Albóndigas in Tomato and Chipotle Sauce Paired
with Stewed White Beans with Allspice and Clove
"Diana Kennedy's home in Michoacan, Mexico, sits at the end of a long dirt road that can only be accessed by pickup or four-wheel drive. Heavy rains have turned her rambling gardens into a swath of jungle dense with ingredients: apricot and fig trees; chayote vines from Veracruz, Mexico; and a thatch of weeds underfoot that's thick with herbs."
I feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland scurrying along on an endless road crying, "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date." Since our group began this journey of chronicling recipes from the Gourmet Live's list of 50 Women Game Changers back in June I have posted every Friday without fail.
I almost never apologize for the lack of posts here on these pages or being late in posting since I know you understand and can relate. Sometimes life really does get in the way of the good stuff, but, as my excuse driving to Seattle for a whirlwind foodie adventure and staying with my friends and fellow foodies Don and Kathy of Sortachef, visiting my daughter on the coast, braving the mountains for the 5 hour drive each way, and arriving back in town just to head to the office to try and catch up on the never ending work had left me tired and empty just at the mere thought of entering my kitchen. I was spoiled with delicious meals that I felt could not be duplicated in my own kitchen from restaurants like Ethan Stowell's Staple and Fancy to the Chez Bullhog household.
I find myself a few days behind, but in true MTBT fashion life will not defeat me and I head to the kitchen today in-between cleaning my home that I kindly refer to as the"pig sty" and heading to my newly acquired 16 x 8 foot plot in our neighbourhood community garden. So late, but not forgotten, I bring you Diana Kennedy.....
For those who are not familiar with this culinary icon, Diana Kennedy is to Mexico what Julia Child is to France. The wife of a correspondent for the New York Times, she lived in Mexico for many years, collecting a huge compilation of traditional recipes from every nook and cranny of Mexico, an undertaking which vaulted her to the Order of the Aztec Eagle, an honour the Mexican government reserves for foreigners who give great service to the country. Originally from Britain, Kennedy moved to Mexico in 1957, and she has been traveling the country in search of recipes, new dishes and the perfect tamale ever since.
Being a food anthropologist she isn't just cooking to create a meal, she's cooking to preserve and document dishes from remote parts of Mexico that are usually made entirely with local ingredients. Many of the recipes in her books are so authentic, you would be hard-pressed to readily duplicate them in your kitchen, but it would be a fun to try anyway.
Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty on the list of 50 Women Game Changers and their order it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire with a group of dedicated ladies. There have even been a few successful bloggers on "the list". We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that will highlight that weeks outstanding woman. This group is spearheaded by my favourite well-travelled blogger Mary of One Perfect Bite who back in June 2011 invited bloggers to travel along on a culinary journey throughout the year.
What have we been up to with our 45th Game Changer......
Mary of One Perfect Bite - Camarones en Pipian
Val of More Than Burnt Toast -Albóndigas in Tomato and Chipotle Sauce Paired
with Stewed White Beans with Allspice and Clove
Susan of The Spice Garden - Albondigas de Jalisco
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed
Heather of Girlichef - Chipotles in Adobo
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - Guacamole with Pear and Pomegranate Seeds
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - Chicken in Garlic Chile Sauce Tacos
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me - Torta de Cielo (Almond Sponge Cake)
Linda of There and Back Again - Flan
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Cajeta de Pina Y Platano
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits - Whole Grain Mexican Rice
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Carnitas
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook - Meatballs in a Chipotle Tomato Sauce
Alyce of More Time at The Table - Fresh Salsa Mexicana from Jerez
Amrita of Beetle's Kitchen Escapades - Pork Stew in Rich Chile Sauce
Martha at Simple Nourished Living - Fresh Salsa Mexican from Jerez
Jill at Saucy Cooks - Meatballs in Tomato Chipotle Sauce
Sarah at Everything in the Kitchen Sink - Pork Roast Pibil
These are exciting recipes for cooks of any level. If you are a beginner, you will love the simplicity and authenticity of the flavours of the finished product. If you're a more advanced cook, the people at your table will believe that you worked for hours to prepare this traditional Mexican meal.You only need to blend eggs and a few herbs and spices to give the most wonderful Mexican touch to the meat mixture for these albóndigas (meatballs).
