Mixiote De Carne, Tomatillo Guacamole, Mexican White Rice, Sighs of the Bride Fritters- Mexico

I can't tell you how excited I was to be cooking in banana leaves! Yes I'm easily amused.

All these recipes come from the excellent September 2007 Latin issue of Gourmet magazine.

For the ribs I used the guajillo peppers because the New Mexico peppers I had on hand are hot and I wanted to see how the other spices came through without being overpowered by heat. Plus I like the tangy smokiness of the guajillo's.

The ribs were wonderful and the guacamole was a perfect tangy accompaniment. I actually forgot the bay leaf but I wasn't left thinking, "this would be perfect with a bay leaf" so it was no big deal. I will definitely make these again! I may even try it with the New Mexico Chiles.

I liked the rice but it was a pain in the butt to make. I'm not sure the end result was worthy of a repeat. Also my rice wasn't getting brown and my arm was getting tired from stirring so maybe it would have been better if I had browned it.

I suck at frying because I never do it so my Sighs of the Bride could have been crispier. The fruit on the other hand was marvelous.

Ribs in banana leaves

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And unwrapped

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sighs of the Bride with Mixed Fruit in Cinnamon Lime Syrup

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Mixiote De Carne

Gourmet Magazine, Sept 2007
Adapted from Estela Salas Silva


3 oz dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles(I used guajillo) seeded and stemmed (I did this over a bowl with kitchen shears)

3 tbs annatto seeds

5 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

6 lb beef short ribs or lamb shoulder with bone cut into 16 pieces(I used beef ribs)

3 banana leaves or 8 (11 inch square) pieces of parchment paper

8 Turkish or California Bay Leaves

-Fill a 2 qt sauce pan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add chiles to boiling water and remove from heat. Let stand, uncovered until chilis are softened and have turned a brighter red, about 10 minutes.

-Meanwhile, toast annatto and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring until fragrant and a shade darker. Transfer to a bowl to cool then grind to a powder.

-Transfer chiles to a blender with a slotted spoon, then add 1 1/2 cups soaking water, seeds garlic, vinegar and 1 tbs salt. Blend until smooth at least 2 minutes. Pour sauce into large (3-4 qt) shallow container and cool to room temp for 10 minutes.

-Sprinkle meat with 2 tbs salt, add sauce and turn to coat. using tongs or wearing gloves to prevent staining. Marinate meat, covered and chilled for at least 8 hours.

-Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the middle.

-Holding both ends of a banana leaf, drag leaf slowly over a burner on medium high heat until it changes color slightly and becomes shinier. Repeat on other side and with remaining banana leaves.

-Cut off tough edges from banana leaves and cut 8 11 x 11 inch squares, discarding remainder. Put each leaf on a 12" square of foil, then arrange 2 pieces of meat and some sauce in the center of each leaf using all of the sauce, and top each mound with a bay leaf(if using California bay leaves use 1/2 leaf). Fold in all sides of banana leaves, then wrap tightly in foil. Arrange packages, seam side up, in 1 layer in a large roasting pan and add just enough water to measure 1/8 inch in bottom of pan (about 2 cups).

-Bake adding more water as necessary to prevent pan from becoming dry until meat is tender and falling off the bone(open package to test) about 3 1/2 hours for beef and 2 1/2 hours for lamb. Discard foil and bay leaf and serve meat in banana leaves. Do not eat banana leaves.

-Notes: Meat can be marinated up to 24 hours in a bowl. Leftovers keep for 3 days. Reheat, wrapped in foil 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

Tomatillo Guacamole

Adapted from Roberto Santibanez


1 1/2 tsp minced fresh serrano chiles including seeds or to taste
1 1/2 tbs chopped fresh epazote leaves or 1 tsp dried(I used dried)
1 large garlic clove minced
1 tbs fresh lime juice or to taste
3 firm-ripe avacados
6 oz small fresh tomatillos(about 6) husked rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup minced white onion

Stir together chiles through lime juice and add one tbs salt in a bowl, mashing slightly with a fork. Halve and pit avacados, then scoop flesh into chile mixture. Stir in tomatillos and onion mashing avacado coarsley with a fork.

Mexican White Rice

Gourmet September 2007

Though this rice mainly functions to sop up the meat's red sauce, a quick sauté with garlic and onion and the use of chicken broth as well as water means it can hold its own.

Makes 8 servings

Shelley Wiseman

3 cups long-grain white rice (1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water

Bring about 6 cups water to a boil and pour over rice in a bowl. Soak rice until it has turned a more opaque white, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a clean kitchen towel to dry, at least 1 hour.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a wide 4- to 5-quart heavy pot or deep skillet over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 5 minutes, then add broth, water, and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook over low heat until rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Cooks' notes:
Rice can be soaked up to 4 hours.
Rice will stay warm, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Suspiros de Novia
Sighs of the Bride Fritters

The magazine said they got their name because they're delicate.

Adapted from Estela Salas Silva

1/2 cup warm water
2 large egg yolks
2 tbs unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup olive oil for frying
confectioners sugar for dusting

-Blend water, yolks, butter, flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a blender just until smooth.
-heat 1/4 inch oil in a heavy 12" skillet over medium heat until it shimmers
-Spoon 1/2 tablespoons of batter into the oil about 8 at a time and fry (the batter will flatten into 2 inch wide discs), turning once until crisp and golden brown.3-4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool completely. Dust with sugar and serve with fruit.
-can be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

Mixed Fruit in Cinnamon Lime Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbs fresh lime juice
1 8 inch piece Mexican cinnamon stick broken into 4 pieces or 1 3 inch piece if cassia cinnamon halved.
3 lb mixed fresh fruit cut into wedges(they suggested peaches, plums and figs which are out of season so I used a red delicious apple, a gala apple bartlett pears and calimyrna figs)
1 lime thinly sliced 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

-Bring water, sugar, lime juice and cinnamon to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
-Stir together fruit and hot syrup in a shallow serving dish. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, top with lime slices and pecans.

-can be made 2 hours ahead and chilled. Bring to room temp before serving


Robin said...

We recently tried cooking a fish fillet in banana leaves. It was a fun experiment ... although I think I chose a not so great fish. It's a very impressive dish. I still have some leaves in my freezer and had never thought about cooking meat in them. Perhaps, I can try it out. Thanks for sharing!

KristiB said...

The banana leaves make a great presentation and I think they may add moisture. I think in a mild dish they may even add a little "herbacious" flavor.