Verde blanco y colorado, la bandera del soldado.
This week's loteria theme is La Bandera - The Flag. The flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red with the national coat of arms charged in the center of the white stripe. While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country's War of Independence, and subsequent First Mexican Empire. Red, white, and green are the colors of the national liberation army in Mexico. The central emblem is the Aztec pictogram for Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), the center of their empire. It recalls the legend that inspired the Aztecs to settle on what was originally a lake-island. The coat of arms has an eagle, holding a serpent in its talon, perched on top of a prickly pear cactus; the cactus is situated on a rock that rises above a lake. The coat of arms is derived from an Aztec legend that their gods told them to build a city where they spot an eagle on a nopal eating a serpent, which is now Mexico City.
So the menu to honor the Mexican flag includes bandera enchiladas -- three kinds of fillings, three kinds of sauces -- and a bandera dessert of green and red fruit. Keep in mind that I made the enchiladas up from scratch using leftovers from my freezer, so your enchiladas may vary.
Las Enchiladas de La Bandera
Step one: Make the fillings:
Pork filling: Cooked pork tenderloin pulsified in food processor with cream cheese, basil and honey.
Steak filling: Grilled rib-eye steak mixed with sauteed yellow squash and shallot.
Chicken filling: Grilled chicken with red salsa and a bit of asadero cheese (just enough to bind the filling together.)
Step 2: Make the sauces:
White Queso Sauce for the chicken filling: I microwaved 1 cup of shredded asadero cheese with ¼ cup of heavy cream, a bit of shallot, fresh cilantro, cumin and a bit of serrano pepper. I put the microwave on 50% power and stirred often.
Chimichurri Sauce for the steak filling: Process all of these ingredients in a food processor: 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro, 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Cheater’s Roja Sauce for the pork filling: I had some Mexican corn chowder soup leftover from lunch out with Meredith, so I added a little adobo pepper and paprika to make the sauce red.
Step 3: Assemble the enchiladas, cover with sauces, and bake.
Red, Green and White Parfait
Cut up red fruit; I used red plum, strawberries, and raspberries. Cut up green fruit; I used grapes, kiwi, and green apple. Make the yogurt cream. Whip 1/2 a cup of whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Add a container of vanilla yogurt, and blend well. Form layers of the flag with the green fruit, yogurt blend, and red fruit.
This week's Loteria-themed meal is for El Catrin - The Gentleman. And the gentleman in my life loves lemons, so this meal is inspired by and for him.
Lemony Chicken with Brown Rice (recipe below)
Lemon Shortbread with Raspberries and Cream (link to recipe here)
This is a made-from-scratch recipe! My friend, Melissa, and I were at a shall-not-be-named restaurant in Brenham and she had the Lemony Chicken and Rice lunch special. It was good, not too strong of a lemon taste. We asked for the recipe and they pronounced it a secret. Okay, sure....so here's my version which I think was even better. (Cue sound of evil villian laugh.)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 T. olive oil
1 T. flour
1 T. butter
1 c. chicken broth or stock
Juice of 1 lemon
1 to 3 tsp. of sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bag boil-in-the-bag brown rice, cooked
1/4 c. cooked, minced carrots for garnish
1/8 c. minced chives for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the chicken pieces until nicely browned. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the flour and butter to the pan bits and drippings to make a roux. Slowly add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Reduce until nicely thickened, stirring often.
Once the sauce is reduced, salt and pepper the sauce to taste, and then decide if the sauce is too lemony (sour) for your taste. At this point, you could add sugar to balance the lemon (I added 2 tsp.)
Add the cooked chicken and the rice back to the skillet to incorporate, then serve with carrots and chives as garnish.