Michoacan

Carnitas

Print Recipe
4.6 from 10 votes

Carnitas

Carnitas recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 3, Episode 5 “Family Fiesta”
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 50 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: marjoram, onion, orange juice, pati's mexican table, pork, Sweetened Condensed Milk
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a white onion peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cumin
  • 4 whole cloves stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lard vegetable shortening or oil
  • 4 to 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt cut into 4-inch chunks, fat on!
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  • In the jar of a blender, place the water, onion, garlic cloves, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, cumin, stemmed whole cloves and 1 tablespoon salt. Puree until smooth.
  • Set a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Add the lard (or vegetable shortening or oil), and once it has heated up, add the pork chunks and sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Brown the meat on all sides, stirring and flipping as each side browns, about 10 minutes.
  • Pour the onion mixture over the meat, let it come to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in the orange juice and sweetened condensed milk, add the 2 bay leaves, and give it a good stir. Let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to low and cover.
  • Cook covered, stirring and scrapping the bottom of the casserole 2 to 3 times along the way, until the meat is completely cooked and coming easily apart if you pull one piece, about one hour and a half. Remove the lid, cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Scoop out the carnitas with a slotted spoon, leaving any fat behind, and serve in a bowl or platter. Shred with a fork, if desired, before tucking into tacos. Or do like we do, serve straight from the pot.
  • Serve with warm corn tortillas and pickled jalapeños or salsa verde cruda on the side.

On a Soup and a Book

It is partly because of a soup like this, that I want to write a cookbook.

A soup that makes me feel all warm inside when I spoon it into my mouth.

A soup that has the earthiness and simplicity that grounds me.

A soup that, aside from having a comforting base, has layers of surprising life and color and crunch.

A soup that makes me want to eat nothing else for an entire week.

A soup that speaks of centennial traditions and is passed down through generations recipes.

A soup that is a pleasure to think about, to write about, to talk about, to prepare and to savor.

It is mostly because I want to share a soup like this with you, dear friends, that I am jumping to write this cookbook.

So with great news to share: I will be working with the delightful Rux Martin, editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, to make this cookbook come to life.

In this book, I will write about -and tell you how to make- all of those foods that make me want to scream out of joy, along with the stories that revolve around them.

for tomato and bean soup-thumb-510x342-1527

So here you go, for this Fall season, which has already galloped in front of me as I was barely putting away my monsters’ bathing suits: The Sopa Tarasca. One of my favorite soups in the whole entire world.

As with many Mexican dishes, it has a base of tomato, onion and a bit of garlic.

Tarascan Soup 2
But it also has the addition of the prune like, exuberant flavor of the Ancho chile.

After those ingredients are cooked, pureed and seasoned, they are mixed with a bean puree

Tarascan Soup 3
and chicken broth…

Queso Fresco A1-thumb-510x342-1933
As if that earth shattering base wasn’t enough, this soup is garnished, to your liking with Queso Fresco

Tarascan Soup 5
Tortilla crisps.

Tarascan Soup 6
Ripe Mexican avocado chunks…

Tarascan Soup 7
And the tangy and salty notes from Mexican cream

Of course you can toss in some Chile crisps in there too…

Tarascan Soup 8
From the Purépechas -also known as Tarascos- who inhabit the mountainous regions of the soulful state of Michoacán, and after whom this soup was named in its colonial capital of Morelia where I have eaten it one too many times, to the city of Washington DC in the United States of America, where I make it regularly for my Mexican American family: and hopefully it will find a place at your table too.

