Browsing Tag

comfort food

Comida Latina, Mains, Pasta and Noodles, Recipes

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chipotle Cream

October 17, 2017
Baked spaghetti squash takes on a whole new meaning when draped in fiery chipotle cream sauce and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs and Cotija cheese.

We had a couple of crisp days last week. Well as crisp as the air gets in early October in Southern California, let’s just say I needed a sweater…a light sweater.

Anyway, during those slightly chilly evenings I got the urge for all things rich and creamy and belly warming. I rarely do cream-based things around here due to the fact that I’m the only one who likes it and/or can eat it, but when the urge strikes, I find it’s best to just go with it before it becomes unwieldy and wildly out of control and the next thing you know you’ve eaten a pound of pasta covered in straight cream, parmesan, and butter—not that I’ve ever done that, I’m just saying, it could happen.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, right. So I wanted something rich and creamy, but also spicy and soul-satisfying so I turned to my favorite thing about fall, squash, and got to work. Do you have a favorite fall fruit/vegetable? The thing you wait all year for? Mine is absolutely the hard-skinned squashes of fall..all of them.

Baked spaghetti squash is much lighter in texture than other varieties so it was the perfect vehicle for the smoky, spicy chipotle cream sauce. Baked spaghetti squash is super easy to pull off, the hardest part is cutting the darn thing open—a heavy, sharp knife is essential. Then just scoop out the seeds, rub with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and let the oven do the work.

While the squash is baking, sweat some onions and garlic and chopped chipotles en adobo in olive oil until soft and sweet, add the cream and thin a little with veggie broth so the cream isn’t overwhelming. If you don’t mind about keeping it veggie, you could use any kind of broth you want, also a little white wine would be nice here too. Once the sauce has simmered a little bit, you can blend it nice and smooth if you’d like. Leaving it as is, is just fine too.

Shred the squash into thin strands with a fork and gently mix with the sauce. Sprinkle each dish with crunchy toasted breadcrumbs, thin slices of scallion and a crumbling of sharp Cotija or grated Parmesan would be nice here too. Also cilantro, if you’re into to that kind of thing.

There you go. A dinner for when you need a little hug in the form of cream, spice, and cheese.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chipotle Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2-3 pounds
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 chipotles en adobo, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle the cut sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake in oven until knife tender and shreds easily with a fork, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chipotles and cook a minute more. Add cream and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Blend with a stick blender until smooth. Add teaspoon of salt, taste and add more salt if needed. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until toasted and golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. To serve: Shred squash into strands, add to cream sauce and gently fold to coat in sauce. Divide between four plates, top with toasted breadcrumbs, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, and Cotija cheese.

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Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks, Sweets

Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake

October 5, 2017
This Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake is the perfect combination of exotic spice and heavenly chocolate with hidden veggies and dairy-free to boot!

Sometimes a girl just needs a piece of chocolate cake—ya know?!!

Like, if I could do it and still maintain my dignity I would probably enjoy a nice piece of chocolate cake a couple times a day. The hours between 3pm and 9pm are rough, chocolate cake would really help.

But then I went and heard Paulette Lambert speak and she kept saying this thing about how the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it and how I should get my sugar fix from fruit and all this other nonsense that I should absolutely be listening to. She also said my evening glass or two of wine was a no-no so I’ve got work to do, anyhoo, back to the sugar thing.

I got to thinking that I eat way too much sugar and my husband eats way too much sugar and the worst….my kids eat way, way, way too much sugar. My daughter has a thing after school she calls her “candy snack.” #truth.

But instead of cutting everyone off cold turkey and risk breaking their collective heart, I decided to slowly reduce the sugar intake as well as make the sweet treats we do eat a bit healthier.

I fell in love with this cake from An Edible Mosaic the first time I made it about a year ago. It is utterly fluffy, tender, and filled with warm fall spices thanks to a healthy dose of chai tea.

It still has sugar, yes, but it also has over 2 cups of fresh zucchini puree, whole wheat flour, and no butter or dairy fat of any kind. Not that I’m a huge fan of hiding nutrition from my kids, but they have no idea there’s vegetables in there thanks to Faith’s genius tip of pureeing the zucchini instead of grating it. This gives the cake an impeccable crumb and FYI, zucchini puree is virtually flavorless.

So here’s to eating healthy-ish….the silky chocolate frosting doesn’t hurt either.

Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake is the perfect combination of exotic spice and heavenly chocolate with hidden veggies and dairy-free to boot! Adapted from An Edible Mosaic
Author:
Serves: 16 servings
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 3 medium zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 1¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cups whole wheat flour
  • ⅔ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Chai tea bags, I used Trader Joe's Spiced Chai
For the Frosting:
  • ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup mini dairy-free chocolate chips
Instructions
For the Cake:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and line with parchment, if desired. (If you plan on serving the cake straight from the pan, no parchment is necessary).
  2. Place zucchini in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until you have a mostly smooth puree.
  3. Whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, and zucchini puree in a large bowl. Sift both flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, into the egg mixture. Cut open the chai tea bags and add the tea straight to the bowl.
  4. Mix everything together with a rubber spatula until just combined—don't over mix.
  5. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes. If you'd like to remove it from the pan, pull on the outer edges of the parchment paper to take out of the pan.
For the Frosting:
  1. Combine coconut oil and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Warm, stirring frequently, until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth.
  2. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl and whisk in milk, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Pour frosting over cake and smooth to the edges. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and serve.
  4. Cake will keep covered, at room temperature, for 5 days.

