Tex-Mex and Traditional Mexican Recipes

Arroz (Rice)

1 cup white rice
1 garlic clove crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Brown the rice in oil. Then put the spices and garlic together into broth and let it come to a boil. Add tomato sauce and simmer on low for 20 minutes, covered.

Buñuelos (A Christmas and New Year's dessert)

2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp oil
3/4 cup cinnamon tea (uses 1 stick of cinnamon)
1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (mix and set aside for coating)

Prepare the cinnamon tea by boiling a stick of cinnamon in 3/4 cup of water. Mix the dry ingredients and blend in the oil. Slowly add in lukewarm tea and knead until dough no longer sticks to hands (you probably won't use all the tea). Form into small balls of dough 2 inches in diameter (like tortillas). Roll them out thinly with a rolling pin, the thinner the better. Fry in oil until golden brown. While frying use a fork to break air bubbles and keep the buñuelo somewhat flat. Set the buñuelos on top of paper towels and try to lean them upright against something so that the oil will drip off better. Let cool for a bit and then sprinkle both sides with the mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Makes about a dozen.

Calabacita con Pollo (Squash with Chicken)

1 chicken cut up, innards too if desired
3 or 4 large squash, tatuma or Mexican squash
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and dice the squash and remove seeds. Cook squash until limp. Put aside. Brown the chicken and add 2 cups of water and spices and cook 30 min. Then add squash and cook 15 min. After it has reduced, mix 2 tsp flour to 1/2 cup cold water and add mixture to thicken. Cook about 15 more minutes.

Fidello (Chicken with Vermicelli) (NEW!)

1 chicken breast, cubed
1 cup vermicelli or thin spagetti, broken into 1-2 inch pieces
2 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 onion
tomato sauce to taste
1 can chicken broth
1 potato, cubed (optional)

Chop up chicken breast, season with a little salt and pepper and brown in skillet. Remove chicken and brown the vermicelli. Put chicken back in skillet, add seasonings and etc., along with maybe 1/3 to 1/2 can tomato sauce for color, and can of chicken broth. Simmer uncovered 20-25 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

Frijoles En Bola (Whole Beans)

2 lbs dried pinto beans
1 lb sliced smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced for hot, whole or gutted of the seeds for mild

Place beans in heavy large saucepan (my aunt uses a traditional clay water jug). Cover with water and bring to boil. Drain. Return beans to pan. Pour in water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Add all remaining ingredients except salt. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are very soft, adding more water as necessary to keep beans submerged, about 3 1/2 hours. Season with salt and cook 15 minutes longer, uncovered if beans are too liquid. Let cool. Chill overnight. To serve, reheat beans over medium to low heat, stirring frequently.

Pan de Pobre (Poor Man’s Bread or Skillet Bread)

6 cups of flour
2 1/2 cups of sugar
4 tsp of cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup milk

Mix all the ingredients into dough and heat the oven to 425º. Place dough on a cookie sheet or large pan (this is so that it will have a nice crust all around, but it is not necessary, any pan will do) and bake for 15 to 30 minutes.

Pan de Polvo (Powder Bread, a type of cookie popular at weddings)

10 cups flour
3 1/2 cups shortening
1 cup sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon

Sift flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Work in shortening until dough is formed. The heat of the hands will make dough pliable. Let dough stand for 1 hour. Spread out dough with hands and cut with cookie cutter. Bake at 375º for 15 to 20 minutes or until done (light brown). Roll cookies in cinnamon and sugar.

Salsa (NEW!)

2 large tomatoes
2 large bell peppers (gutted)
1 jalapeño pepper (remove the seeds for mild)
1/4 of a large onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

Chop the ingredients as coarsely or finely as you want. Then add the salt and water. Simmer uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it is too watery, just simmer it longer until it reduces.

Tamales (somewhat difficult to make)

Step 1: Preparing the Filling
2 lbs of stew meat (beef, chicken, pork, or even dried pinto beans)
1 tsp each of salt, garlic powder, cumin

Boil ingredients in 3/4 gallon of water for 40 to 45 minutes. When done, let cool and chop finely by hand or blender. If you use a blender, be careful not to turn it into paste. If you are using beans, prepare as in the Frijoles recipe above and then drain the beans and mash them. Put the broth aside.

Step 2: Preparing the Filling 2
1 cup of broth from previous step
2 1/2 tsp lard
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mix all of the ingredients into the filling.

Step 3: Preparing the Dough
5 lbs masa (a type of flour)
5-6 cups broth
1/2 to 3/4 cup lard
3-5 tsp salt 3-4 tsp chili powder

Add all ingredients to masa and mix into an even dough.

Step 4: Forming the Tamales
1 pack of dried corn husks

Clean the husks and leave them in warm water until they are soft and pliable. There will be some that are too small to use, put those aside. Take a husk and spread about a millimeter or two of dough on the husk leaving about half of the husk bare at the pointy end. Put some filling along the center, making sure to leave enough room so that the sides will overlap when folded. Fold the sides over first so that the tamale is folded in thirds. Fold the pointy end that should have no dough or filling over. One end, which is the top, is left unfolded. Here is a diagram. If you want or if you have extra dough left over, you can use only dough and no filling. These are called gorditas. To make these you just put a whole bunch of dough on a husk and fold in half, pointy end against the flat end. They should be at least half an inch thick.

Step 5: Cooking
Put about a quart of water and left over husks in the bottom of your pot. The husks are so that the tamales won't stick to the bottom of the pot. Put something in the center of the pot, like a coffee mug, that won't be damaged by the heat. This is so that it will be easier to arrange the tamales standing vertically in the pot. You should lean the tamales against the cup or whatever you have placed in the center of the pot. This is because tamales that lean against the side of the pot will get burned. Make sure that the open end of each tamale is at the top. Steam for about an hour. The tamales are done when the husk separates easily from the tamale.

Tortillas (First Type: goes well with beans)

2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (preferably Crisco)
1/2 cup nearly boiling water

Combine the the flour and salt. Then add the almost boiling water. Knead. Note that because of the hot water, it is not recommended that you use your hands although my grandparents seemed to not mind. Use a fork or something like my aunt does instead. Cover with wax paper and let sit for 1/2 hour. By this time, the dough should have developed little white spots all over. Now you can tear off little balls about 2 to 3 inches in diameter and make them flat circles about 5 or 6 inches in diameter with a rolling pin. Then cook them on a hot griddle. When one side is done, just flip it to the other side. Again, although my grandmothers used their hands, I don’t recommend it. The tortillas should come out looking shiny.

Tortillas (Second Type: goes well with fidello)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 to 4 tbsp shortening (preferably Crisco)
1/2 cup warm water

Mix dry ingredients and add water. Knead (it should be warm, but not hot enough to burn you). There is no need to let this type sit for any amount of time. Then cook as above. These should come out matte white.