Tag Archives: Ruta Mexicana

Nuestra Mesa – De Ángeles y Guerreros: Chiles en Nogada

Foto: Manuel RIvera
Foto: Manuel Rivera

Quien tiene la fortuna de visitar México en septiembre, descubrirá que los chiles en nogada empiezan a decorar los manteles, al mismo tiempo que los adornos tricolores que anuncian la llegada de las fiestas patrias aparecen por doquier. Literalmente chiles en salsa de nuez o “nogada”, este plato se le atribuye a la creatividad culinaria propia del estado de Puebla, y se dice que los chiles en nogada fueron servidos por primera vez en el siglo XIX para celebrar la independencia de México.

Mitad plegaria, mitad receta, cuenta la historia que las monjas agustinas de Atlixco, Puebla, improvisaron este platillo en honor del caudillo Agustín de Yturbide, quien durante su viaje a la Ciudad de México desde Veracruz, se detuvo en Puebla tras firmar el Tratado de Córdoba. Este documento establecía la independencia de México, es por eso que los colores del Ejército Trigarante, y ahora también los de la bandera mexicana, están representados en este plato.

Mitad guerrero, mitad ángel, esta delicia exige que al chile poblano se le de vida con un corazón hecho a base de carne, frutas y semillas disponibles en México durante el mes de septiembre, incluyendo pera, durazno, manzana y piñón. Para rematar, la salsa de nuez que le da nombre al plato es muy delicada, y está acentuada con semillas de granada.

Mitad indígena, mitad español, este plato es completamente mexicano y no puedes dejar de probarlo.

En caso de que quieras recrear esta joya culinaria en casa, nuestro colaborador y amigo, el chef Aldo Saavedra, viajó a Atlixco Puebla para traer a Nuestra Mesa, una receta inspirada por las monjas de la órden de las Clarisas, quienes se dedican a elaborar este platillo desde 1924. El chef Saavedra nos cuenta que originalmente, las monjas preparaban chiles en nogada para festejar el cumpleaños de una de las abadesas. Los invitados ocasionales empezaron a crearles fama, hasta que las monjas decidieron venderlos. El chef nos dice: “dado que no son restaurante, el servicio único es para llevar. Con nuestro plato en mano, nos dirigimos a la plaza del pueblo, a sentarnos al pie del kiosco, para disfrutar de este platillo ejecutado con gran maestría, pasión y precisión.”

PICADILLO

Ingredientes:

  • 3 cda manteca de cerdo
  • 1 diente de ajo picado
  • 2 cdas de cebolla finamente picada
  • 500 gr de lomo de cerdo molido
  • 50 gr dejamón de pierna
  • 500 gr de jitomates asados
  • 500 ml de caldo de pollo
  • 1 pizca de azafrán
  • 1 pizca de clavo molido
  • 1 pizca de comino
  • ½ cdta de canela molida
  • 1 manzana picada
  • 1 pera picada
  • 4 cdas de piñón rosa
  • 4 chabacanos deshidratados picados
  • 30 gr de pasas güeras remojadas en ron
  • 20 almendras picadas
  • 4 cdas de acitrón picado
  • 1 cda de azúcar moscabado
  • sal y pimienta al gusto
  • 1 taza de jerez

Procedimiento: 

  1. Calienta la manteca de cerdo y pon a sofreír el ajo y la cebolla hasta que estén transparentes, después agrega la carne de cerdo y el jamón.
  2. Cuando la carne esté dorada, agrega los jitomates, deja que se sofrían un poco y después agrega el caldo. Deja hervir hasta que se seque y la carne este tierna.
  3. Cuando todo empiece nuevamente a sofreírse, agrega todas las frutas, las especias, las pasas, las almendras y el acitrón.
  4. Revuelve y espera 5 minutos hasta que todo se sofría y vayan integrándose los sabores. Agrega el azúcar, un poco de sal, la pimienta y el jerez.
  5. Mueva constantemente, hasta que espese, rectifique la sazón .
  6. Retira del fuego y deja entibiar antes de rellenar los chiles.

