Monday, December 22, 2014

Mexi-Flexi-Sauce


This is my go to sauce for everything Mexican. When I am pressed for time and I want the flavors of Mexico I turn to this sauce. This particular sauce is my base sauce. This sauce is always changing. In fact every time I make it comes out different.

I have no recipe so I more or less stick with the same basic ingredients and modify it ever so slightly depending on my mood.

If you start out with great ingredients you can't lose. The base sauce includes Cilantro, Red Onion, Garlic, Green Onion, Tomatillos and Avocado and chilis.

This sauce by far is one of the most uncomplicated sauces I have ever made. 


Take all your veggies (except Avocado) spray a little canola oil on them, lightly season them with salt and pepper and brown until desired color is reached. A nice toasty smell and taste is what you're looking for. Most of these steps can be done the day before.    

Take a hand full of your favorite peppers. This of course changes from time to time depending on what I have on hand. Anchos, White Chipotle or Reds, Hatch, etc etc. Roast them for about 5-10 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Them smell will permeate your house.............but it's a great smell if you ask me.


Re-hydrate your peppers in boiling water for about an hour. This will make them pliable to break down in a food processor or in my case a VitaMix. Don't worry about the stems or seeds because you will strain them through a fine strainer (or a chinois). Believe me you don't want any of those seeds or stems in your sauce.



Toss all of the peppers in your food processor or in my case a 
VitaMix with a little of the reserved diluted chili water that came out during the rehydration process. Process until smooth very smooth. After completely pulverized into a very smooth sauce use a spatula to press sauce through a fine mesh strainer. So very simple. 



Slice your Avocados in half and remove seed and meat. Toss the meat, all the roasted veggies and cilantro into VitaMix or whatever you have with a little chicken stock. Puree until smooth. 


Here is a picture of all the sauces being combined in my 13 quart dutch oven. Note: I added a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. And if need be I add more stock and the reserved chili water.



I always add some mexican chocolate to add some complex flavors. Mexican chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, almonds and vanilla and adds tremendous flavor to sauces. The chocolate is normally added to moles and stews.  I also add Honey or some type of sweetener to cut some of the heat but it also adds a bit of  complexity to the sauce.


This is where it starts to get creative. I like using all kinds of beer but my favorite has to be the stout variety. You can use any liquid you like. 


Once I used a Stout chocolate espresso infused beer that really contributed to some very multifaceted flavors. Consider wines, ports or tawnys. I also love to add Lime zest and juice occasionally. 

How to kick up your base sauce with Herbs and spices. Consider the following. Obviously salt and pepper. And, Cumin, Black Cumin, Mexican Oregano, Adobo, Annato for color, try all Chilies, Coriander, Cloves, Cinnamon, All spice, Hoja Santa, Hierba Santa, Piloncillo (use instead of honey), Epazote, and Cilantro.

At this point you can just go wild. Put on your culinary dancing shoes and let those ideas start flooding your head.  Ok what are the ideas? 

Well first of all you should consider what starch and protein you want to use.  Pasta or potatoes work great but make sure to choose a high starch potato and a pasta shape that goes well with stew like textures. I love Chicken thighs and Flat Iron Steaks for this dish. 


Here is an example of a Flat Iron steak grilled and then sliced thinly. After grilling you can continue cooking it in the sauce, or just top your dish off with the meat. I just love Flat Iron steak. It has big beef flavor. Do I need to mention that you need to season your steak before grilling? I hope not!! I like to you use Adabo, cumin and traditional mexican flavors to season meat. 



This plate was made with the Pasta as the starch and topped with Cojita cheese and cilantro. The Flat Iron steak was first grilled then cut into small bites and stewed in the sauce. 


This plate is similar to the above dish except I added beans. I sauted an onion and made a roux.



This dish was made with Flat Iron steaks, beans, onions, potatoes and topped with different types of cheese. I added tortilla chips too. They are easy to make too. Stack several tortilla, slice, spray with canola oil, season them and bake for a couple of minutes.




Stack your Flour or corn Tortillas.  




Slice into mouth size strips.


Spray oil on strips, season and bake at 400 degrees until no longer pliable. 









This dish is only limited to your imagination.


click READ MORE ON BOTTOM LEFT to see more pictures.