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    Recipe: Sopa Azteca from 'El Mirador' Restaurant in San Antonio

    My family has been going to El Mirador in San Antonio, Texas every Saturday for the past 30 years for their Azteca and Xochitl soups which are made specifically for Saturday. Those in the know in San Antonio (which have included former U.S. Presidents, and other movers and shakers in the business world) come in on Saturdays to enjoy the soup and hob nob for this ‘insiders event”, the Azteca and Xochitl soups.

    In presenting a recipe, there’s no other recipe for Sopa Azteca that I wanted to write about, except for the Sopa Azteca that El Mirador has been making for decades, which comes from a family recipe originating from the Trevino family who started the restaurant back in the 60s. Here’s the Sopa Azteca recipe which I found after doing some research, in archives from a feature published in a 1986 newspaper.

    Sopa Azteca from El Mirador in San Antonio

    1½ teaspoons cooking oil
    2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
    6 medium cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
    2 pounds large red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
    1½ tablespoons oregano
    1½ tablespoons basil
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    2½ quarts of water
    2 pounds chicken pieces
    3 or 4 bay leaves
    Sprig epazote (optional – see note)
    1 6-ounce can tomato paste
    1 cup bell pepper cut in thin slices about an inch long
    1 cup celery cut diagonally in thin slices
    1½ cups diced zucchini
    1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
    salt to taste, if desired
    1 medium potato, peeled, parboiled, diced, and fried
    15 small corn tortillas, cut in strips about ¼ inch wide, deep fried and drained
    ½ pound fresh spinach, washed, stems removed, and shredded
    1 avocado, cubed
    1 pound shredded mozzarella or Monterrey Jack cheese

    1) Put oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are translucent and soft – about 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, cumin, and black pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft, 10-15 minutes. Note: To prepare the tomatoes how El Mirador does, instead of cooking them - roast them on the grill until they are lightly blackened.
    2) Blend mixture in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
    3) Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add chicken, bay leaf, and epazote. Skim off fat and foam. Add puree and tomato paste, and cook until chicken is tender about 20 minutes. Remove chicken. Skin, shred, and set aside.
    4) Add bell pepper, celery, zucchini and carrot to broth and cook about 10 minutes, until crisp but tender. Remove vegetables from broth, so as not to overcook. Salt broth to taste.
    5) To Serve, place vegetables and potato in a large soup bowl. Add, in order, tortilla strips, spinach (around the top – shredded chicken, cubed avocado, and cheese. Pour hot broth into soup bowl and serve. Each bowl must be prepared as described to distribute vegetables and tortillas evenly.
    Serves 12
    *Note, additionally any Mexican white cheese (such as a crumbly Chihuahua cheese) can also be crumbled on top to add additional flavor to the soup.
    -Zee Diaz

    (0 votes)
    Posted by on January 30, 2014

    Recipe: Pinto Beans (Frijoles) a la Charra

    1 (16-ounce) package dried pinto beans
    Water to cover
    2 (10-ounce) smoked ham hocks
    2 quarts water
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
    2 tablespoons of olive oil
    1 large green bell pepper, diced
    6 green onions, chopped
    4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
    3 stalks of celery (sliced)
    Cumin powder

    Take the pinto beans and cover with water. Let sit covered with water overnight in the fridge. In the morning, add 2 quarts of water (you may add chicken stock to the water to make more flavorful) to the beans. Add the ham hocks, water and salt as necessary as well.

    In a separate frying pan heat olive oil, add green bell pepper, onions, garlic, celery, and cumin powder. Saute until onions are clear.

    Add vegetables to the stock, ham hocks, and beans. Bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for at least 3-4 hours, or until tender. Add a few stalks of cilantro as well for flavor.   To serve, slice jalapenos on top as desired.

    (0 votes)
    Posted by on December 02, 2013

    How To: Mole Verde con Pollo- Mexican Green Pumpkin Seed Mole with Chicken (PHOTOS)

    -by Nathan Gutierrez

    Mole pronounced “mol-ay” is a term in Mexican Cuisine that can mean sauce, or refer to a variety of complex sauces that combine nuts, seeds, chilies, and sometimes even chocolate. Today I present “Mole Verde” literally translates to “Green Mole” it is made from a combination of green leafy vegetables, green tomatillos, garlic, onions, and often times the addition of pumpkin seeds.