CHILES

Ingredientes:

  • 16 chiles poblanos pelados
  • La mezcla de picadillo
  • 50 nueces de castilla frescas peladas( sin cascara dura , ni la cascara suave café, deben ser totalmente blancas)
  • 750 ml de leche
  • 250 gr de queso fresco
  • 1 bolillo remojado en leche con canela y azúcar
  • 125 ml de jerez seco
  • 3 huevos
  • 2 granadas rojas
  • perejil para decorar
  • manteca de cerdo para freír

Procedimiento:

  1. Un día antes de empezar la preparación, limpia las nueces de la cáscara y la piel. Pónlas a remojar en leche hasta cubrirlas.
  2. El día que se van a comer los chiles, muele la nuez con el queso y el pan remojado y el jerez.
  3. Si la salsa está muy espesa, agrégale un poco de crema o leche
  4. La salsa puede servirse a temperatura ambiente o puedes calentarla un poco ( no mucho porque se puede cortar)
  5. Hay dos maneras de servir los chiles, una es rellenarlos y salsear, poniendo encima la granada y unas hojas de perejil. La otra es capearlos, para lo que se baten las claras de los 3 huevos y después se le agregan las yemas. Posteriormente, el chile ya relleno, se pasa por un poco de harina y después por el huevo, para ponerlo a freír en la manteca. Escurre y sirve cubierto de salsa y granada.

El chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, el chef Saavedra comparte con los lectores de La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.

Flock to the Shepherd -The Charismatic Taco al Pastor

Photo: El Califa, Mexico City
Photo courtesy of: El Califa, Mexico City

RUTA MEXICANA

Whenever I visit Mexico, there is an additional ‘layover’ between the airport and my parents’ home in a suburb of Mexico City. Stopping for tacos al pastor or ‘shepherd-style’ tacos has become somewhat of an unspoken ritual. Luckily, no matter the time or day of the year, my sister is always prepared with a roster of recommendations that she has carefully curated in my absence. Count on her to rattle off an impressive selection that includes taquerías open on Christmas Day.

Despite the fact that taco stands abound, not all tacos are made equal. Ask any local. Finding the perfect taquería is almost a rite of passage for defeños*, one that speaks to the way we connect with our city and beyond- a Mexican’s relationship with their pastor is emotional… personal.

Photo courtesy of: El Califa. Mexico City, Mexico
Photo courtesy of: El Califa. Mexico City, Mexico

When Enrico came with me to Mexico for the first time, he joined me in our recently established ritual. We visited a corner taquería where my family knew Chucho*, the taquero. Enrico was a little nervous as he eyed the cilantro and the onion piling over the tender marinated pork meat and pineapple. As a tourist who visits Mexico for the first time, Enrico asked me if the food was safe to eat. Trying to leverage whatever I could think of to reassure him, I said, “You will be fine. The taquero’s name is Jesus!”

He was an instant convert.

I have yet to find a perfect spot in Chicago to have tacos al pastor. Recently, I was crushed to find that some places serve them with cubed meat. I am on a mission to find a place I can recommend!

In the meantime, if you have the good fortune to be in Mexico City, you must check out El Califa. Aside from their outstanding customer service, they are famous for the way they serve the meat and for their freshly-made tortillas.

You will see why I think that this taco is king.

* Defeño is a Citizen of Mexico City (D.F.)

**In Mexico, Chucho is short for Jesús, which is a fairly common name

EL CALIFA 

Altata 22, Col. Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico 

Click here to find additional locations

Hours: Mon. thru  Sun. 1:00 p.m. –  4:00 a.m. 

