Chili/Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Wild Alaskan cod filets are soaked in a batter of corn flour, beer and chile molido (ground chile pods without additives), then quickly fried in oil and served Baja-style in a warm tortilla with a salad of blanched cabbages with freshly-squeezed lime and sea salt.  Topped with a dab of crema Mexicana and salsa and served piping hot..

Chili/Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

For the Batter

2/3 cup organic corn flour
1/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
1 pastured egg
2 teaspoons chile molido
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 bottle beer (not dark)

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Whisk in the beer and egg.  Rinse and pat dry inch-thick pieces of cod (or other firm, white fish), place in the batter and refrigerate 1 hour before frying.

“Real Baja fish tacos are nothing like what you’re used to eating when it comes to Mexican food.  In fact, true Mexican cuisine might be our biggest missed chance.  Satisfied by the (admittedly tasty) Tex-Mex-style with its copious cheese, sour cream, pile-it-on technique, we are missing a world of subtlety shot through with spicy excitement, flavors that emphasize festivity and celebration, not fullness and indulgence–a rich tradition of indigenous techniques influences by European sensibilities, infused with a penchant for bold flavors.”  –The Paupered Chef

(Vegetarian) Black Bean Enchiladas

Fresh corn tortillas filled with black beans, onions, peppers, cheddar, asiago and toasted cumin.  Bathed in fire-roasted tomato sauce with crushed chile chipotle, Mexican oregano & a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Topped with more cheese, then baked until sizzling hot.  Topped with a dollop of thick crema Mexicana..

Black Bean Enchiladas

Green Chili Stew with Fried Black Beans and Garlic Roasted Chicken

Hatch chilies and roasted tomatillos are simmered in chicken stock thickened with fresh corn flour and served with cumin-fried black beans and garlic-roasted chicken..

Green Chili Stew with Fried Black Beans and Roasted Chicken

For the Beans

1 cup dried black beans
3 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon leaf lard
1/4 teaspoon epazote
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Rinse beans and pick over.  Put in a bowl, cover with cool water and allow to soak overnight.  Drain, rinse and put into a heavy saucepot with 3 cups of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving some of the liquid and set aside.

Toast cumin in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.  Add lard, onions and tomatoes and cook until onions are brown and tomatoes have lost their shape.  Add beans, a little bean cooking water, oregano and epazote and simmer, uncovered until tender, about 20 minutes.  Add a little water if necessary to keep beans from drying out.  Mash beans with the back of a wooden spoon and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Chicken

fresh chicken pieces
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Melt butter over medium heat then add garlic, paprika and chipotle and allow to steep 15 minutes.  Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Brush liberally with butter mixture and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 375 degree oven, turning twice until juices run clear, about 35 minutes.

For the Green Chili Stew

1 pound tomatillos
1/3 pound fresh Hatch or Anaheim chilies
1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white onion, minced and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon piloncillo or rapadura (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse corn flour
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Remove stems and husks from tomatillos and rinse. Split in half across the equator then place face down in a heavy skillet and roast until browned.  Transfer roasted tomatillos to the bowl of a food processor and coarsely pulse together with chilies, cilantro, garlic and onion.  Transfer mixture to a heavy saucepan, add 1/2 cup chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, add vinegar and piloncillo and simmer 20 minutes.  Add corn flour, stir and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon fried beans in the center of a serving plate,  Ladle green chili stew around the perimeter, then arrange pieces of roasted chicken over the top.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and dress with crèma Mexicana or sour cream.

Smoked Duck Tostadas with Guajillo Salsa, Fried Black Beans and Avocado

Thinly-sliced apple wood-smoked duck breast, toasted guajillo salsa, crèma Mexicana, pickled red onions & jalapeños, field greens with cilantro, fresh avocado, fried black beans and pumpkin-balsamic vinaigrette.  If this doesn’t wake up your senses, you may need to consult a trained medical professional..

Smoked Duck Tostadas

For the Fried Beans

2 tablespoons leaf lard
1 cup cooked black beans
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon epazote
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt

Melt lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat and sauté cumin and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add beans with a little of their cooking liquid and mash with potato masher or the back of a spoon.  Stir in epazote, oregano and salt and cook until much of the liquid has been absorbed.  Cover and hold.

For the Salsa (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

2 tablespoons fat or oil (I’m using leaf lard)
3 guajillo chiles, stemmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
filtered water

Heat fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Split the chiles and remove the seeds.  Place the chiles flat in the pan and cook, turning continuously, until bright red and fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a napkin and drain.

Pour off fat, then add tomatillos and garlic.  Cook until browned, about 3 minutes, then turn, sprinkle with salt and brown on the other side.   Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until slightly chunky.  Add water as necessary to form a thick but pour-able salsa.  Taste and adjust accordingly.

For the Vinaigrette

3 oz pumpkin seed oil
1 oz aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon guajillo honey

Slowly whisk the oil into the vinegar to form an emulsion, then whisk in honey and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Assemble

Shallow-fry pumpkin tortillas (I got these from my local tortilleria) in a little very hot leaf lard until crisp, about 30 seconds per side, then transfer to a napkin to drain.  Be sure the fat is hot, otherwise the tortillas will be greasy.

Thinly slice smoked duck breast, season with pepper and heat briefly in the tortilla pan.

Spread one tostada with guajillo salsa and crèma Mexicana, then arrange duck slices on top. Dress with pickled red onions and garnish with pickled jalapeños and fresh cilantro.

Toss assorted fresh field greens (thanks, Meredith!) in vinaigrette and place on top of the other tostada.  Spoon fried beans over the top and garnish with slices of fresh avocado.  Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over all.

Place the tostada with the duck on top the the one with the avocado and serve immediately.

Keep Austin Weird!

This post is part of the Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Thursday