So I could.. and definitely will write a few blogs about my adventures in moving to France (because the process has been comical, frustrating and filled with hiccups) but for now I just want to give you a recipe that I love and get back to writing about food b/c its calming in the chaos.
The MBA program I am in is 80% international students and as such we have been having weekly Intl food parties. Last week it was Mexico's turn and I decided to join because understandably California cuisine is very influenced by its neighbor, Mexico. I was a little worried about finding peppers in the land of butter, cream and leaks but luckily the huge "CORA" grocery store was using the perfect pepper that I needed for decoration and I was able to buy about 15 of them for 11 euro. I'm having horrible luck right now and chopped off a little piece of my index finger during the last step of my cooking and only ended up staying for 30 mins of the party because after 2 hours my poor little finger was still bleeding and I started to feel really sorry for myself :( At least my chicken tortilla soup and chicken tostadas attended and hopefully were consumed and enjoyed :)
Here is the recipe which is an adaption from Cindy Pawlcyn's :
4 Dried Guajillo Chiles (the big red ones), stemmed
2 or 3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tbls fresh oregano
1/2 tabls toasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
2 to 4 tbls olive oil
2 rabbits or 6 to 8 pieces chicken thighs
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 cup of each diced celery, peeled diced carrot, chopped onion
Chicken stock (3 to 4 cups)
Lime Creme Fraiche
1 cup creme fraiche
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 Tbls freshly squeezed lime juice
pinch of salt and pepper
1 or clove garlic- diced
pinch of salt
2 tbls red wine vinegar
2 tbls brown sugar
2 teasp cumin
pinch of chili flakes
3/4 cup olive oil
Cumin-scented black beans
1 1/2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 cup arugula or other spicy green
1/3 bunch cilantro
3/4 cup cotija cheese
1 or 2 limes
For the Chili paste: Toast the chilies in a pretty hot pan until they start to give off a sweet and spicy scent, then put them into a pot with enough water to cover. Soak the chilies 1 hr until they are really soft (if they are too hard then the sauce won't work), drain them and save some of the soaking liquid for later. Puree the chilies in a blender along with the garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Slowly add more and more of he soaking liquid as needed to get the mixture going. The consistency when done should be a little more runny than warm peanut butter. Strain this and reserve.
For the Rabbit or
Heat some olive oil over medium heat. You might need to brown the chicken thighs in batches b/c if you put too much in the pan they won't brown! Season with salt and pepper on allsides and then transfer the rabbit/chicken to a platter. Add the celery, carrot, onion to the pan with all the juices of the meat and cook until browned and soft. Now mix in the chili paste and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the chicken
back to the pan and make sure all the meat is coated in sauce. Pour in enough stock to cover and bring to a boil then reduce to low and let it simmer slowly for 30-45 mins. After 30 mins test a little piece of the meat. It should be really tender and almost fall off the bone. Pull out the meat and once it is cool take two forks and shred it into pieces. Watch out for any small bones! Strain the broth to remove all the veggies and then simmer it and reduce it by half so that it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Chill until ready to serve.
Creme Fraiche: Combine all ingredients. Don't forget the lime b/c this is the best part! Cover and chill in the fridge until needed
Vinaigrette: Whisk together the garlic, salt, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sugar, cumin and chili flakes. Whisk continuously while you slowly pour in the olive oil.
Cumin Black Bean: Rinse a can of black beans with water. Add cumin and a little salt and pepper. Mash the beans up to form a thick paste. Reserve
Tortillas: Either buy tostadas (already fried little tortillas) or crisp regular corn tortillas (cut into smaller disks) in oil for a few minutes per side. After each tortilla is crisp dry on paper towels to get rid of some of the grease.
To finish: Add the meat to the sauce and stir everything to combine and heat thoroughly. Reheat the beans. Combine the cabbage, arugula, cilantro in a bowl and dress with the vinaigrette. Smear each tortilla with some cumin scented black beans, then top with some braised meat, sauce, greens and crumbled cheese. Drizzle with creme fraiche and garnish with lime wedges! Ahhh writing this just made me hungry