Monday, January 17, 2011

Fiesta en Diciembre! Aye! Aye! Aye!

If there's one thing South American cultures understand and one thing I miss terribly during winter, it's color. Vibrant, sun-soaked, primary colors that take your breath away. Such passion for color and rhythm and margaritas can only mean an incredible zest for life that shows through their food. I hope to one day achieve this culmination of taste and passion. But for now, my attempts are at least muy delicioso!

 To use up Christmas dinner leftovers this year, I wanted to try out a Turkey Chilaquiles recipe I had seen last year in ReadyMade. So of course I decided to turn it into an all out Mexican feast. Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish and also one of the vocab words from high school Spanish class that always sticks in my memory along with Bacalao and Guachinango for their nice rhythmic sounds.

Margaritas are a must for a Mexican feast in my opinion. And with that comes the need for a bit of kosher salt and limes. I like to dip the rim of the glass in a shallow bowl of lime juice and then dip it again in a plate of kosher salt. Don't be embarrassed to lick the glass.

However, if you want to go a little simpler, La Playa Cerveza at Trader Joe's is only about $3.50 for a 6 pack. Not bad for some cheap ice cold cervezas.

If you're really serving a crowd, cook up some beans or ground beef, maybe some fresh guacamole, and spread out some taco fixings to go along with the chilaquiles. For bean tacos, chop up an onion and a few hot peppers and garlic, and combine in a fry pan with your favorite taco seasonings and a dash of sherry or Madeira if you have it. Let cook on medium in heated oil until onions are translucent. Add the beans and let go, shuffling often, until the onions are slightly caramelized/browned. You can add cooked meat instead if you prefer.

Turkey Chilaquiles
3-4 hot peppers of your choice, minced
1 c turkey stock
1 lb roasted turkey, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 c gravy (If I made this again I would go for 1 1/2 cup gravy and 1/2 cup stock for added thickness)
1 t ground cumin
8 oz tortilla chips (about 8 cups)
2 T olive oil
6 eggs
Homemade salsa



1. Combine turkey stock and peppers in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place mixture in a blender or food processor and process until nearly smooth. 
2. Transfer mixture back to the saucepan. Stir in shredded turkey, gravy and cumin, and cook over medium heat until heated through.
3. Cook eggs until over-medium. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the tortilla chips, turkey mixture, cilantro and homemade salsa. Serve immediately on a platter with the eggs presented on top.

Keep your eyes on Trailbraising for an upcoming guest post by Michael Boland, resident 30605 salsa specialist.

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