I lost my breath in that sentence…

Enjoy!

p.s. If you have any Mexican food craving, just name the dish, I will try to make a page for it in that cookbook.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Tarascan Bean and Tomato Soup

So here you go, for this Fall season, which has already galloped in front of me as I was barely putting away my monsters’ bathing suits: The Sopa Tarasca. One of my favorite soups in the whole entire world. As with many Mexican dishes, it has a base of tomato, onion and a bit of garlic.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho chiles, beans, chile, corn tortillas, cotija cheese, garlic, mexican crema, onion, pati's mexican table, queso fresco, Recipe, refried beans, soup, Tomatoes, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 6 cups of bean puree
  • 1 pound ripe plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ancho chile steam and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup white onion roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth vegetable broth or water

For the garnishes:

  • 4 Corn tortillas cut in half and into strips, fried until lightly golden or toasted
  • 1/2 cup cotija or queso fresco cheese crumbled (farmers cheese, ricotta salata, mild feta or shredded mozzarella cheese may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Mexican cream heavy cream or cream fraiche may by substituted
  • 1 ancho chile stem and seeds removed, cut into thin strips, flash fried (optional)
  • 1 Mexican avocado peeled, seeded, flesh scooped out and diced

Instructions

  • Place the tomatoes, garlic, and the seeded and stemmed ancho chile in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until tomatoes are completely cooked through. Once the tomato mix cools down, place it in a blender or food processor with a cup of the cooking liquid, the raw white onion and a teaspoon of the salt; puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the tomato puree and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and thickens in consistency. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the bean puree and broth or water, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the soup has seasoned and has a creamy consistency. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Turn off the heat as it thickens quickly.
  • The soup without the added garnishes may be cooled and stored in a closed container and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Since it thickens a bit as it cools, you may need to add some chicken broth or water to thin it out when you reheat it.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle on top a tablespoon each of cream and cheese, a handful of tortilla strips, a few fried chile strips and some diced avocado. You can also place garnishes in bowls on the table to let your guests garnish to their liking.

Notes

Sopa Tarasca

Foods of Michoacan are Forever

You know how some people become attached to a certain dish? They try it somewhere once and then want to go back to eat it again and again, or they make it at home repeatedly in an until-death-do-us-part kind of vow? Well, I am one of those people, and I have made that vow with quite a few dishes from the Mexican state of Michoacan.It surprises me how Michoacan’s cuisine has remained such a well-kept secret. It has a defined personality and a complex layering of delicious flavors like the more popular cuisines from Oaxaca and Puebla, but its dishes seem to be a bit more comforting and use fewer ingredients.

What’s more, some of Michoacan’s basic ingredients, such as pasilla chiles, tomatillos, cotija cheese and fruit pastes, have become readily available in stores outside of Mexico.

My love for Michoacan is inevitably tied to its food, but it goes well beyond its kitchens. The first time I went to Michoacan as a little girl, it had such an impact on me that whenever our family planned a trip, I begged my parents to return there. It wasn’t only the enchanting cobbled streets, the immense wooden doors framed in cantera stone, the aromas of freshly made breads and ground mountain coffee, or the town squares filled with dozens of home-style ice cream carts and sweets stands, all surrounded with colorful balloons and birdseed sellers. There was something more.

I returned a couple of decades later, as a production assistant for a traveling cooking show. It was breathtaking. As we researched for and filmed foods prepared for Day of the Dead — a Mexican holiday celebrated this week — we traveled from town to town, sampling delicate and simple dishes in the markets filled with fresh ingredients and goodies that women brought in baskets and set down on mats on the floor.

In the cities surrounding the Patzcuaro Lake area, we saw the famous fishermen using their immense nets, which seemed to fly off into the sky, before sunrise. We tasted to-die-for fish soups, meat stews, tamales and sweets that cooks prepared for this occasion.

Day of the Dead is one of Mexico’s most meaningful celebrations, and Michoacan is a spectacular place to experience it, partly because of its beauty and cuisine, but also because of the richness and depth of its centuries-old traditions.

The Purepechas, also called Tarascos, who remain the predominant indigenous group of the region, believed since pre-Hispanic times that the dead return once a year to visit those they miss. Centuries of intermarriage between Purepecha, Spanish and Catholic Church traditions and ingredients resulted in an eclectic mix of rituals and exquisite foods.

Last year, a decade after my second trip, I returned to Michoacan to do further research for the culinary program I teach at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. We brought our three young sons, and I was eager to share with them the things and foods I had been fascinated with on previous trips. Yet as soon as we unpacked, it became clear that there was so much more to taste and learn. I experienced new things along with my boys.

