Mexican cuisine can be described as having a wide range of intense color and flavor. The food is colorful and the spices and seasonings give it that extra kick. The cultural influences span over many countries including Spain, India, Europe, and even the Caribbean, resulting in this food being so varied. However, although recipes differ from region to region, the ingredients and style of cooking remain the same. How did Mexican cuisine become what it is today and what sets it apart from any other styles of cooking? Let’s take a look.
The use of a wide selection of vegetables give a Mexican meal a pop of color and flavor at the same time. Mexican cooks rely heavily on the use of tomatoes, chili peppers, green peppers, radishes, and broccoli, just to name a few. Avocados, corn, and papaya are also important staples of many Mexican dishes. The use of so many vegetables with such brilliant colors also makes the nutritional value increase, making Mexican food extremely healthy.
Tips and Techniques
Mexican cooks do quite a bit of sauteing and roasting while they create these masterpieces. Fire is of utmost importance and helps to unleash the flavors inside tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and a number of other ingredients. Chilies are roasted over an open fire not only to loosen the skin, but to give them a sweeter taste. Slow simmering is another technique used in many Mexican dishes. You can throw all your meat and vegetables in a pot along with spices and seasonings of your choice and let it simmer all day until it’s time to eat. This allows them to purchase the less expensive cuts of meat. We call it slow cooking and have special pots just for that. They do it out of necessity.
Chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder, and chili powder blends are all staples in Mexican dishes. These spices add not only heat but flavor to meat and vegetables, as well as sauces and soups. Garlic is also a staple and used in many bean recipes and sauces. They have a purple skinned garlic that is a little stronger than the white skinned garlic used in the states. They also have a Mexican oregano that is used in combination with other spices and is often an ingredient in homemade chili powder blends. There is a wide variety of spices used in Mexican cooking, some for heat and some for depth of flavor. Choosing the right spices can make all the difference between a so-so Mexican dish and a real knock out.
Slow Cooker Meals Mexican Style
You can turn just about any Mexican dish into a slow cooker sensation if you just know the right ingredients and technique. A few favorite recipes such as taco soup, chicken and white beans, and shredded pork all can easily be changed from stove top to slow cooker.
Forget the notion that Mexican food is simply bean burritos and quesadillas. There is much more to enjoy with this simple cooking that yields intense results. You can turn any meal into a Mexican feast with the right type of authentic Mexican ingredients. Experiment with a variety of recipes and see what you can create in or out of your slow cooker, and you’ll be an expert in Mexican cuisine in no time.
3 lbs chicken thighs, and legs
1 can (15 oz each) stewed tomatoes
2 cups long grain rice
2 cans low sodium chicken broth 1/4 carrot sliced like a matchstick, 2 garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1 tsp dried crushed Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 package (16 oz) frozen peas, thawed in colander
Put all ingredients EXCEPT PEAS in a large bowl and stir gently to combine.
Pour mixture into a large pot.
Cook, covered, on very low heat for 7 to 8 hours.
10 minutes before serving, stir in the peas, cover crockpot again and let peas heat through.
This recipe works well in a crock pot. Mexican Cooking without any fuss, It could become a family favorite.
For more Mexican Recipes you can get a copy of my book: Traditional Mexican Fiesta Recipes at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AG4433K
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