Thursday, January 28, 2010

Latin week 2


Ok maybe not so holy, but it was Chicken Molè instead.
What a night…the menu consisted of Tortilla Soup, Chicken with Mole Poblano, Enslada de napoles (Cactus salad), Frijoles refritos (refried beans), Shrimp Guatape, Churros and White Rice.

The tortilla soup is very FAST to make! It could have been one of the last things I did…however, I went directly at it and I’m glad I did. The patilla chilies are very temperamental when you fry them. The first chili I fried it burned; the next one was perfect! It literally takes 3-4 seconds in HOT oil. What I noticed that I did differently than the other teams was the way I prepared the tomato, onion, garlic mix. Most roasted their tomatoes and then peeled them; I blanched/shocked them removed the skin and then roasted them with the onions/garlic. The flavor was perfect; and Chef George felt that it was the best Soup of the night. After I boiled the pureed tomato/onion mix I added the chicken stock and brought to a simmer. I then added the two sprigs of epazote and skimmed the fat lipids on the surface. When the soup was done we ladled it into a bowl with the epazote. I then served from the bowl into smaller bowls; which had tortilla strips at the bottom. I topped the soup with a dollop of crème fraiche, avocado & patilla chili rings. Of course we can not forget a slice of lime on the side and a spoon.

Everything else came out great! Our rice was the only thing we needed to add more salt too; otherwise everything was beautifully seasoned. I also made the refried beans and they came out good but I didn’t need to make them as concentrated. Loida’s Shrimp Guatape was very tasty and almost hinged on over cooked, but it was perfect. Henry made the Chicken Mole and it was very flavorful; however there was a little discrepancy about how to plate. Henry was very creative with the small 4oz cup portion, but the 9in. plate was a little too big. Instead we packed a soup cup to make a volcano topped with toasted sesame seeds and tortilla strips. It looked great! The Sauce for the Mole was a PROCESS!!! Henry sautéed ancho, pasilla, chipotle & mulatto peppers in 2Tbsp of oil. He then soaked the peppers in hot water for 20 minutes, drained the water and reserved it. Henry then roasted, peeled and seeded the tomatoes; blended the tomatoes along with the peppers. He used the oil where the peppers were sautéed to sauté the onion and garlic, and transferred the mix to a blender. Using the same oil again Henry sautéed almonds and peanuts; transferring the mix to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. With the same oil again he sautéed for 3 minutes cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, aniseed; transferring this mix to the same blender along with raisins. In a large saucepan with a cup of hot oil; Henry cooked all the purees for 5 minutes stirring and degreasing constantly! When the started to boil he added 1 qt of the chicken stock, covered the sauce and cooked for another 20 minutes. It never got too thick so we didn’t need to add any more stock; but we did have to degrease the sauce. We then added the shredded chicken, covered and cooked another 10 minutes... PHEW!!!

Maria made a very tasty cactus salad which tasted a lot like ceviche…and Mike made the rice along with the Churros. WOW, the churros were awesome; however, they were a little too doughy.

Overall the night was a big success with a few miscommunication missteps. Otherwise great night and great food! I have started a part time job at Mex Café in Sunrise and will contribute the Tortilla soup recipe to the kitchen. Hey I finally get something I make put on a menu!

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