Once Upon a Plate in Mexico: Fairytale Fare at Dulce Patria

Fish Pozole at Dulce Patria, Mexico City, Mexico Photo: Brenda Storch
Fish pozole at “Dulce Patria”, Mexico City, Mexico –  Photo credit: Brenda Storch

RUTA MEXICANA

Whenever I visit home in Mexico City, I wish I could bring it back in a suitcase. Perhaps this is why Dulce Patria resonated so strongly with me. I had limited time at home and many new options available to explore. After much research and careful evaluation, I decided to celebrate my birthday at this restaurant. Two main elements influenced my decision,  the fact that Dulce Patria is highly acclaimed chef Martha Ortiz Chapa’s latest creation; and the establishment´s name, which by itself is captivating. “Patria” in Spanish is what “patriotic” in English would be if it were a noun. How perfectly fitting. Dulce Patria spoke to the sweet home country I was physically returning to (I often wander it in my dreams), even if briefly.

Every detail at Dulce Patria has been carefully curated to create an extraordinary experience. Right in the heart of Mexico City’s financial district, an inside patio reminiscent of a hacienda, along with cacti-shaped sculptures, create a new  world. Thoughtful touches like starfruit slices in your water, edible flowers and dishes carefully plated on whimsical handcrafts, add to an environment created to make guests feel they have stepped into a different dimension.  I was moved to realize that somebody shared my sentiment: Dulce Patria is like a little piece of Mexico that has been taken for safekeeping: chef Martha Ortiz Chapa keeps Mexico in her heart.

Asphalt jungle outside, beautiful patio inside. Photo credit:  Brenda Storch
Asphalt jungle outside, beautiful patio inside. Photo credit: Brenda Storch

And from her heart she speaks and cooks: Ortiz Chapa draws inspiration from Mexican artisans, poetry and art, all ingredients of the edible stories she creatively and passionately tells through her food.  Her characters are popular dishes that can be either found in the streets of Mexico, or more elegantly presented at fancier tables. Says Ortiz Chapa about her protagonists, “estos platos son los héroes que nos dieron patria” (these plates are the heroes that have given us our homeland).

Photo: Brenda Storch
Bucket of pepitorias with chamoy salsa.  Photo: Brenda Storch
A twist on mole con pollo, mole con pato.  Photo credit: Brenda Storch
A twist on chicken with mole sauce: duck with mole sauce. Photo credit: Brenda Storch
Mexican folk candy on a whimsical handcraft. Photo credit: Brenda Storch
Mexican folk candy on a whimsical handcraft. Photo credit: Brenda Storch

Mentioning that  food at Dulce Patria is absolutely extraordinary feels like stating the obvious. Suffice it to say, that at some point during my meal, the gastronomic narrative of chef Ortiz Chapa began feeling less like fantastic prose and more like pure poetry.

Restaurante Dulce Patria

Anatole France 100

Col. Polanco

Delegación Miguel Hidalgo

11560 México, D.F.

Teléfono: 3300-3999

Fax: 3300-3955

Horarios: lunes a sábado, de 1:30 pm 11:30 pm.

Domingos: de 1:30 a 5:30 pm.

A Cup of Magic with a Hint of Baroque

Churros and chocolate at El Moro - Mexico, CityPhoto: Brenda Storch
Churros and chocolate at Churrería El Moro – Mexico, City, Mexico
Photo: Brenda Storch

     

RUTA MEXICANA

It was not by coincidence or like we say in Mexico, “de puro churro” * that Churrería El Moro was on my agenda as a place I had to check out this time.  I usually visit my family in Mexico City during the holiday season, which makes it almost impossible to make a stop at all the places I either want to go back to, or experience for the first time. This time around, I made sure to move this famous establishment to the top of my list.

I visited El Moro, like locals call it, on New Year’s Day, and I was particularly impressed to find quite a large group of people lined up outside. A look at the menu makes it clear- El Moro masters the alchemy of  churros con chocolate, and its simple menu has delighted guests for nearly a century.  Here you can find four types of chocolate differentiated primarily by thickness and degree of sweetness. These deliciously baroque concoctions have been simmering to perfection since this legendary café opened in 1935.

