Monday, August 27, 2012

Panza de Res y Chile Ajo!


Sunday was a 'lab' day for  me as I like to call them.  Lab consists of going into the kitchen to try creating something out of my comfort zone and expanding my horizons and knowledge of the cuisine of different cultures.  Sunday was exploring more traditional Mexican cuisine outside of the 'cookie cutout' of simply  tacos and guacamole.  I had never made a mole or any of the labor intensive and complex sauces, so I had an adventure in preparing a traditional Red Chile and Garlic sauce, normally seen smothering  enchiladas and topped with Cojita and sliced onion.  I adapted the recipe from Saveur issue #149, graciously shared by a chef at El Naranjo in Austin Texas .  Instead of using Serrano chiles,  I used Thai chilies for a deep heat flavor profile, and instead of  plum tomatoes, Roma.  The sauce took  about 2 hours to make, but when I finished, I could smell and taste it's signature smoky complexity, which I'd experienced in dishes from Mexican restaurants in the past.  The aromas and the gorgeous color was satisfaction enough!  I paired my sauce with Panza de Res or Scalded Beef Tripe.  I boiled the tripe in a seasoned broth for about 2 1/2 hours to tenderize and create depth in the flavor.  I then cut the tripe into large strips, and in turn , smaller strips, until they were uniform and about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch across.  I breaded and deep fried the strips and served them with the Chile Ajo and lemon wedges for an appetizer presentation, then with seasoned Jasmine Rice as a main course.  Both dishes were Crazy Delicious!!  Don't be afraid to step outside the taco shell 'box' and go for the hearty, soul stirring heart of more diverse dishes that truly reflect the essence  of Mexican Cuisine!!

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