|COOKBOOKS WITH PANACHE
100 Simple Recipes for True Mexican Flavor,
by Marcela Valladolid.
Chef Marcela Valladolid, host of Discovery
en Español's Relatos
con Sabor cooking show shares her passion for authentic Mexican
food in her accessible new cookbook FRESH
MEXICO: 100 Simple Recipes for True Mexican Flavor (Clarkson Potter,
2009, $22.50). Eager to dispel the notion that equates Mexican food
with processed cheese and overstuffed burritos, Chef Valladolid presents
100 healthy and tasteful recipes that emphasize fresh ingredients such
as ancho and serrano chiles, Oaxaca cheese and tart tomatillos.
Valladolid, a former Bon Appétit editor and reality
television star (The
Apprentice: Martha Stewart) appreciates the busy
schedule of home cooks and strives to present authentic
yet modern recipes that utilize easy to find ingredients
and that do not require hours in the kitchen. The result
is beautifully illustrated and easy to use book of
deliciously original recipes from a bright new talent.
HENS IN APRICOT, TEQUILA, AND CALIFORNIA CHILE
|This recipe is one of my favorites ever. It comes from my aunt Marcela, a chef who inspired me to enter the magical world of the culinary arts. We not only share the same name and the same career, we also agree that sweet and spicy is one of the best combinations when preparing Mexican food.
Store-bought apricot preserves, used here, work well; just be sure to buy the best you can find. A kitchen syringe is a useful tool for injecting the hens with a flavorful mixture of broth, butter, and tequila. The result is a moist and succulent dish.
3 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons golden tequila
Two 2-pound Cornish game hens, thawed if frozen
3 California chiles, stemmed and seeded
½ cup apricot preserves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh apricot halves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Mix ½ cup of the chicken broth, the melted butter, and 2 tablespoons
of the tequila in a small glass bowl. Using a kitchen syringe, inject
the mixture all over the hens, about ½ inch deep into the flesh.
(If the butter in the mixture solidifies, warm it in a microwave.)
- Put the chiles and 2 cups of the broth in a small saucepan, and bring
to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for
5 minutes to soften the chiles. Then transfer the mixture to a blender
and puree until smooth. Strain the chile mixture into a small bowl,
pressing on the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard
whatever is left in the sieve.
- Mix ¼ cup of the preserves and ¼ cup of the chile mixture
in a medium bowl. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Rub the mixture
all over the hens, working some of it between the skin and the breast.
Put the hens on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add the remaining ½ cup
broth to the roasting pan.
- Roast, basting with the pan drippings every 20 minutes, for 1 hour,
or until a thermometer inserted into a thigh registers 160°F. Add
more broth if the juices begin to dry out.
- Transfer the hens to a platter. Strain the pan juices into a medium
saucepan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons tequila, ¼ cup apricot
preserves, and chile mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce
the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the hens,
garnish the platter with fresh apricot halves, and serve.
| Excerpted from Fresh Mexico,
by Marcela Valladolid (Clarkson Potter, 2009, $22.50).