One More Thing

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Apps, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Meat-Stuffed Grape Leaves

September 21, 2017
These meat-stuffed grape leaves make a tasty appetizer or the spotlight to a special dinner with warm pita bread, lemony cucumber salad, and creamy hummus.

I’m always on the lookout for something different to switch up the dinner doldrums. Similar to I’m sure many of you I fall into weeknight ruts of either picking up something or making the same old things over and over again. So when the lovely Liz Della Croce asked if I would want to take a peek at the newest edition to her Food From Our Ancestors series: The Ultimate Syrian Sunday Dinner I jumped at the chance. This beautiful compilation of family recipes drive home why they are favorites; comfort food, full of flavor, the dishes our mothers have been making forever, for good reason.

I’ve a weakness for stuffed grape leaves so as soon as I saw Liz’s recipe I knew that those would most certainly make the cut. I’m the gal who buys the Trader Joe’s grape leaves for just about every summer picnic but have never actually made them myself. The recipe looked simple enough and culinary challenges are pretty much my jam so in I dove.

I’ve only ever eaten rice-stuffed grape leaves and was excited that I could actually rationalize these meat-stuffed grape leaves as dinner. Add a salad (I made Liz’s Syrian salad from the book) and a side (again Liz to the rescue with Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions—I told you this book was good!) and now, man I’m getting excited about dinner!

These meat-stuffed grape leaves weren’t even all that hard to pull off. The jar of grape leaves I found at Whole Foods and they easily unfurl to create perfect little wrappers for the meat and rice mixture. One jar was plenty and I even has some leftover, so you know whose going to be making stuffed grape leaves again. Yay, yes, ME!

As far as stuffing and rolling I fell right into rhythm. They were like rolling up tiny little burritos: two sides in, bottom over filling, roll, roll, roll.

Then you pile them in a pot, cover with water, and weigh them down with a plate. Simmer until the rice is cooked—they only take about 15 minutes! They are excellent hot, room temperature, or cold. It’s the lemon that I love, no the mint, no the lemon. Either way, so good.

Liz’s Food From Our Ancestors series are real treasures. You can get the Syrian ebook or buy a bundle of all four: Mexican, Jewish Shabbat, Italian, and Syrian for basically a steal.

Meat-Stuffed Grape Leaves
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 (2-pound) jar of grape leaves (roughly 50 leaves)
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ½ cup lon-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into thirds, optional
  • 5 cabbage leaves, optional
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
Instructions
  1. Line a large pot with celery stalks and loose cabbage leaves (I used extra grape leaves).
  2. Place grape leaves on a plate and trim any large, thick stems off bottom.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground meat, rice, juice of 1 lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  4. Working one grape leaf at a time, place the leaf flat on a plate and add 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture near stem.
  5. Form meat into thin cigar shapes, then roll the grape leaf starting at the stem all the way to the top. No need to fold in sides but they'll look nicer if you do.
  6. Line stuffed grape leaves in pot, alternating direction with each layer, until the pot is filled ¾ of the way or you've used all your leaves.
  7. Cover the grape leaves with water, making sure there's at least one inch of liquid above the grape leaves. Pour in remaining lemon juice and add dried mint.
  8. Cover grape leaves with a small plate turned upside down to keep them from moving and to weigh them down.
  9. Cover pot with lid and bring to a simmer.
  10. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Serve with pita bread and cucumber laban.
Notes
Liz suggests lining the cooking pot with celery stalks and cabbage leaves. I didn't have either, so I used a few of the torn and tiny grape leaves instead

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

How To Make A Beef and Bean Burrito

September 8, 2017
Step-by-step instructions will show you how to make a comfort food classic: the Beef and Bean Burrito. A supersized family favorite for hungry bellies!

I’m pretty sure my son’s the only kindergartener who takes a container of meat to school for lunch.

Yesterday I was cooking the meat for these beef and bean burritos when Hiro sauntered in nose-first. “That smells good Mama, can I have some for my lunch?” He asks. I thought about the logistics for a moment, fearing he wouldn’t be able to open the container, or that it would get cold by the time he got around to eating it, or worse, he’d get made fun of for having a tiny Tupperware of meat but then said, “I don’t have the rest of the burrito stuff ready, but I could put some meat in a container and you could eat it with a spoon?” “Thanks, Mama!” He said. And so it was, he took it. He ate it (the teacher did have to open the container for him) and what little was left he ate in the car on the way home from school. I don’t know why I worry.