    There are many variations of Mole Verde. My version of Mole Verde combines elements of my grandmother’s recipe (I use her idea of using Scallion greens and blending the greens raw for convenience) and my mother’s friends Carmen’s recipe which uses the herb “Epazote” a pungent, earthy, meaty tasting herb. In addition I love combine the sauce with some toasted sesame seeds, and sweet, smokey and peppery spices commonly used in other types of mole’s such as allspice, cloves, cumin and cinnamon. However they must be used in balance to make sure they marry harmoniously with everything else.

    Ingredients to make stock and cook chicken:

    -1 whole chicken bone-in 3- 4 lbs or chicken leg quarters
    -1/2 onion
    -4 cloves garlic
    -a small bunch of fresh mint leaves (about fistful)
    -2 bay leaves
    -1/2 teaspoon oregano
    -1/2 teaspoon thyme
    -2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
    -salt to taste

    Ingredients for sauce:
    -4 large romaine lettuce leaves
    -1 small bunch of radish leaves (buy radishes at the grocery store with green tops and remove to use for this recipe, gives the sauce a peppery flavor)
    -1 small bunch of spinach leaves (gives the sauce a very vibrant green color)
    -1 medium bunch of fresh cilantro
    -1 small bunch of fresh Epazote (I know this ingredient can be hard to obtain please if you cannot obtain it simply omit it, you will still get a delicious sauce, however Epazote herb adds a wonderful pungent earthy taste that compliments the other greens)
    -4 whole scallions (remove bottom brown parts)
    -8 medium fresh tomatillos
    -1 fresh Chile Poblano
    -1-2 Chile Serrano(more or less depending on how spicy you want it, add at least one for flavor)
    -1/2 onion
    -4 cloves of garlic
    -1/4 cup sesame seeds
    -1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds
    -2 cinnamon stick (can use 1 tsp or so ground cinnamon)
    -8-10 allspice berries (can use ½ tsp. ground allspice)
    -1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (may use ground in place of whole spice)
    -2 cloves (the spice)

    Clean chicken really well by running under running water,, my mother rinse it with some vinegar, and salt then drains that water. Remove skin if desired as well.
    (2) Set chicken in a large pot, cover with water, add all the ingredients listed under “stock ingredients” (the onion, garlic, mint leaves, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, bouillon powder, and salt). Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes covered. Then turn- off, set aside.

     greenmole2(3) Meanwhile prepare all your other ingredients, chop into large pieces all the greens which are the romaine lettuce leaves, radish leaves, spinach leaves, cilantro, epazote, scallions, fresh tomatillos, chile Poblano, and leave the Serrano peppers whole.. Fill your sink (assuming it’s clean) with water, and add the greens to give them a good wash, swoosh them around and then drain the water. Repeat this process at least 3 times to make sure they are clean. Set them aside.
    (4) Now in a small pan over medium low heat, toast your pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and allspice berries until sesame seeds and a golden color and make a popping sound. Set aside. At this point you can choose to blend the spices and seeds in a spice grinder, or blend them with everything else in a blender if you know your blender is strong enough along with other stuff in the following directions.greenmole4
    By now your chicken should be cooked, and stock made (while it was simmering you were preparing everything else for this dish). Now using the stock from the chicken, blend all ingredients in batches until smooth, and set them aside. (Be careful the stock is hot, and the contents in the blender can jump out from the heat and pressure, so be cautious, cover it tightly with a towel, etc.

    (6) When all sauce ingredients are blended smooth, heat a large deep-pot with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil or lard (I like to use these feel free to use a different oil if you do not have these) when oil is hot, quickly add all blended ingredients for the sauce, bring to a boil, and simmer atleast 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.greenmole6

    Add chicken pieces and cook in sauce for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Enjoy with warm corn tortillas, or a side of rice, beans, your favorite salsa, etc.








    (0 votes)
    Posted by on November 13, 2013

    Carne Guisada Recipe by 'Comida Caliente' Ladies

    Hi guys, have you been watching the Comida Caliente ladies' webisodes?  WE HAVE!  The latest recipe is for a delicious carne guisada recipe.  Carne guisada is my favorite type of taco, so this recipe is going to help me make it at home.  It's hard to find good carne guisada.  If you make it, send a picture to Instagram: @comidacaliente or FB (/comidacaliente) using the hashtag: #CalienteCarneGuisada  And here's the link to the latest webisode, which is webisode 2.

