Ever since we’ve been back in the US we’ve been inhaling Mexican cuisine like oxygen. Whether in Mexican restaurants, little roadside taquerias, or cooked at home, it tastes like the best thing in the world to us right now, spicy and tantalizing, completely unavailable during our recent time in France, and soon to become unavailable again when we return to the land of duck fat and truffles.
Take this posole that I made for a birthday party yesterday. No matter what you do to dress up posole, it has a lamentable tendancy to resemble a dog’s breakfast. But in fact, appearances notwithstanding, this posole rojo is an exemplary version that blows most other posole recipes right out of the agua.
I worked from this recipe, and I recommend it highly. Traditionally garnished with a variety of little nibbles, the only thing I changed was to use a broth made from smoked chicken carcasses instead of the water called for in the recipe. If you have any smoked bones in the freezer, make a little broth and do as I did. The extra richness and lightly smoky flavor only make the dish more delicious. Also, as I often do, I made the posole the day before and set it in a slow oven for a couple of hours on the day of the party, another little trick that is guaranteed to improve almost any sort of stew.
And of course a spoonful of salsa de molcajete doesn’t hurt either.
And then there was this ensalada de chicharrones de pollo that I put together for lunch the other day. This was one of my favorite recent inventions and it’s a great summertime salad. Here’s what you do.
Make this recipe for the chicharrones de pollo. While the chicken is marinating, scrape the kernels off 2-3 ears of corn and sauté them in a little olive oil. When the corn is barely tender, add a big pinch of ground chile and stir it through the kernels. Squeeze the juice of a lime and a pinch of salt into the pan, stir to combine, remove the corn from the pan and set it aside.
Chop some crisp Romaine, and toss it with chopped cilantro and sliced green onions to taste. Make a salsa vinaigrette by adding a little oil and vinegar to your favorite bottled salsa, adjust to taste with salt and pepper, and maybe a little sugar.
Now place the chopped greens on plates, sprinkle with the sautéed corn, place the chicharrones on top, and drizzle the whole with the salsa vinaigrette. It’s a fiesta on a plate, and if you want to add a cerveza to the meal, I just say olé.