Welcome to Jane Butel’s Southwest cooking Blog.

Register Now for Oaxaca to Get In On The Fun

By Jane Butel  November 30, 2018

Oaxaca, Mexico is a treasure trove for all kinds of arts--especially for Culinary, where the delicious blends of flavors developed by the native Zapotecs live on today.  Known for both the creative blends of flavors such as in their famous Moles,  as well as for their artistry of plating beautiful dishes.

Known for their bright and beautiful tapestry of colors on and in their buildings and gardens--the high desert climate is just perfect for enjoying all manner of outdoor activities as well as a wealth of museums, galleries and markets to explore.

Our March 12 to 18, 2019  tour offers three cooking classes, market tours and demonstrations of cheese making and weaving, starting with dying and carding the wool.  You will visit villages famous for pottery, brightly painted wood carvings and mescal making.  There will also be plenty of free time for exploring whatever pleases you.

A complete itinerary is just a click away where you can discover the details of our very special tour which is limited to 15 people.

If you register now by close of business on December 3,  I will give you a $200.00 discount on the down payment, making it only $600 to reserve a space.  The balance will be due January 12, 2019.  I hope to see you in Oaxaca!

Following are 2 favorite Oaxacan recipes to help get you in the mood--   

LEGUMBRES EN PIPIAN, OAXACA STYLE
(Vegetables in Oaxacan Pumpkin Seed Sauce)


Steamed vegetables, usually green ones are frequently served with Green Pipian Sauce, a delightfully spiced sauce thickened with ground, green pumpkin seeds. Sometimes the vegetables are cooked with epazote or avocado leaf to lend a slightly anise flavor or a small amount of ground anise can be used if desired when steaming the vegetables.

Yield: 6 servings

1 teaspoon salt
1 pound small green zucchini, thinly sliced or nopales, cut in thin strips
12 small red potatoes, halved and cooked until tender
2 cups fresh spinach or swiss chard
Pipian sauce, recipe follows
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted until lightly brown
Few sprigs fresh cilantro, optional

1. In a vegetable steamer or in a small amount of salted boiling water, add the zucchini or nopales and potatoes and cook until tender, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add spinach and steam another two minutes.

2. Then toss each vegetable in about a Tablespoon of pipian sauce, or enough to cover, and compose the vegetable dish by arranging each vegetable in a section or circle on the platter in an artistic arrangement and center with a bowl of pipian sauce. Serve with toasted sesame seed and cilantro garnish.

Pipian Sauce
Yield: 4 1/2 cups (approximately)

1 teaspoon dried or 2 dried chipotle chiles
Water to cover
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 cup green pumpkin seeds or pipian
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup sliced scallions, including the greens
1/2 cup cooked or canned tomatillos, drained and chopped, or salsa
2 cups chicken broth

1. For preparing the chipotles, if a microwave oven is available; combine chipotles, vinegar and water in a quart glass measuring cup. Cover and simmer on HIGH power 5 minutes. Or, combine the chipotle chiles, vinegar and water in a small saucepan and simmer 30 minutes, or until flesh and skin are soft. Set aside.

2. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a hot skillet until they start to brown, taking care not to let them burn.

3. Combine the chile, toasted seeds, cilantro, scallions, and tomatillos in a blender along with 2 cups of chicken broth and puree until smooth. Keeps well in the refrigerator for two weeks or three months frozen in a sealed container.

OAXACAN STYLE MOLE

This recipe is by Nora Gutierrez of the La Casa de Mis Recuerdos, which she demonstrated during our Culinary Tour to Oaxaca, Mexico, March, 2003. Estofado is one of the famous moles from Oaxaca. It is a home-style mole served with Mexican rice, hot corn tortillas, and jalapenos escabeche (pickled).

For the Chicken:

One 4 pound chicken, cut for frying into 10 pieces (no innards)*

2 quarts chicken stock or water to cover with onion, carrot, garlic and salt added

Splash jalapeno pickle juice

  1. Place chicken pieces in stock pot, add bouillon or water with the carrot, onion, etc. Liquid should cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until tender, about 35 to 45 minutes.

For the Sauce:

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 pound tomatillos

4 to 6 tomatoes, to equal 1 pound

1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup white sesame seeds

1 cup graham or zwieback cracker crumbs

1/2 very ripe plantain (banana family)

2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate

1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

2 one-inch pieces canella (cinnamon)

12 large capers

3 green olives per person

1/4 cup parsley

4 peppercorns

Salt to taste

1. Boil the almonds in 1½ cups water and boil the tomatillos in 1½ cups water.

  1. Parch the unpeeled tomatoes and onion on a comal or griddle until browned all over. Toward end of browning, add garlic. When done and slightly cooled, peel each and coarsely chop.
  1. Add the oil to a large skillet, then add the raisins and sauté until they puff up. Place in a bowl. Add the sesame seeds and cook them until they brown lightly. Add a teaspoon of salt as they are browning. When they are toasted, add the plantain sliced into ½ inch slices. Continue to cook until lightly browned. Then add the crackers and toast.
  1. Place a portion of each ingredient (reserving the spices, chocolate and olives) in the blender jar. Make sure to have some of the more moist items, such as the tomato, with each batch and blend all the ingredients together, creating a smooth paste.
  1. When all is blended, strain through a fine sieve and place in a large pot. Add 2 ½ cups chicken stock a little at a time until a sauce the consistency of thick soup is developed. Add the seasoning and olives, tasting to adjust seasonings.
  1. Add the chocolate, broken into pieces, and whole parsley sprigs and cook to melt chocolate. Taste and determine if more chocolate is desired. Add chicken and cook together for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce has flavored the chicken. Serve with fluffy rice.

*Option: Cook chicken whole, then peel and debone, leaving large pieces. Then add to the sauce as above.

 

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