Rose Burillo – Entry Level Mexican Dishes
When my father came to visit me last year I was keen on getting him to try some new and exciting Mexican dishes. What I hadn’t counted on however was that at the ripe old age of 71, he is someone who is pretty set in his ways, and that means that he wasn’t quite prepared to open his mind up to the possibility of new foods, spices and ingredients. For this reason I decided to make a small list of some of the more simple dishes which I could offer him, which would give him a sense of Mexico without things being too wild for him, and this was what I came up with.
You really cannot go wrong with a quesadilla and so this is the first place where we started with his adventure into Mexican foods. Contrary to what many believe, you do actually have to ask for the cheese as a filling, because they do not automatically come with them. I decided that the craziest which we would get with this choice was huitlacoche, which is one of my favorite fillings. This particular filling is actually a fungus which grows on diseased corn, which is saved, cooked and tastes absolutely delicious, which my dad can attest to.
One thing which my dad really does enjoy is a hearty stew, and coming from the cold north of England it is no surprise. For this reason my friend and chef Rose Burillo suggested that pozole could be a great idea, and she was absolutely right. This is a stew which is made using corn kernels and some light vegetables, which is cooked in a chicken bone broth. Added to the stew is shredded chicken, lettuce, radish, oregano, salsa and lime, and it is a truly delicious meal which everyone can enjoy.
Tacos al Pastor
I couldn’t let my dad leave the country without having tried at least a couple of tacos, and so I decided on tacos al pastor, the low cost and super delicious street food found throughout Mexico City. This is pork meat which has been heavily marinated with herbs and spices, that is then cooked on a spit. The meat is not spicy at all and it is served with a slice of pineapple to add some freshness. My dad was unsure at first, but then he got his chops and really started to enjoy it.
Arrachera, or skirt steak, is eaten throughout Mexico and it is far more common here than it is back home. I have really fallen in love with this cut during my time here, and I have no idea why Brits use it for things like broths and stews, rather than eating on its own. I decided to buy some arrachera and prepare some for my dad, with some hearty Mexican vegetables. Needless to say that my dad really loved this cut, and he went home and bought some during his first week back!
These are a few of the entry level Mexican foods which I introduced my dad to.