Albóndigas freeze really well, so I often double the recipe; I use a flat styrofoam meat tray from the supermarket to freeze the uncooked meatballs individually, then prepare the sauce, thaw the meatballs, and cook them as described.
Living in a vast Mexican ingredient wasteland we call the Okanagan Valley I opted to keep it simple and recreate a recipe with ingredients easily found here in the valley, although I was able to top my meatballs with some authentic con queso cheese I found at Pike Place Market in Seattle over the weekend. The spicy meatballs and flavourful tomato infused beans were the perfect marriage to celebrate Mexican cuisine.
**Albóndigas in Tomato and Chipotle Sauce**
1 1/5 tablespoons long-grain white rice
Boiling water to cover
3/4 lb ground pork
3/4 lb ground beef
2 small zucchini squash (about 6 ounces)
1/4 scant teaspoon dried oregano
4 good-sized sprigs fresh mint (preferably) OR 1 tsp dried mint
1 chile serrano, roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 scant teaspoon cumin seeds OR ground cumin
1/3 medium white onion, roughly chopped
Preparing the meatballs
Put the rice in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for about 45 minutes. I use the glass custard cup that you see lying on its side in the initial photo--it's just the right size.
While the rice is soaking, put both kinds of meat into the large bowl. Trim the ends from the zucchini and discard. Chop the squash very finely and add to the meat mixture.
Put the eggs, onion, and all herbs and spices--in that order--in the blender jar. Blend until all is liquified. Add to the meat/squash mixture and, using your hands, mix well until the liquid is thoroughly incorporated.
Drain the rice and add it to the meat mixture. Form 24 meatballs, about 1.5" in diameter, and set aside.
2 pounds tomatoes
2 to 4 chipotle chiles en adobo, more or less to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and place them in the boiling water. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the tomatoes and cool for a few minutes.
2. Process the tomatoes and chipotle chiles in a blender or food processor until smooth.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the tomato sauce. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth. When the sauce comes back to a simmer, add the meatballs.
4. Cover the pan and simmer the meatballs over low heat until they are cooked through, about 50 minutes. Adjust the seasoning by tasting and adding salt just before the end of the cooking time. This dish can be prepared a day ahead or can be frozen and reheated.
The single recipe serves eight.
**Diana Kennedy's Stewed White Beans with Allspice and Clove*
12 ounces (350 g) small white beans, picked over and rinsed
1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
½ small head garlic, halved horizontally, unpeeled
Salt to taste
2 cloves, crushed
2 allspice, crushed
1 teaspoon dried Oaxacan oregano leaves or ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola)
½ medium white onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces (165 g) tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 large sprigs flat-leaved parsley, roughly chopped
Salt to taste
Additional chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
1. Put the beans into a large pot with the white onion, half head garlic and salt to taste. Cover well with water (I used enough water to raise the level by 2 inches) and cook, covered, over a medium flame until they are tender but not too soft, about 2-1/2 hours, depending on the age of the beans. Check the water level several times while cooking and add more water as necessary (between 2 and 3 cups). The beans should be very brothy.
2. Using a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder, grind together the spices and the oregano.
3. Heat the oil in a casserole and fry the onion and garlic, with the spices, until translucent.
4. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until the mixture has reduced and seasoned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup (250 ml) of the beans and mash well to thicken the mixture a little. Add the beans with their broth and the parsley and cook, uncovered, over a low heat until all the flavors have blended, about 25 minutes. Adjust the salt: you’ll probably add more than you expect, as the beans seem to drink up seasonings.
5. Serve warm, sprinkled with a little chopped parsley if desired.
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