It goes without saying that this beef and bean burrito recipe is kid approved.

Here’s how you make them!

First things first, make the filling. I loosely follow a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s The Best Mexican Recipes. If I’m feeling ambitious I’ll make Mexican rice instead of the garlic rice in the recipe. After your filling is ready to go then I feel it is essential to warm the tortillas in a hot, dry frying pan—not in the microwave. The pan lends a toasty flavor to the tortillas and the micro just makes them rubbery. You warm the tortillas because they need to be cooked a little before filling to get rid of that doughy flavor.

As far as the tortillas are concerned, I like to buy the extra-large (12-inch) flour tortillas that they use at the burrito truck. Most Latin markets sell them but most other grocery stores do not. Just buy the biggest ones you can find, but also know the big ones make HUGE burritos, so if you’re feeding little ones the smaller 8 or 10-inch ones are just fine.

After the tortillas are nice and toasty it is time to fill them up. The amount of filling you add will depend on how big you’d like your burrito to be. A hungry man burrito takes about 3/4 cup of beef and 3/4 cup of rice.

You can add other stuff to your burritos too, like cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa. We are a dairy-free house so I didn’t add any of the cheesy stuff and I don’t like hot guacamole so none of that inside my burrito either. Armando and Hiro like pico de gallo inside their burritos, but I do not. I think it makes the tortilla soggy and prefer to put mine on the outside, but it’s up to you.

Then its time to roll it up. Sides go in first, then the bottom goes over the filling.

Pull the tortilla tight over the filling then roll all the way up to seal.

The most essential step to a good burrito comes at the end. After you have rolled it up the burrito goes back in the hot, dry frying pan to get a nice, crispy crust. One that seals up the seam and turns that tortilla from rubbery to golden.

Don’t forget more fresh pico on top!

Beef and Bean Burrito Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup long-grain rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 21 ounces 85 percent ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder (I used New Mexico chile powder, the recipe calls for chipotle--you decide)
  • 1½ cups cooked pinto beans (a 15-ounce can or cook your own )
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 6 flour tortillas (the biggest you can find, I used 12-inch)
  • Pico de Gallo or your favorite store-bought salsa
Instructions
  1. Bring chicken broth, rice, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes, fluff with fork, stir in cilantro and cover to keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add beef, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, and chile powder. Cook, breaking up meat with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  5. Using a potato masher mash 1 cup of the beans in a bowl with ½ cup of the bean cooking liquid or the liquid from the can if you are using canned beans. Stir into the beef mixture along with remaining ½ cup whole beans and lime juice. Taste to see if it needs more salt then remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Warm the tortillas on both sides for a minute or two but not until they are toasted. Transfer to a baking sheet and mound about ¾ cup beef and ¾ cup rice in the bottom third of the tortillas. Add some pico de gallo if you'd like.
  7. Fold in the sides then roll the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, pulling back on it firmly to tighten it around the filling then roll the rest of the way up to close. Set seam side down on a tray. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  8. Place burritos seam side down in a hot dry skillet to seal closed and get a nice golden crust. Flip and toast the other side. Serve immediately with pico de gallo or let cool and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. Burritos will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer and 5 days in the refrigerator.
  9. To rewarm: Unwrap burritos and place on a baking sheet if you are heating more than one or on a oven-safe frying pan for just one burrito. Heat in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes.

 

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Simple Summer Vegetable Soup with Cilantro Pesto Croutons

July 25, 2017
How to make a summer vegetable soup packed with white beans, garden veggies and topped with a crispy crouton slathered with cilantro and baby spinach pesto.

We got back late last night from our European summer adventure.

The two things I’ve been dreaming about for the last couple weeks of the trip have been going for a run and a simple summer vegetable soup. I’m not sure exactly who I have become.

Normally I’m not such a health freak but after six weeks of gluttony my body was in desperate need of a reboot. This morning I hit the pavement vowing never to go on such an extended excursion without my running shoes again and then made a big pot of soup for dinner.

There’s something so intensely satisfying about potatoes and carrots and beans bubbling away in a tomatoey broth. It is the kind of simple food to regroup to, to find your balance, and most importantly, fill your belly.

As you can imagine, I’m a bit exhausted from our trip, but I wanted to share this recipe with you as I have a feeling I’m not alone in the need for simple comforts, getting back on track, or maybe just a recipe to use up your garden’s summer bounty.

The cilantro pesto croutons are obviously optional but I love their crunchy edges and soft middles, plus any extra pesto gets mixed into the soup giving it a happy little herby boost.

