Get ready for Mexican Independence Day on Sept. 16 with two authentic Mexican dishes offered by authentic Mexican chefs. Lorenzo Ariza offers his Pre-Columbian dish as a fitting way to remember the day Father Hidalgo pronounced his Grito de Delores, not unlike to our Declaration of Independence. Cathy Cruz Gooch also offers an authentic Mexican meal she prepares regularly at home.
Salsa a La Salsa
1420 Nicollet Ave.
Ariza grew up in the shadows of the Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl volcanoes south of Mexico City. His life-changing experience was to go to California at the age of 18 working in restaurants, and after many years was employed by a Hollywood catering business serving celebrities such as Madonna, Jackie Collins and Danny DeVito. After coming to Minnesota, he opened Salsa Ala Salsa on Nicollet in 2003. He opened his second restaurant in Midtown Global Market in 2006. He is happy to share his culinary craft of the food from his roots with any who ask.
6 Guajillo chiles
6 chiles de arbol
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves.
2 Roma tomatoes
5 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cloves
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1 onion diced
1 cup of corn oil
4 lbs. of beef (chuck roll) or lamb cut into 1.5 in. cubes
Salt and black pepper
20 avocado leaves (available in Mexican markets)
10 each 12-inch squares of banana leaves (available in Mexican and Asian markets)
Sauce to marinate meat: In a 4 quart pan, add 2 quarts of water, add peppers, bay leaves, tomatoes and garlic, bring it to a boil when peppers are tender add them to the blender with enough liquid just to be able to puree them making it in to a paste.
In a heated sauté pan or shallow pot add oil, peppercorns, cumin, thyme, and oregano, stirring for a couple of minutes making sure it doesn’t get burned, add diced onions. When onions are transparent incorporate spices mixture to blender mixture, blend adding water just enough to be able to blend it. Add salt to taste. Let it cool in refrigerator.
Season meat with salt and coarse black pepper. When marinade has been cooled down, add meat with the avocado leaves and let it sit overnight.
Check meat mixture for salt. Add more if needed. Divide meat in 10 portions placing each portion in the center of each banana leaf square; fold banana leaves, 4 times making a square shape wrapping the meat into a pouch. Place pouches in a steamer and steam them for 90 minutes. Check temperature 160 degrees with meat thermometer and let it cook more if needed. Serve with tortillas and hot sauce.
Ariza adds, “The original recipe is wrapped with the outer skin of the agave plant. That is where it gets the name. Then it evolved and people used cornhusks, and now a lot of people use aluminum foil or plastic bags. We use banana leaves. Each one of the ingredients used to wrap changes the flavor. There are so many opportunities to try and experience all the different flavors. With regards to avocado leaves, I would not substitute them, but if I would want to experiment, I would use Epazote or Hoja Santa.”
Cathy Cruz Gooch
Catallia Mexican Foods
2965 Lone Oak Circle
St Paul, MN 55121
Cathy Cruz Gooch is President and CEO of Catallia Mexican Foods, LLC, a premium manufacturer of flour and corn tortillas located in Eagan, Minnesota. As a third-generation Mexican-American, Cathy mastered the art of tortilla making and began her entrepreneurial career of bringing authentic tortillas to the marketplace almost 30 years ago. Cathy recommends this authentic dish is best served with her Frescados™ flour or corn tortillas, found at your local Minnesota grocer.
Pork Chile Colorado
A pork stew made with fresh bell peppers and green chiles. This tasty dish has great authentic flavors and aroma.
1 ½ pounds of lean pork shoulder cut into one-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon crushed garlic
1 cup green bell pepper seeded and chopped
2 large cans whole tomatoes (28 oz. each)
4 oz. Anaheim chiles, seeded and chopped
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt to taste
In large skillet brown pork in heated oil, sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Add chopped onion, garlic and cook until juices form.
Transfer pork and juices into a medium size stockpot over medium heat.
Add bell peppers, tomatoes, green chiles, sugar, cloves, cumin and stir. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, for approximately one hour, stirring occasionally until pork is very tender. Salt to taste.
Serve with warm Frescados™ flour or corn tortillas.
This recipe serves approximately six people.
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Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.