Botanas!

Botanas are snacks, or appetizers.  A variety of small snacks are served on a large platter and are intended to be served communally. 

I’ve been wanting to make refried beans for several days now and this seemed like a good way to showcase them.  Homemade tortillas, fire roasted poblano chiles, mesquite grilled chicken and queso Chihuahua offer bold flavors and textures to the party platter.  Lettuce, cilantro and tomato add bright colors to the ensemble.

The botanas platter took several hours to complete.  Boiling dried beans and preparing tortilla dough take an hour and half each to complete.  Roasting chiles and the chicken on an outdoor grill requires another hour, or more.  Some of these tasks can be done in advance and kept chilled and then reheated, when you are ready to assemble the platter.

Ingredients for Refried Beans:

2 cups dry pinto beans, cleaned and rinsed

1 guajillo chile, stemmed and seeds removed

1 cup onion, sliced in large rings

½ gallon water

¼ cup lard

2 Tbs bacon fat

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cumin

Directions for refried beans:

Add dry pinto beans to a pot of water.  Turn heat to high.

Slice the guajillo chile in half.  Add the chile and onion to the pot.

When the pot begins to boil, turn the heat to low and cover.  Simmer for one and a half hours.

Strain beans and discard the onion and chile. Rreserve one or two cups of the broth. 

In a large skillet, add the lard.  Melt the lard at low/medium heat. 

Add cooked beans and stir.  Fry the beans for about 5 minutes. 

Add about 1 cup of the reserved bean broth. Simmer and stir for one minute.

Add the bacon fat and stir for another minute.

Mash the beans with a potato masher or large fork.  Mash and mix the beans until they are creamy.  Add more broth if desired.

Add salt and cumin.  Stir for a minute.  Turn heat off and turn out to a serving bowl.

Ingredients for Fire Roasted Poblano Chiles:

3 fresh poblano chiles

The green onions will be grilled, too. They will be in another recipe.

Directions:

Roast chiles on the grill at very high heat.  Turn the chiles every 3 or 4 minutes to char each side. 

Once the chiles are charred on all sides, place them in a bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap.  The chiles will soften and cool to room temperature in about 15 minutes. 

Remove the chiles and peel the charred outer skin away from the chiles. The charred parts should easy separate from the rest of the chile. Cut the stem off and pull out the seed cluster.

Slice the chiles lengthwise and lay the chile out on a cutting board.  Remove any seeds that were missed.

Slice the chiles in thin ribbons, about ¼” thick.  Set aside.

Pollo a la Parrilla de Mezquite

(Mesquite Grilled Chicken)

Ingredients

2 medium sized chicken breasts

1 tsp red chile powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbs olive oil

Directions:

Sprinkle chile powder, cumin and garlic over the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss, to mix.

Carefully place chicken on a hot grill and grill each side for 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the chicken, wrap in foil and store in a warm place until ready to serve.

Quesadillas de Rajas con Queso

(Quesadilla with Poblanos and Cheese)

Ingredients:

Flour tortillas

Sliced roasted chile poblano

Sliced Chihuahua cheese

Directions:

Add sliced cheese and strips of poblano pepper to one half of a tortilla. 

Make a quesadilla by folding the tortilla to cover the cheese and chile. 

Fry the  quesadilla in butter and olive oil at low/medium heat for a few minutes on each side.

Remove and cut the quesadillas in half.

Burritos pequenos

(Small burritos)

Ingredients:

Flour tortillas

Refried beans

Sliced Chihuahua cheese

Directions:

Add refried beans and cheese to a tortilla. 

Roll the tortillas to form burritos. 

Pan fry in butter and olive oil at low/medium heat for a few minutes.

Remove burritos and slice into small, bite sized pieces.

Assemble the botanas platter

Arrange the lettuce, cilantro and tomato on one edge of the plater.  Nestle sliced chicken next to the salad.  Add a bouquet of roasted poblano next to the chicken.

Arrange the quesadillas and mini-burritos in a decorative array to complete the platter.

Celebrate and enjoy! 

Burritos de Carne Asada con Papas Pequeñas

Steak Burritos with Little Potatoes

I’m on a Tex-Mex kick again…who would have guessed!

Technically, this wasn’t carne asada because I didn’t grill the meat.  I seared the meat in a cast iron skillet at high heat, which is close enough for me.  Secondly, carne asada usually is prepared with a dry rub on the meat.  I marinated the beef in guajillo and ancho chile sauce for a few hours.  It might be more correct to say that I made bistec en salsa guajillo.  “Pero, “Carne asada” suena más emocionante!”  Which is to say, Carne asada sounds more exciting!

The potatoes used in this recipe came from my favorite grocery store, ALDI.  The  24 ounce bag contains a variety of bite sized potatoes, ranging from white, yellow, red, brown and purple.  They bake quickly in the oven and they come out of the oven crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Ingredients for the carne asada:

1 ¼ lbs top round beef steak (thinly sliced)

16 oz enchilada sauce (guajillo and ancho chiles this time, but canned is perfectly fine!)

1 Tbs cooking oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 ripe tomato, diced

3 large flour tortillas (burrito sized)

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Ingredients for the potatoes:

24 oz bite sized whole potatoes

1 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chile powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Slice the raw steak, thinly. 

Marinate the steak in the chile guajillo sauce for 30 minutes, or longer.

In a large skillet at medium/low heat, add the onion and jalapeño until the onions begin to turn translucent. 

Add the garlic powder, cumin and diced tomato.   Simmer at low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. 

While the sauce simmers, prepare the potatoes.

Wash, rinse and drain the potatoes.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil, garlic powder, chile powder, paprika, cumin, salt and black pepper.

Scatter the potatoes across a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake at 350° for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes can be cut easily with a knife.  Keep warm until serving.

Remove the cooked sauce to a bowl.

Add the marinated beef to the skillet and sauté at very high heat for 2 minutes.  Reserve the marinade.

Remove the beef and keep warm.

Reduce the beef juices by stirring at high heat for a few minutes. 

Add the sauce back to the skillet, with the reduced beef juices.   Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Chop the beef and return the beef to the skillet.

Divide the beef in the skillet evenly, according to the number of burritos that you are preparing.  I am making three burritos.

On a clean work surface, assemble the burritos.  Add the beef and roll the tortillas.

Add the guajillo marinade to the skillet and cook at high heat for a few minutes to thicken the sauce (and to kill any bacteria).

Reduce the heat to low and add the burritos to the skillet.  Roll the burritos in the sauce to cover all sides.

Top with cheese.

Move the skillet from the stove top to the oven and bake at 350° for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts.  Remove the burritos from the oven and keep warm.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and turn out to a serving dish.

Serve with refried beans and a simple salad.

Salut!