Simple Summer Vegetable Soup with Cilantro Pesto Croutons
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
For the Soup:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 leeks, halved, washed well, and sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 small yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup cubed)
  • 1 cup dried large white beans, rinsed (I used lima beans)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
For the Croutons:
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, thick stems removed (about 2 packed cups of leaves and tender stems)
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 baguette
Instructions
To make the soup:
  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and celery and season again with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes more then add garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, potatoes, beans, water, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until beans are tender, about 1-1½ hours.
  4. Add green beans and zucchini and continue cooking until tender, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. I added about 1 teaspoon more.
For the Croutons:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine cilantro, spinach, garlic, salt, and pumpkin seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add oil and blend until smooth.
  3. Slice baguette into ½-inch thick slices. Spread about ½-1 teaspoon of pesto on one side of each slice then place pesto-side-up on a baking sheet. Bake until outer edges are crisp about 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon any remaining pesto into the soup pot and stir to combine. Ladel soup into bowls and top with one or two croutons.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes

Stacked Enchiladas Suizas with Chicken

May 17, 2017
These Stacked Enchiladas Suizas combine creamy layers of green chile-coated tortillas, poached chicken, and two kinds of cheese into the best comfort food!

For the most part I like to keep things healthy around here. Armando can’t eat dairy, therefore most of my recipes have no cheese, sour cream, or anything of the sort. Because we never eat cheese my kids don’t even like it (what kind of insane beasts am I raising I ask you?!!!) But sometimes I get cravings. Like real. bad. And Enchiladas Suizas have been high on the cravings list for a while now.

One of my first jobs was waiting tables at this Mexican restaurant in Des Moines where I grew up. What I really wanted to do was work in the kitchen but no one wanted to hire me for that job. Probably because I was 16 and more likely because I was a girl. Girl’s waited tables or looked pretty at the hostess stand so that’s what I did. I was not a good waitress. One time a swinging door slammed against a fully loaded tray I was carrying and all the plates of bubbling enchiladas and smoking fajitas went flying everywhere. It was an awkward time.

One thing I did like about that restaurant were the Enchiladas Suizas. Tender chicken and cheese rolled up and coated in a creamy green chile sauce then covered with more cheese and broiled until bubbling, golden perfection. I never even used silverware to eat that dish, just scooped up all the rich, delicious bites with a chip. At least I could eat my feelings.

As mentioned, I don’t make this kind of food very often but bit the bullet and did last Monday because I knew we had dinner guests coming and I wouldn’t embarrassingly eat the whole thing myself. Besides this is the perfect thing to feed a crowd. If you have a graduation or any family celebration coming up I recommend making one or two of these. Initially I thought making them stacked would be remarkably easier than rolling and filling each tortilla but turns out it took me just as long. I loved how each layer revealed hidden pockets of cheese or chicken or sauce so in the end I’m going with that it was a good idea.


Stacked Enchiladas Suizas with Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These Stacked Enchiladas Suizas combine creamy layers of green chile-coated tortillas, poached chicken, and two kinds of cheese into the best comfort food!
Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 pieces chicken (about 2 pounds--I used legs and thighs)
  • 1 large onion, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound tomatillos, papery husks removed and washed
  • 3 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeds removed if you'd like it less spicy
  • ½ cup cilantro (about ¼ bunch)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 12 large corn tortillas (6-inches or as big as you can find)
  • 1¼ cups queso fresco, crumbled
  • 2½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • Crumbled cotija cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place chicken pieces, ½ of the onion cut into slices, 2 cloves of the garlic, the bay leaf, black peppercorns and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a large saucepan.
  2. Cover with water by 2 inches and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove chicken from broth (strain and save broth for another use) and let cool. Shred into bite-sized pieces discarding any skin or bone and set aside. You can do this step the day before or use store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  4. Combine tomatillos, remaining onion half, sliced, remaining garlic cloves and, serrano chiles in a large saucepan. Cover with water by an inch and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Drain and transfer to a blender with the cilantro, 2 teaspoons salt, and sour cream. Blend on high until smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquid, cover the blender with a thick paper towel instead of the lid to prevent explosions. Pour sauce into a large pie plate or shallow baking dish.
  6. Heat oven to 400°F and grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  7. Heat ½ cup of the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Once shimmering, place 1 tortilla into the oil and fry until golden on both sides, about a minute. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining tortillas, adding more oil ¼ cup at a time as needed.
  8. Dip a tortilla in the green chile sauce until coated on both sides and place in the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Continue with three more tortillas spreading them out in the bottom of the pan to cover as much surface area as possible.
  9. Top with half of the chicken and a third of each cheese. Repeat with another layer of sauce-coated tortillas, remaining half of the chicken and another third of the cheese. Coat the remaining tortillas in the sauce and place on top and scrape any remaining sauce over the enchiladas spreading to coat evenly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the tortillas.
  10. Place the enchiladas in the oven and bake until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Sprinkle with crumbled cotija cheese if you'd like.
  11. Slice into wedges and serve. Enchiladas can also be cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely, then remove plastic wrap, cover with foil and bake at 400°F until heated through, about 20 minutes.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

Breakfast, Comida Latina, Recipes, Sweets

Cinnamon Roll Capirotada {Mexican Bread Pudding}

March 17, 2017
Cinnamon Roll Capriotada Recipe from @holajalapeno

Thanks to La Lechera for sponsoring this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.