    Carne Guisada
    (Stewed Beef)
    3 lbs beef, cut into half-inch cubes
    2 Tbsp flour
    1 onion, chopped
    1 tomato, seeded and chopped
    1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 cup tomato sauce
    2 ½ cups water
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper
    1 ½ tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp oregano
    2 tbsp oil
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add meat and brown. Drain all but 1 tsp of oil, add spices, tomatoes and onions; sauté until vegetables are tender, about another 10 minutes.
    Pushing the meat over to one side of the pan, add flour and stir until flour is incorporated with liquid (forms a roux). Add water and tomato sauce, salt to taste. Bring to boil, reduce to medium low, cover and simmer until tender, at least 35 minutes more.
    Serves 6.

    -Zee Diaz
    Zee is a writer for

    (0 votes)
    Posted by on October 21, 2013

    El Salvadoran Quesadilla vs Tex-Mex Quesadilla: What's the Difference?

    Growing up in San Antonio, Texas well our staple food there is Tex-Mex. So I’d say while living in S.A., 2 out of 3 meals a day were Tex-Mex. Yes, delicious. And quesadillas were always something we’d eat on Thursdays at a restaurant called Las Palapas. My entire family would head out to the restaurant and we would look forward all week to “Quesadilla Thursday”.

    To me, I always knew quesadillas as a salty main course or potentially even an appetizer. The Tex-Mex quesadilla consists of a white cheese like Monterrey jack or cheddar sandwiched between two grilled tortillas with any number of fillings: steak, chicken, vegetable etc. And my favorite part was and still is the pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream that accompany Tex-Mex quesadillas.

    (0 votes)
    Posted by on September 27, 2013

    Part 1: Mexican Beef Red Salsa Enchiladas(PHOTOS):Enchiladas Rojas De Picadillo de Res, by Nathan

    Enchiladas & What Does the Word "Enchiladas" Mean?
    Today I want to share a recipe for the o-ooh so popular “enchiladas”!! The word “en” means “in” and “chile” is shortened to “chil” and “ada” is added to it to make the word “enchiladas” translates to “in chile”. In Mexican cooking enchiladas are corn tortillas dipped in a red or green chili sauce, lightly fried on both sides, then filled with filling of your choice such as shredded chicken, shredded beef, ground meat, or even crumbled fresh cheese. Enchiladas can be made vegan or vegetarian by filling them up with refried beans, vegetables of various kinds etc.

    So Many Enchiladas Variations…
    In addition there are also variations of enchiladas in which they are made by dipping them in mole sauce pronounced “mo-lay”. Mole in general is a rich chocolate chili sauce and the mole dish is called “Enmoladas”, also variations on the enchiladas may also be made with bean broth and beans called “Enfrijoladas”. And more if you are looking for even more enchilada variety there are enchiladas made with either green or red pumpkin and sesame seed sauce called “Pipian” those are called “Enpipianadas”. Then there are also even baked variations on enchiladas which I consider to be more of a Mexican-American/ Tex-Mex variation of the enchiladas, equally delicious but yes, definitely considered a different style.

    (0 votes)
    Posted by on September 04, 2013

    Part 2: Mexican Beef Red Salsa Enchiladas(PHOTOS):Enchiladas Rojas De Picadillo de Res, by Nathan

    Note: this is continued from Part 1: Red Chile Beef Enchildas: Enchiladas Rojas De Picadillo de Res by Nathan

    Directions to assemble/ make enchiladas:
    Heat a medium NON-STICK frying pan over medium high heat. Add a little oil about a teaspoon just enough to lightly coat.enchiladas9

    (0 votes)
    Posted by on September 04, 2013

    Best Breakfast Taco Throw Down!Austin vs San Antonio War

    My favorite breakfast taco is bacon and egg...

    [Skip to the bottom if you're looking for the link to the breakfast taco war]

    Growing up in San Antonio, I ate breakfast tacos everyday starting in elementary school.  Those were the early days of Taco Cabana, and for my mom - boy oh boy - it was like the San Antonio version of McDonalds!  Everyday, we'd rush through the drive thru on the way to school and pick up breakfast tacos.  In fact - it wasn't until high school, that we moved to Houston - and I was introduced to bagels! Yes, I had never seen a bagel until high school.  (It seems weird to think about now!)

    After I graduated college, one of my jobs in San Antonio used to regularly bring in breakfast tacos in the morning.  Now, working on the east coast - no one around here has even heard of a breakfast taco!  (Yeah, if we were in San Antonio...well that would be unheard of!)

    (0 votes)
    Posted by on August 23, 2013
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