After a stay in Morelia, the colonial capital where we tasted traditional and modern spins of Michoacan cuisine, we spent a sweet time in the small town of Santa Fe de la Laguna among a Purepecha community. Some of the women fed us their traditional foods and invited us into their kitchens to teach us how to make those dishes. They also taught our boys, with so much patience and tranquility, how to work with their traditional black and green clay.

Upon our return, I finally realized what makes the cuisine of Michoacan distinctive: its people. Michoacanos are generous, warm, hospitable and caring. No wonder the state is known as “the soul of Mexico.” And it is a beautiful soul for Mexico to have. The more I cook, the more I am convinced that the food of a place resembles the characteristics of its people. If asked to define in one word the cuisine from Michoacan, I would say “soulful.”

In my until-death-do-us-part vow with the food of Michoacan, I shall keep sharing and cooking what I have learned from its cuisine until I am able to go back to explore and eat some more. What’s more, if I’m given a license to come back from another world for Day of the Dead, I will happily feast on this menu with the people I love.

Article written for and published by National Public Radio’s Kitchen Window.

tarascan soup
Print Recipe
4.78 from 9 votes

Tarascan Soup

Tarascan Soup, from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 7, Episode 12 "Photographic Food Memories"
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beans, pati’s mexican table, pinto beans, Recipe, soup, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 to 8 Servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

For soup:

  • 1 pound ripe plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 (about 1 ounce) ancho chile, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt divided, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
  • 1 pound cooked pinto beans plus 2 cups of their cooking liquid or 2 14-ounce cans cooked pinto beans plus 2 cups water
  • 3 cups chicken broth vegetable broth or water

For garnishes:

  • 1/2 cup Mexican style cream
  • 1 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled tortilla chips or tortilla strips
  • 1 ancho chile stemmed, seeded, diced, deep fried for a few seconds
  • 1 avocado, peeled seeded, meat scooped out and diced, optional

Instructions

  • Place the tomatoes, garlic, and ancho chile in a saucepan. Cover with water, and simmer over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tomatoes are completely cooked through and ancho chile is rehydrated.
  • Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, and ancho chile to a blender or food processor, along with 1 cup of the cooking liquid, the white onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the pureed tomato mixture and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and thickens in consistency.
  • Meanwhile, rinse your blender or food processor, then add the pinto beans and 2 cups of their cooking liquid (or water, if using canned beans) and puree until smooth.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and stir the bean puree, broth and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt into the thickened tomato mixture. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the soup has seasoned and has a creamy consistency. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Turn off the heat, as it thickens quickly.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with a tablespoon of the cream and top with some cheese, a handful of crumbled tortilla chips or tortilla strips, a few fried ancho chile crisps and some diced avocado. You can also place the garnishes in bowls on the table to let your guests decide how much of each garnish they want to add to their bowls.
  • The soup itself may be cooled and stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Because this soup thickens a bit as it cools, you may need to add some chicken broth or water to thin it out when you reheat it.

Notes

Pinto Bean and Tomato Soup
Print Recipe
4.67 from 3 votes

Brisket in Pasilla Chile and Tomatillo Sauce

This is by far, the best brisket I’ve ever had. The meat chunks gain a nutty brown crust as they cook, yet as you take a bite they fall apart in your mouth. And the sauce, thick, a bit tart, a bit spicy and wholeheartedly rich, enhances the flavor of the meat. It is a dish with a flavor hard to forget: it has loads of personality.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Jewish, Mexican
Keyword: beef, chile, garlic, Jewish Mexican, pasilla, pati’s mexican table, piloncillo, Recipe, tomatillos
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds trimmed brisket of beef rinsed and cut into about 2-inch chunks (leave some fat on!)
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt divided (plus more to taste)
  • 1 pound tomatillos husks removed and rinsed
  • 3 ounces black or pasilla chiles (may sub for New Mexico chiles) stems and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons corn or safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups meat cooking liquid
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar
  • Chopped white onion and cilantro leaves optional garnish