We are mid-March and many of you might already be thinking about Easter.

Cinnamon Roll Capriotada Recipe {Mexican Bread Pudding} from @holajalapeno

When I was living in Spain, I was amazed at the pomp and fanfare that surrounded Easter; bigger than Christmas, bigger than New Year’s, without a doubt the grandest celebration of the year. The entire week of Easter (Semana Santa) was an explosion of color and flowers and food and joy, the whole country comes alive.

Cinnamon Roll Capriotada {Mexican Bread Pudding} Recipe from @holajalapeno

In Mexico, Easter and Holy Week are a very big deal as well and the Capirotada or Mexican bread pudding is very traditional at many Easter celebrations. I wanted to share with you a version I am just thrilled about. It is creamier and richer than most Capirotadas because it is made with Nestle’s Media Crema Table Cream. Media Crema is shelf-stable cream at the ready when you need it. It is great in everything from soups to coffee or baking like this recipe for Mexican Bread Pudding.

Cinnamon Roll Capriotada {Mexican Bread Pudding} Recipe from @holajalapeno

How to Make Mexican Bread Pudding

I love this Capirotada recipe; it has everything we love about cinnamon rolls with about a quarter of the work. The day-old or toasted bread is mixed with cinnamon, raisins, a pinch of cardamom, the cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Traditional Mexican Bread Pudding always has cheese so I added Jocoque a Mexican-style Labenh, (strained yogurt cheese) that gives it a subtle tang and richness. If you can’t find Jocoque you can use Labenh or even whole milk Greek yogurt.

Cinnamon Roll Capriotada {Mexican Bread Pudding} Recipe from @holajalapeno

The great thing about Mexican bread pudding is you can (and maybe even should) make it the night before and let the bread sit and soak up all the wonderful flavors, then bake it off the next day when you are ready to serve. The Capirotada can be served warm, room temperature, or cold with copious amounts of whipped cream of course.

Cinnamon Roll Capriotada {Mexican Bread Pudding} Recipe from @holajalapeno

The Giveaway

To celebrate the Easter holiday I am partnering with La Lechera to host an Easter basket giveaway! This Easter basket however will not be filled with jelly beans and chocolate but with all the things that any serious baker would love like baking pans, cake stands, whisks, aprons and the like. The fun part is, just like an Easter basket, it’s a surprise, so no one knows what exactly the Easter Bunny will bring, not even me!

To Enter: Hop on over to Instagram and follow me @holajalapeno. Then between now and Easter (Sunday, April 16) post a picture of your traditional Easter food. What does your family make every year that is special just for Easter? I want to see it! I would love to hear about your tradition too, so tell me the story in the description. Make sure you tag the image @holajalapeno and use the hashtag, #holaeaster. I will select a winner, at random on Monday, April 17! I can’t wait to see your creations!

Cinnamon Roll Capirotada {Mexican Bread Pudding}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Capirotada is a Mexican bread pudding that is very popular around Christmas and Easter. This creamy version has cinnamon, raisins and a sweet vanilla glaze.
Author:
Serves: 10-12 Servings
Ingredients
For the Capirotada:
  • 8 cups cubed, day-old French bread, crusts removed (about 1 large loaf)
  • 4 (7.6 ounce) cans Nestle Media Crema Table Cream
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Nestle Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ¾ cup Jocoque (strained yogurt cheese)* See Note
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, optional
For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
To Make the Bread Pudding:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. If your bread is fresh, spread the cubed bread out on a baking sheet and toast 10 minutes.
  2. Combine media crema, sweetened condensed milk, Jocoque, raisins, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl. Add bread and toss to coat.
  3. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour bread mixture into the dish. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature. At this point you can also cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. If baking right away, grease a piece of foil and cover (greased-side down) the baking dish. Bake 20 minutes at 350°F. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes or until browned on top. If you made the Capirotada the night before, remove the plastic wrap and follow the same instructions above.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before drizzling with glaze.
To Make the Glaze:
  1. Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat together until smooth.
  2. Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time until the glaze is pourable, but not too thin.
  3. Drizzle glaze over the bread pudding and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Notes
Jocoque is a strained-yogurt cheese similar to Labneh and can be found in the cheese section of many Latin markets. Substitute Labneh or whole milk Greek yogurt if you can’t find it.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas

February 15, 2017
Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas Recipe

If there is an easier way to get a homemade, hand-rolled, red-sauced enchilada in my mouth I would want to know what that is. Homemade enchiladas are so good! But also so time-consuming, which is why I rarely make them.

Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas Recipe

But then I had an epiphany, one that made me so happy I didn’t even give the lady who is always trying to spread her “strictly homeopathic remedies” advice around at Hiro’s ninja class the stink eye last Tuesday when I thought of it. You know the type, let’s just call her “Annoying Mom” we all know one. By the way, did I tell you Hiro is taking ninja class? It is so stinking cute, he’s all smiles, somersaults, and thumbs-ups.

