My first experience of Machaca con Huevos was less than satisfying, a small amount of tasteless dry grey steak encased with dull rubbery overcooked eggs; the product of a good dish in the hands of a poor cook. When I experience just such a fiasco, I start diagnosing what when wrong and how I could improve it. Starting with the beef, I wanted to concentrate on texture and flavor. Traditionally machaca is made from reconstituted dried beef, and I am not excited with dried meat products. Although drying can concentrate and intensify flavor, I hate to lose the braised texture of the meat. What really sparked my interest is the shredded form of the meat, which led me to think about pulled pork and braised beef short ribs: both which could be infused with Mexican flavors. Then as chance would have it, I pulled out a corned beef brisket that I was going to slow cook. I gently cooked and shredded the corned beef; then crisped it in the oven before adding onions and peppers then served over crispy shredded hash browns with . Topped with your favorite eggs and topped with a little pepper hot sauce resulted in salty, savoury beef; crispy potatoes with spicy eggs with a noticable Irish twist just in time for Saint Patrick's day. This dish shows we can use multiple translation techniques; substitution using corned beef (plus I used some pickled red peppers instead of roasted), using Saint Patrick's day as an inspiration, and slow cooking the brisket and shredding it changing methods. The pulled pork and braised beef versions are waiting for another day when I have suitable leftovers.
1 pound corned beef
1 poblano pepper
1 large russet potato shredded
1 red bell pepper (optional)
2 Roma tomatoes
1 small sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
½ cup beef stock
6 Large Eggs
½ cup shredded cheese (optional)
dash favorite hot sauce (optional)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Garnish with cilantro, lime, tomato and some tortillas.
Shred the corned beef with fork or hands and reserve. Roast at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes or broil until browned and crispy).
Shred the potatoes and fry in oil until brown and crispy. Keep warm.
Skin, seed and dice the tomato. Roast, skin and dice the peppers. Dice the onion and finely chop garlic. Heat a skillet on medium heat; add butter and a little oil and sauté garlic and the onion for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, add peppers and continue to sauté until soft (about 5 min). Add the tomato, most of the corned beef, beef stock and reduce until most of the liquid is gone. Reserve and keep warm.
Cook your eggs and plate some potatoes first then some beef mixture then a little of the reserved potato and corned beef. Garnish with cilantro, avocado slices, a small wedge of lime and grilled tortillas.
Although I have been concentrating on breakfast and brunch dishes, I like to digress a little and talk about appetizers. I was talking to the owner of one of our local Mexican restaurants and the conversation turned to the food that could be served for groups. We discussed the possibility of serving Mexican style tapas and I said I would work on coming up with some ideas for some small appetizers. With my recent discussion of form, some of my ideas did not fit into changing shapes but scaling down regular dishes into an appetizer handheld form. I am adding to Form the subgroup scale, which would be defined as keeping the same shape but increasing or decreasing the size. For example, I might serve chicken wings instead of a whole piece of chicken or scale down a chimichanga to a bite sized version. After some thought I made a preliminary list of possible appetizers.
Chicken Wings -
1. Chipolte Honey Lime – chipolte, honey and lime juice with lime zest
2. Mole – mole sauce slightly diluted with chicken broth
3. Sweet Prickly Pear – prickly pear, lime sweetened with sugar
Mini Tostadas – refried bean, guacamole, lettuce, cheese
Mini Chimichangas – Shredded pork,beef or chicken, onions and shredded cabbage in egg roll skins
Small stuffed Peppers – piquillo peppers stufed with chorizo and cheese, a play on a chile rellano
Mexican Bruschetta – small rounds of grilled bread, topped with pico de gallo
Lettuce cups – filled with ceviche
Open face mini tamale – small circle of fried masa with pork topping with salsa verde
Mexican rice balls – mexican spiced risotto cooled, stuffed with cheese, formed into balls, breaded and deep fried
Shrimp and spiced polenta skewer – spiced shrimp and chile dusted polenta squares
My first attempt was to tackle the chicken wings and I decided to combine the chipolte honey lime with the sweet prickly pear because I felt after tasting the prickly pear, it needed a little spice to balance the sweet citrus taste. I normally like to prepare everything from scratch but due to time constraints I used a bottled mole sauce from my local Mexican market and added some embelishments to achieve the taste i wanted. I promise to add my mole recipe later for another dish.
3 to 4 pounds chicken wings
brine - 1 quart water, 2 Tbsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. favorite hot sauce
1/2 cup corn starch
1 tsp. each salt and pepper
Cut off the chicken wing tip (reserve for stock) and separate at the joint into 2 pieces. Prepare the brine and brine overnight. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain well and dry the wings with paper towels, dust with the corn starch shaking off any extra. Season with the salt and pepper and place on a rack on a baking sheet. Brush with the olive oil and cook until browned on the top (about 15 to 20 minutes), turn over and brush with more olive oil and return to the oven until browned on the second side (10 to 15 minutes). Reserve warm until ready to sauce.
Prickly Pear Honey Chile Sauce
Four or five prickly pear fruits
1/4 cup honey
Four or five limes
1 Tbsp. light chili pepper powder
1 Tbsp. chipotle chili pepper powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. Salt
Cut off the tops and bottoms of each of the fruits and cut the rind or skin off. Cut into medium pieces and put into a blender. Zest the limes and reserve. Juice the limes and add to the blender. Add the honey water and salt to the blender and blend into a puree. Strain into a sauce pan and reduce a third. The mixture should just start to thicken. Add the chile powders to your taste. Reserve warm until the wings are ready. When the wings are ready, add the sauce to a metal bowl then the wings and toss to coat then serve.
Mole Wing Sauce
1/2 Cup of your favorite mole sauce
1/2 Cup chicken broth
Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent) to taste
Cinnamon to taste
Hot Sauce to taste
Prepare the mole sauce as directed then add to a sauce pan. Thin with the chicken broth, taste and add chocolate, cinnamon and hot sauce to taste. Reserve warm until the wings are ready. When the wings are ready, add the sauce to a metal bowl then the wings and toss to coat then serve.
Past Posts (click to select)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.