Churrería El Moro - Mexico City, Mexico Photo by: Brenda Storch
Churrería El Moro – Mexico City, Mexico
Photo by: Brenda Storch

The line moved quickly, and after a short wait, we were warmly greeted and escorted to a table by someone so cheerful to see me on a holiday, I almost felt like family.  I was delighted to have a front row seat to a performance, as churros were being charmed into delicate wheels of fried dough destined to vanish in a matter of seconds.

The city’s hustle and bustle are part of the décor and the overall experience of this urban, simple and non-pretentious locale: El Moro welcomes locals and tourists from all walks of life.

Growing up in a place like Mexico City, where you can find  a cathedral built on top of an Aztec building ( originally built on a lake that is no longer there), I anticipate magic whenever I visit. I have never been disappointed, and this time around, I drank magic in a cup.

*Literally translated as “by virtue of a churro” which means, “accidentally.”

El Moro, Mexico City- Mexico Photo by: Brenda Storch
El Moro, Mexico City- Mexico
Photo by: Brenda Storch
If you visit: 
Don’t be deterred by long lines if you encounter them, they move quickly. The area is busy, but generally safe. Exercise precautions you would observe in any major city. Consider getting your churros to go, as this is also an option.

Churrería El Moro

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 42

Centro Histórico

México, D.F.

Tel. 55 12 0896

Estampas de Mi Ciudad – Saints and Superheroes at Mercado de San Juan

DSC04249
“El Santo” (The Saint)
Mercado de San Juan, Mexico City, Mexico
Photo credit: Brenda Storch

The supernatural and the secular, the old and the new, the exotic and the mundane converge at Mercado de San Juan- a collection of food so eclectic and extraordinary as the imagery that frames it. Mercado de San Juan offers a gateway into what would be the equivalent of anthropological “Cliffs Notes” on Mexico. In less than four aisles, visitors can walk 500 years back in history and choose from  a wide array of pre-Hispanic sources of protein including  chicatana ants, grasshoppers and other insects.

DSC04249
Grasshoppers on display at Mercado de San Juan
Mercado de San Juan, Mexico City, Mexico
Photo credit: Brenda Storch

Walk a few aisles and a couple of  centuries forward, and discover hundreds of varieties of cheeses at “La Catalana”. Walk a few steps more and find anything from duck to wild boar, ostrich and crocodile in the meat section. Plus, the market has its own fonda, a little food bar with fresh, rustic-yet-extraordinary flavors, in case you want to stay and eat like a local.

DSC04249
Fonda Dish at Mercado de San Juan
Mercado de San Juan, Mexico City, Mexico
Photo credit: Brenda Storch

I have spent most of my life in Mexico City, and it was not until a recent trip home that I decided to visit Mercado de San Juan. This market has attracted shoppers for hundreds of years, and more contemporarily, celebrities, up-and-coming chefs and food enthusiasts. If you are in D.F. and close to the Centro Histórico, have a taste of Mexico in one of the aisles of Mercado de San Juan. Here, food is sustenance, food is love, food is sacred. Missing it, a sin.

DSC04249
“San Juan”(St. John)
Mercado de San Juan, Mexico City, Mexico
Photo credit: Brenda Storch

Address: Antiguo Mercado de San Juan Ernesto Pugibet, No.21 loc.162 Centro Historico, Mexico D.F.

Phone:+52 1 55 3101 7290
Hours: Mon- Sun 9:00 am–5:00 pm

Saliditos del Comal – Estampas de mi Ciudad

La Casa de las Sirenas, República de Guatemala No. 32, Centro Histórico, México City, Mexico

RUTA MEXICANA

Sopes and quesadillas fresh of the comal delight tourists and locals at “La Casa de las Sirenas”. At this restaurant, food comes with a side of history- the eatery is located inside a 16th century building.