My epiphany, which is really nothing new—more like a “duh” moment than an “ah-ha”—was that the next time I go to the effort of making enchiladas I should make two pans. One for the freezer and one to eat right away. Why have I not been doing that every single time? I ask you.

Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas Recipe

I adore enchiladas of all sorts but these particular enchiladas are the king of comfort food. Stuffed with picadillo (read: ground beef, potatoes, carrots, spices, even a little beer) and covered in homemade red sauce, they are exactly what you want on a chilly, late-winter’s night. Knowing a pan of that is in your freezer is better than a shot of tequila to calm your stressed and tired soul. Which brings me to the freezing part.

Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas Recipe

Tips For Freezing the Enchiladas

How you freeze and defrost these picadillo enchiladas is going to depend strictly on your baking dish. If you freeze them in a glass baking dish (like the Princess House one I used) you have to thaw them in the refrigerator or microwave before baking. The temperature change will make the glass shatter and you don’t want that. I’ve exploded glass pans before, it’s not the slightest bit cool. After they are thawed, follow the recipe’s baking instructions as written.

Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas Recipe

However, if you have a ceramic or stainless steel pan you can bake the enchiladas straight from the freezer which is pretty darn handy if you forgot to take them out to defrost them and are like, I don’t know, super starving. Bake them for 15 minutes covered, remove the plastic wrap and foil and bake for another 15 uncovered or until hot all the way through and crispy on the edges.

Now On To Storage Containers

As I mentioned above, I have been thoroughly enjoying my new Princess House storage containers. I use recycled dairy-free butter containers as much as the next person, but I know that they are not the best health-wise for heating stuff up in the microwave or using after a few too many runs through the dishwasher which is why I love that these containers from Princess House are made from thermal shock-resistant glass. They can go in the freezer, refrigerator, microwave, and even the oven (up to 450°F) and pretty enough to serve at the table too. Princess House was nice enough to offer a giveaway: All three storage containers shown below (a $99 prize!) which I am hosting over on Instagram from 2/16-2/23 so go check that out!

Freezer Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas Recipe

Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Making a large-batch of enchiladas means you can make two pans and freeze one for later! The picadillo filling of ground beef and potatoes is pure comfort.
Author:
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
For the Filling:
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • ½ cup beer
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped epazote (or same amount fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves)
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
For the Sauce:
  • 4 dried pasilla chiles
  • 8 ripe roma tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 4 serrano chiles
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
For the Enchiladas:
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • Crumbled queso fresco or feta, for serving
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Thinly sliced chiles, for serving
Instructions
To Make the Picadillo Filling:
  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add ground beef, potatoes, and carrots, and season again with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned.
  2. Add measured salt, cumin, paprika, beer, chicken broth, and epazote and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until liquid has cooked down and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, stir in the mint leaves. Picadillo can be made up to a day in advance.
To Make the Sauce:
  1. Set a small pan of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove stems from the dried chiles and remove as many seeds as possible. Rinse chiles under cold water removing the rest of the seeds.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat. Place chiles on the hot, dry pan and toast until all the water has evaporated off the chiles and they are beginning to smell fragrant (about 4 minutes), turning frequently. Transfer chiles to the pan of boiling water, submerge under the water, and remove from heat. Set aside until very soft, at least 15 minutes.
  4. Place tomatoes, onion quarters, and serrano chiles on the hot cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of the skillet). Char the vegetables until they have blackened on all sides and are slightly softer, about 10 minutes. Remove stems from serrano chiles and remove seeds if you don't want the sauce to be spicy.
  5. Pour chicken broth into blender then add drained dried chiles, and charred vegetables (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender). Add salt and blend on high until smooth. Sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance.
To Make the Enchiladas:
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Have 2 large plates and 2 (at least 7-x-11in) baking dishes near by.
  2. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Using tongs, add tortillas, one at a time, and lightly fry each tortilla until slightly soft and a bit crisp on the edges, about 15 seconds per side. Transfer tortillas to one of the plate until all have been fried, adding more oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the pan becomes dry.
  3. Once all the tortillas are fried there should be about 2 tablespoons of oil left in the pan, if not add enough to make 2 tablespoons or pour any extra into a heatproof container. Carefully add enchilada sauce to the pan (it will spatter) and stir until the spattering dies down. Let simmer about 5 minutes then turn the heat to very low.
  4. Spoon enough sauce in the bottom of each dish just to coat.
  5. Using tongs, dip one tortilla into the sauce and flip to coat in sauce. Transfer to the other large plate and place 2 tablespoons of picadillo on one edge. Roll tortilla around the filling then roll up to close. Lay enchilada in the baking dish and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling, coating each tortilla with sauce before filling and rolling it up.
  6. Place twelve enchiladas in each baking dish then divide any remaining sauce over the two dishes, spreading it over the enchiladas.
  7. If you are going to freeze one dish, cover the top tightly with plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with foil. Place in freezer for up to one month. See post for instructions on how to bake from frozen.
  8. To bake the enchiladas, place, uncovered in the hot oven until crispy on the edges and warmed through, about 15 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of cheese and sour cream if you'd like and a few sliced chiles on top.

