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
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)
2 medium sized chicken breasts
1 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs olive oil
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)
Sliced roasted chile poblano
Sliced Chihuahua cheese
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.
Sliced Chihuahua cheese
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!