Some Latin American food recipes

Ribeye Steak Quesadillas

ribeye quesadillas

Original creation.  Quite good, if I do say so myself.  I had some cilantro and chipotle con adobo sauce to use up, so why not?  These quesadillas are meaty, savory, and delicious.  I really like the mushrooms’ texture.  If you wanted to take it to the next level, you should caramelize some onions and put them into the quesadillas along with the mushroom and meat.

Ingredients:

Meat:

  • 3/4 pound thinly sliced ribeye (presliced at a local Asian market)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Marinade:

  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle con adobo sauce.  Dump it all in there, peppers and all.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Quesadillas:

  • 1/2 pound mushrooms (any kind), sliced
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas (I used whole wheat because that’s how I roll)
  • 1 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems
  • 1 large avocado, diced

Directions:

In a nonreactive, medium bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and mix to cover the meat.  Set aside and prepare the remaining ingredients for the quesadillas.

Heat the oil over a medium-high flame in a large skillet.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, spread out a few slices of meat across the bottom of the pan.  This is best done with tongs.  After 1 minute, the bottom side will be cooked; flip each slice and cook on the other side for less than a minute.  Remove each slice to a plate when it is cooked.  Repeat until you’ve cooked all the meat.  Sauté the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes in the pan after all the meat is done.  Transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl when they’ve turned limp and brown.

To assemble the quesadillas, place one tortilla on a plate (we’re not making half-quesadillas; those are for kids).  Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded Monterey jack cheese, followed by 1/4 of the cooked mushrooms, and and 1/4 of the meat (spreading out each slice for maximum coverage).  Spread 1 tablespoon cilantro over the meat.  Follow the cilantro with a thin layer of cheese and top with the other tortilla.

To cook the quesadillas, heat a comal or griddle over medium to medium-low heat.  Optionally, coat with a non-stick spray.  Your goal is to melt the cheese on the inside while browning (but not burning) the outside of the tortillas.  Place the assembled quesadilla on the preheated pan.  Cook for 2 minutes, checking the tortilla that is in contact with the pan to make sure it doesn’t burn.  Flip and repeat with the other side.  When the cheese has melted on the inside (you will be able to see evidence of this), it’s done.  Transfer it to a plate and cut into 4 or 6 sections.  Top with 1/4 of the diced avocado and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro.  Repeat this process 3 more times to cook the remaining quesadillas.

Serves 4 adults

Peruvian-Style Arroz Verde Con Pollo

arroz verde con pollo

I recently went to restaurant  this weekend.  Never before had I spent so much money on a single meal, but I was so inspired by the food we ate that I decided to make some of my own.  I figured that the cilantro rice was a good place to start, and after some online research I found a simple Arroz Verde Con Pollo (green rice with chicken) recipe from The Faster Times and went for it.  I added the chili pepper and lime juice for extra taste dimensions.  The pepper gives it a kick and the lime freshens the dish.  I call this Peruvian-style because it’s probably not traditional…but who am I to tell?

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bunches cilantro, well washed, most stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium-to-large onion, chopped
  • 1 small green chili pepper, minced, optional
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs for more taste), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 large white potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:

In a food processor, pureé the cilantro with 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Set aside for later.

In a large skillet over a medium high flame, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Cook the onions, bell pepper, and chili pepper for 5 minutes until nearly brown.  Add the garlic and stir for 45 seconds.  Add the chicken, season with salt, and sear for 3-4 minutes, stirring reasonably often.  Mix in the rice, potato, and cumin powder.  Stir for 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

When the rice and potatoes are nearly cooked, add the cilantro pureé and peas.  Stir to combine; season with salt to taste.  Remove from heat and mix in the lime juice.

Serves 5-6 as a main dish.

Black Bean Soup

black bean soup

An easy, healthy soup.  Simmering the soup for 15 minutes reduces the famed digestive problems associated with beans.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 spicy pepper, seeded, stemmed, and minced (I used a Santa Fe chili pepper)
  • 3/4 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 small head red cabbage, chopped roughly
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced

Directions:

Heat the oil with medium heat in a large stock pot until shimmering.  Add onions, spicy pepper, mushrooms, and cabbage, cooking until nearly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 45 seconds.  Quickly add the chili powder and cayenne.  Give it a stir and then add the beans and chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer.  Remove 3 cups of the soup and process in a blender or food processor until relatively smooth.  Return to the soup and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat; add lime and salt to taste.  Garnish each soup bowl with avocado and cilantro before serving.

Serves 3-4.

Thanks to Maria Gutierrez Almeyda for the photos and try the recipes.

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