé….. Salud…… Ándale….. Ay ay ay! In September there’s another great occasion to cheer: Mexico’s Independence day. Now don’t get confused with Cinco de Mayo, which is sometimes mistaken for independence day. The Dancing Chefs love to cheer: Viva Mexico! Independence Day is celebrated every September 16th with parades, festivals, feasts, parties and more. Mexican flags are everywhere and the main plaza in Mexico City is packed. But what’s the history behind the date of September 16?

Back in 1810 the Spanish were the official rulers of Mexico, but many Mexicans weren’t happy with how they governed. On September 16th 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo rang the church bells of Dolores and made a speech, now known as ‘Cry of Dolores’ or ‘Grito de Dolores’. He made a shocking announcement: he was taking up arms against the tyrannies of the Spanish government and his parishioners were all invited to join him. Within hours Hidalgo had an army: a large, unruly, poorly armed but resolute mob.

independence day dishesEvery year, local mayors and politicians re-enact the famous Grito de Dolores. In Mexico City, thousands congregate in the Zócalo, or main square, on the night of the 15th to hear the President ring the same bell that Hidalgo did and recite the Grito de Dolores. The crowd roars, cheers and chants, and fireworks light up the sky. On the 16th, every city and town all over Mexico celebrates with parades, dances and other civic festivals.

Most Mexicans celebrate by hanging flags all over their home and spending time with family. A feast is usually involved. If the food can be made red, white and green (like the Mexican Flag) all the better! Favorite dishes include Chiles en Nogada, Tostadas or Pozole. Pozole is a delicious soup filled with hominy corn and pork meat and garnished with lettuce, onion, herbs and tostadas. For all you chefs, who want to celebrate Mexican Independence Day in style and make Pozole at home: here is the recipe!!!

Pozole-RojoPozole 

 

The stock:

4 litres of water

1 kilo pork meat

1/2 kilo pork ribs

3 cans hominy corn (450gr. each)

1 onion, quartered

8 cloves of garlic

Salt to taste

 

The Sauce:

5 dried Chili Anchos, cleaned without seeds

5 dried Chili Guajillo, cleaned without seeds

6 cloves of garlic

1 onion, diced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp oregano

Salt to taste

 

garnishes-for-pozoleThe Garnish:

1 Romaine lettuce, washed and shredded

1 1/2 cup onion, diced

1 1/2 cup radishes, washed and sliced

Chile Piquin, to season

Oregano, to season

Tostadas, 2-3 per person

Limes, cut in halves

 

Preparation:

  1. Heat 4 litres of water in a big pan. Add the quartered onion, garlic, salt, pork meat and ribs. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat has been cooked. You can remove any foam that is formed on the soup. If neccesary you can add more water.
  2. Take the meat out of the stock. Remove excess grease, bones of the ribs, onion and garlic.
  3. Now to prepare the sauce, soak the chili ancho and guajillo in enough hot water to cover the chilis. Leave for 25 minutes.
  4. Once the chilis are softened, drain and place into a blender with the raw garlic, diced onion and oregano. Add a little bit of water too. Blend until you obtain a smooth consistency.
  5. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium high fire. Add the chili mixture to the skillet and season to taste, continuously stirring. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for about 25 minutes.
  6. Pass the chili sauce through a strainer into the stock. Bring to a boil and add the meat, simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the hominy corn, season with salt and pepper if needed. Heat through until the soup is completely hot.
  7. Serve the Pozole in a big soup bowl and place the garnish in the center of the table, so everybody can serve themselves.

 

Buen Provecho and Viva Mexico!!!

 

Dancing Chef Maaike

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Mexican Margaritas from the Dancing Chefs

dancing chef stephanie Margaritas are a very typical drink from Mexico and that of course is because its base is TEQUILA!!!!  As you probably know,  you can make margaritas of any flavor, but the key to a delicious margarita is to use fresh ingredients and high quality alcohol.

As a true Dancing Chef, I love to experiment with new flavors that the bartenders, or “cantineros” as we like to call them, come up with. There are some very strange margarita flavors, like: Avocado, Cucumber-Jalapeño and Banana-Peanut Butter. These flavors are really popular among people that LOVE those vegetables or the particular sweetness of peanut butter.

The most popular margaritas are: Lime, Strawberry, Pineapple, Mango and Tamarind. You are probably wondering what tamarind is. Well, not only is it my favorite flavor of margarita, but it is also a very common pod-like fruit which is used extensively around the world.

tamarindo

In Mexico, it is used in sauces or sold in various snack forms: candied, in sweet soft clusters, or dried and salted. It is also prepared as a fresh beverage called Agua de Tamarindo, or as a cocktail Margarita de Tamarindo. Often in Mexico tamarind is plucked off the tree and eaten raw.

Tamarind has a sour flavor that goes perfect with either chili or sugar. Make sure that on your next trip to Mexico you try tamarind in the different ways it is prepared.

HOME MADE TAMARIND SYRUP

15 fresh tamarinds

1/3 cup of sugar

3 cups of water

Peel the tamarind pods and put them in a small pot with 3 cups of water. Let them boil for about 15 minutes and add the sugar. Mix it up and let it cool down. When it’s room temperature, get ready to squeeze! Wash your hands thoroughly and get them in the pot, squeezing the tamarind so the seeds pop out and remove them. Pour the seedless mix into a blender and blend until is smooth.  You just finished your home-made tamarind syrup!!! This can often be used for Tamarind water or a Tamarind Margarita.

Tamarind syrup

TAMARIND MARGARITA

1 cup of home-made tamarind syrup

4 oz of tequila

4 oz of orange liqueur

2 limes

2 cups of ice

Chili powder or Salt to rim the glasses

Here we are going to make Tamarind Margaritas. Pour 1 cup of your home-made tamarind syrup,  4 oz of tequila, and 4 oz of orange liqueur in the blender , and squeeze in the juice of two limes. Add 2 cups of ice and blend! Your margarita is ready to pour into your glass, but make sure you rim your glass with lime and then with chili powder  (you can subtitute salt for chili powder). Once the glass is ready, pour in the margarita. You can garnish with a slice of lime or jicama if you’d like.

Now you only need to raise your glass and toast in Salsa and Salsa style: Salud, Dinero y mucho mucho Amor!!!

Margarita tamarindo

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