 

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

 

 

 

 

Mains, Recipes

Friends Who Fete: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

February 9, 2017
Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Sometime between the holiday’s fading glow and spring’s first warm breezes lies a long, frigid stretch of nights when we huddled in our homes, hunker down from the cold and wind, and heat up leftovers for dinner. There is no better time than now to gather some friends together and throw a party full of cozy comfort food, delicious cocktails, and loads of laughter—An Italian Polenta Party!

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

When Aida of Salt & Wind suggested the idea to myself and Meg from This Mess Is Ours we answered with an enthusiastic, YES! I mean, I am never one to turn down an opportunity to cook and gather together with my friends, especially over creamy mountains of soft polenta and Aida’s sensational creamy pesto.

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Throwing an Italian Polenta Party is a really fun way to entertain. All you have to do is invite some fun-loving friends, make a few appetizers, a simple cocktail, and then pour out the polenta onto a board in the middle of the table and let everyone dig in!

Here’s All You Need To Know To Throw Your Own Polenta Party

Fiesta: How to Throw An Italian Polenta Party

We all gathered on a late Saturday afternoon and Meg mixed up some sparkling Apple Basil and Prosecco Spritzer cocktails while Meredith finished her sweet herb and floral wreaths to line every plate. Aida arranged Fontina and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Squares and Mushroom Ragout Agrodolce Bites on a marbled wood board along with balsamic roasted apples, several types of cheese, and charcuterie. It was all just the beginning to the main event about to come: The Polenta!!

Italian Polenta Party Menu

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Here is the rundown of the entire menu. We did one meat topping and one vegetarian topping to go with the polenta but you could always just pick one. It is all the little extras however that make it super fun, so try to have at least three or four different sauces or garnishes that your friends can add to their polenta. Included are the recipes to make these but you could easily make one or two and buy a couple more high-quality versions from the store. Or make the sauces and have toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan or Pecorino on hand for generous sprinkling.

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Drinks

Apple Basil and Prosecco Spritzer cocktails | This Mess Is Ours

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Appetizers

Fontina and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Squares | Salt & Wind

Mushroom Ragout Agrodolce Bites | Salt & Wind

Nuts, Cheese, Sliced Charcuterie, Balsamic Roasted Apples, Crackers, and Fruit

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

The Polenta Board + A Salad

Escarole, Charred Mandarins, Toasted Almond Salad with Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette | Salt & Wind

Basic Creamy Polenta | Salt & Wind

Beer Braised Beef Barbacoa| ¡Hola! Jalapeño

Braised Chickpeas with Porcini and Tuscan Kale | This Mess Is Ours

Creamy Basil Pesto | Salt & Wind

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes | Salt & Wind

Red Pepper Romesco Sauce | Salt & Wind

Blood Orange Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone Recipe

Something Sweet

Blood Orange Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone | ¡Hola! Jalapeño

Serving the Polenta

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

For our party of 8 people Aida quadrupled this recipe and we had plenty of leftovers to take home (gratefully). The polenta is really nice because you can start it and then let it basically cook on its own, giving it a stir every now and again until it is ready.

To serve the polenta you’ll need a very large food-safe board. Meg had a gorgeous reclaimed wood board that ran the length of the table from Pasadenaville which worked perfectly as everyone had some polenta right in front of them at the table. A large wood cutting board or tray would also work. Just find your biggest food-safe board and pour the polenta out onto the it. Top half of the polenta with the barbacoa and half with the braised chickpeas and place it in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. Serve all the sauces and garnishes in small dishes scattered about the table so your friends can add what they please. Aida also made a dairy-free version of the polenta with chicken broth and olive oil instead of the butter, milk, and cheese.

The Place Settings

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Our very talented friend Meredith created delicate mini wreaths made from fresh (and totally edible) herbs, olive leaves, and straw flowers. They look rustic and pretty on the plates and Louisa turned them into a darling little tiara after the party was over. Get all the details on how to make them here.

Shop The Party

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Here are a few party essentials we can’t live without:

W/R/F Lab ceramics

Pasadenaville Polenta Board

Pink Shibori Napkins

Linen Napkins

Vintage Roly Poly Cocktail Glasses

Cheese Knives

Denim Cloth Table Covering

All Produce: Melissa’s Produce

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

A humongous thanks goes to Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours for all the photos.

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

 

Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks, Sweets

Chocolate Churro Hearts with Boozy Salted Dulce de Leche

February 3, 2017
Chocolate Churro Hearts with Boozy Dulce de Leche Recipe from @holajalapeno

Thanks to La Lechera for sponsoring this Valentine’s Day post. All ideas and opinions are my own.