Instructions

  • Place meat chunks in a large cooking pot along with 5 garlic cloves, peppercorns and salt. Cover with water, bring to a boil, cover partially and simmer over medium heat for 3 hours, or until meat is very soft. Drain and reserve 2 cups of its cooking liquid.
  • Meanwhile, char or roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet under the broiler, or directly on the comal or dry skillet or grill over medium heat, for about 10 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times. Tomatillos are ready when their skin is blistered and lightly charred, and their flesh is soft, mushy and juicy.
  • Toast chiles on a hot comal or dry skillet over-medium heat for 5 to 10 seconds per side. Chiles will release their aroma and become more pliable, and their inner skin will become a bit opaque. Don’t let them burn.
  • Place toasted chiles and roasted or charred tomatillos in a bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water and 2 cups of reserved meat cooking liquid (if you don’t have 2 cups, add more water). Let this mixture soak for at least a half-hour and up to 4 hours. Pour the mixture into the blender or food processor, puree until smooth and reserve.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of corn or safflower oil to the same pot in which meat was cooked, and heat over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add cooked meat chunks and brown them, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add the chopped onion, and stir as you continue to brown the meat for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Incorporate pureed chile mixture, a teaspoon of salt and the piloncillo or brown sugar. Stir and simmer over medium heat for about 10 more minutes. The meat should be completely tender, yet still in chunks. The sauce should be think enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, but not pasty. Taste for salt and add more if need be. To serve, you can garnish with some raw chopped onion and cilantro leaves.
  • If there is any meat left over, you can cool, store and refrigerate it in a closed contained and then reheat, covered over a low simmer.

Notes

Carne Enchilada
tarascan bean and tomato soup
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Cheesecake with Guava

In Mexico, a favorite dessert is to pair sweet slices of guava or other fruit pastes called ates with savory slices of cheese. Cheesecake with guava paste is a modern take on this combination. We tried it for the first time in the Museo del Dulce — the sweets museum — in Morelia. My adaptation has a thinner layer of guava paste than the museum's, and it is placed between the crunchy bottom and the smooth cream cheese batter, rather than on top. Also, the sweetened sour cream topping reflects a craving of mine, but it seems to make the combination even more irresistible. You can use this recipe as a guideline and see if you want to take the cheesecake in other directions: more guava, less guava, more sour cream or no sour cream.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Chilling Time4 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Ate De Guayaba, cheesecake, Dessert, guava, guava paste, Guayaba, pay de queso, Recipe
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces ground) Maria cookies or vanilla wafers, or graham crackers
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 ounces (or 3/4 stick) butter melted

Guava Spread:

  • 11 ounces guava paste or ate de guayaba
  • 5 tablespoons water

Cheese Filling:

  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Sour Cream topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

Crust:

  • In a big bowl, stir the ground cookies, sugar and melted butter until thoroughly mixed. Butter a 9- to 10-inch springform pan. Turn the cookie mixture into the pan. With your fingers or a small spatula, spread it evenly along the pan. Press gently, making a side rim of 1/2 to 1 inch on the sides. Refrigerate while you make the guava spread, cheese filling and sour cream topping.

Guava Spread:

  • Place guava paste and water in the blender jar or food processor. Process until smooth, and reserve.

Cheese Filling:

  • Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat at medium speed until smooth and foamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, as the batter may stick to it. Add the heavy cream, and beat until the mixture is all incorporated and smooth. Reserve.

Sour Cream Topping:

  • In a bowl, mix the sour cream and the sugar together.

Assemble Together:

  • Adjust rack of the oven one-third up from the bottom and preheat to 350°F.
  • Remove the pan with the crust from the refrigerator. With a spatula, spread the guava mixture evenly over the crust. Turn out the cheese filling onto the guava layer, and spread gently and evenly.
  • Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until it is cooked and has a lightly tanned top. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Then spoon the sweetened sour cream over the cheese filling and place it back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. It tastes even better if it chills overnight.
  • Before serving, release the sides of the springform pan. Place the cheesecake onto a plate (keeping it on the bottom of the pan), slice and serve.

Notes

Pay De Queso Con Ate De Guayaba