Sopa de Elote

This recipe for fresh corn soup comes from the classic book The Cuisines of Mexico (1972) by Diana Kennedy, the country’s highly esteemed compiler and preserver of traditional recipes.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chile poblano (or canned, peeling green chilies) diced
6 tablespoons crumbled cream cheese or Boursault
6 small tortillas, cut into small squares and fried crisp
4 cups corn (1 1/2 pounds frozen corn or kernels from 5 ears)
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Directions:

In a blender, combine the corn together with the water at high speed until you have a smooth puree. Put the puree through the medium disk of the food mill. Melt the butter but do not let it get too hot. Add the corn puree and let it cook over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring it all the time.

Add the milk and the salt to the mixture and bring it to a boil. Lower the flame and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring it from time to time so that it does not stick to the pan. By this time it will have thickened slightly.

Put about one-half tablespoon diced chili and one tablespoon of crumbled cheese into each bowl. Pour the hot soup over them and garnish with thick tortilla squares.

Servings: Serves six

Barbacoa de Cordero en Chili Ancho de Catalina

Barbara Sibley, Mexican co-chef and co-owner of La Palapa restaurant in Manhattan and author of the forthcoming cookbook Antojitos (Ten Speed Press), offers this recipe for Ancho Chili Braised Barbecued Lamb Shanks.

Ingredients:

20 chilis anchos
6 cloves of garlic 12 avocado leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt 6 lamb shanks (1 pound each; can substitute goat, chicken or pork)
Salt and freshly ground pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 quart of low sodium chicken stock or water

Directions:

Wipe chilis clean and toast gently in a large, heavy skillet or griddle. This prevents the chilis from making the sauce bitter. Place them in a glass or nonreactive bowl and pour two cups of boiling water over the chilis. Allow chilis to soften in this water. Remove the stems, veins, and seeds while keeping the chilis as intact as possible. Blend ten of the chilis and the roasted garlic with a few tablespoons of the soaking liquid, just enough to allow chilis to become pureed. Add salt. Set apart the remaining ten chilis to wrap around the lamb shanks. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 325˚F (162.7˚C).

Place olive oil in a medium roasting pan. Cover each lamb shank with chili ancho, garlic paste, and two medium avocado leaves, then wrap with one or more chilis anchos. Wrap with the skin of the chili facing out and the pulp side touching the meat being careful to cover the entire surface of the meat.

Transfer the lamb shanks to the roasting pan, standing them up with the meat side down and the exposed bone facing up. Pour in the chicken stock so that about two inches of the lamb shanks are covered. Cover the pan with foil creating a tight seal so that steam does not escape during the braising. Braise the shanks in the oven until tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Transfer the lamb to an oven proof serving dish and spoon the braising liquid over the shanks. Reserve the braising liquid to serve on the side.

Servings: Serves six

Michelada

Michelada is the perfect drink for a sunny day in Mexico City.

Ingredients:

1/2 lime, preferably a key lime
Coarse salt
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash soy sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 pinch black pepper
1 dash Maggi seasoning, optional
12 ounces beer, preferably a dark Mexican beer like Negra Modelo

Directions:

Squeeze the juice from the lime and reserve. Salt the rim of a highball glass by rubbing it with the lime and dipping it in coarse salt. Fill with ice.

Add lime juice, Worcestershire, soy sauce, Tabasco, pepper, and Maggi, if desired. Pour in beer, stir, and serve, adding more beer as you sip.

Servings: Serves one

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