 Where’s your head at this Valentine’s Day? Mine is somewhere over in left field, which is exactly why I’m getting a head start with these oh so precious chocolate churro hearts.

Chocolate Churro Hearts with Boozy Dulce de Leche Recipe

My baby boy loves him some churros and I’m going to admit here and now that I had never actually made them at home before I dove head first into testing this recipe. We overzealously tested the heck out of this recipe and continue to make it…for testing purposes of course.

I was looking for some fun inspiration for Valentine’s Day when I came across this recipe for Mini Churros with Dulce de Leche on the La Lechera Pinterest board. They looked easy enough, I had no idea churros are basically fried pate a choux—you know the dough used to make eclairs and profiteroles—read: no mixer required. I was sold.

Chocolate Churro Hearts with Boozy Dulce de Leche Recipe

Chocolate + Eggs

I wanted to bump up the Valentine’s factor and make chocolate churros, which required nothing more than adding some cocoa powder to the dough. The eggs on the other hand require some discussion.

The first few times I made the recipe I added 2 eggs, which made gloriously crispy churros with perfectly eggy middles but were also impossible to form into any shape whatsoever. The final recipe calls for only 1 egg making it firm enough to form into the adorable heart shapes but the result is not as soft and doughy in the middle.

Chocolate Churro Hearts with Boozy Dulce de Leche Recipe

You will have to choose your destiny with this one; cuteness over texture. The chocolate churro hearts are still delicious but are missing the spongy middle of a perfect churro. If you want to add the other egg, just pipe the dough directly into the hot oil using scissors to cut off 4-5 inch ropes of dough as they drop in (it is much easier than it sounds, you can do this).

If you want to make the chocolate churros into heart shapes you will need some muscle to pipe the dough out, if you pipe it while it is still warm this will help. Use a re-useable piping bag if at all possible. I tried it a few times with those disposable piping bags and had to triple up on them (putting three bags on top of each other) to make them sturdy enough to handle the pressure of the dough.

What’s With The Lard?

If you read down, you’ll notice I used vegetable oil AND lard to fry the churros. If you have access to lard, I highly recommend this whenever you deep fry anything from chips to chicharrones. The combination of vegetable oil and lard has the best flavor and fries things more quickly making them less greasy and crispier.

Chocolate Churro Hearts with Boozy Dulce de Leche Recipe

Dulce de Leche Sauce

Traditionally churros are served with a rich chocolate sauce but with the chocolate inside the churro already, I made a simple boozy sauce from La Lechera Dulce de Leche.

I added a splash of my favorite winter liqueur, Cuarenta Y Tres or Licor 43. This is a Spanish liqueur with flavors of citrus and vanilla and I highly recommend keeping a bottle around to add to a shot of espresso every once in a while. Other boozy options for the Dulce de Leche sauce would be dark rum, brandy, or even Kahlua. If you want to skip the alcohol all together you can loosen up the dulce de leche with 1/4 cup of milk.

By definition, chocolate churro hearts are best served minutes out of the oil, almost too hot to eat, crusted with cinnamon and sugar, a generous swath of dulce de leche, and shared with the ones you love. If you happen to make it to proper table so much the better—we never made it passed the kitchen counter.

Chocolate Churro Hearts with Boozy Dulce de Leche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Celebrate your love this Valentine's Day with crispy chocolate churro hearts dipped in boozy salted dulce de leche sauce. Recipe adapted from La Lechera
Author:
Serves: 14 hearts
Ingredients
For the Churros:
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup lard, for frying (optional)
For the Dulce de Leche Sauce:
  • 1 (13.4 oz) can La Lechera Dulce de Leche
  • ¼ cup Licor 43
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Equipment:
  • Piping Bag
  • Large star tip (preferably a #8 tip)
Instructions
To make the Churros:
  1. Combine water, ¼ cup vegetable oil, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla in a 4 quart saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.
  2. Remove from heat, add flour and cocoa and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool slightly (about 5 minutes) then add egg and beat into the mixture until fully incorporated.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat silicone sheet and spray with baking spray. Transfer dough to the piping bag fitted with the star attachment and pipe into a 10-inch long rope on the prepared sheet. Bend rope to form a heart shape, squeezing the two ends together so they stick and creating a point at the other end. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  4. Combine vegetable oil and lard in a large Dutch oven or deep cast iron pot and attach a deep fat fry thermometer to the side.
  5. Line a baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towels. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a large, wide bowl.
  6. Once oil reaches 375°F add 2-3 churro hearts at a time and fry until crisped, about 2 minutes. Flip and continue to fry 1 more minute on the other side. Watch the oil temperature and raise or lower the heat to keep it as steady as possible.
  7. Remove churros with a bamboo skimmer or tongs to the paper towel-lined sheet. Let cool about a minute then dip in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat both sides. Set back on the baking sheet to cool. Repeat with remaining churro hearts.
To make the Dulce de Leche Sauce:
  1. Combine dulce de leche, Licor 43, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally until sauce is smooth and well combined. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm with the churros.