Recipes courtesy of Chef Deborah Schneider, Executive Chef of SOL Mexican Cocina and Solita Tacos & Margaritas.

ROASTED CHIPOTLE-TOMATILLO SALSA

from Salsas & Moles

Makes 4 cups.

1 pound tomatillos (about 12) 2 roma tomatoes (1/2 pound) ½ onion, peeled but with root end intact 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled ¼ cup whole chipotles in adobo 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste ½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped ½ to 1 cup water, if necessary

Turn on the fan over the stove. Heat a cast-iron pan or comal on high heat. Line with a sheet of aluminum foil. Roast the tomatillos and tomatoes on all sides until well-charred and soft, turning as few times as possible. Roast the onion, cut side down, until it begins to soften and has a few black spots, turning it several times . Roast the garlic in its skin, turning a few times, until black spots appear, then remove. When the onion is slightly soft, remove and cut into several pieces. Peel the garlic. Place both in a blender jar along with the chipotles, roasted tomatillos and tomatoes (and any juices), and salt. Put the cover on, and let the vegetables steam for 5 minutes, to bring out the juices. Pulse to make a fairly smooth salsa with a little bit of texture. Add the cilantro and pulse a couple more times to combine. Pour the salsa into a serving bowl. For a thinner salsa, stir in the water a little at a time. Check seasoning, and add more salt to taste if necessary.

Note: If you use the salsa the next day, correct the seasoning again.

SALSA VERDE on CARNITAS TACOS with ONIONS & CILANTRO from Salsas & Moles

Makes about 3 cups.

6 medium (2-inch diameter) tomatillos, about 2 cups 1 clove garlic, peeled ½ medium white onion, cut into 1-inch chunks 1 large jalapeno or serrano, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces 1 teaspoon kosher salt water 10 sprigs cilantro, stemmed (1/4 cup packed leaves, 2 tablespoons chopped) Salt to taste

Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and wash under cold running water. Cut into quarters and place in a 1 1/2 –quart saucepan along with the garlic, onion, jalapeno, and salt. Add just enough water to barely cover the tomatillos and quickly bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the vegetables until the tomatillos have softened, and the tip of a knife can be inserted, about 5 minutes; do not overcook. Drain off the cooking water, and transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender, along with the whole cilantro leaves. Pulse the salsa until smooth. You will still be able to see some seeds, along with flecks of cilantro. Taste for seasoning- the salsa may need a pinch of salt.

CARNITAS

2-1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder 1 ½ -2 teaspoons kosher salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 ½ cups water 1 bottle (12 ounces) Mexican- bottled Coca Cola® (cane-sugar sweetened)

To serve: Warmed corn or flour tortillas Diced white onions Cilantro sprigs Diced avocado, lightly salted, or Avocado Salsa

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks and rub the salt and pepper on all sides of the meat. Place in one layer in a shallow stove-to-table casserole dish or dutch oven, such as a Le Creuset. Pour over the water and Coke. Cover with a double layer of foil or lid, place in the oven and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until very tender. Allow the meat to cool in its cooking juices, partly covered. When cool enough to handle, if you like, you may remove any large pieces of fat, but do not break up the meat too much – this will happen on its own. Move the meat and cooking juices to a 4-quart pot. Turn the heat on to medium high and boil down the cooking juices until they thicken and glaze the meat, which may also begin to ‘fry’ a little in its own fat. The carnitas should be juicy. Toss the meat with sauce to moisten and serve very hot with more sauce on the side. Roll up in a warm tortilla with diced onions, avocado and cilantro.

ONION & CILANTRO MIX from Salsas & Moles

I can’t eat a taco without the crunch and flavor of raw onion, so I definitely know who my friends are. Taco stands usually just put out plain diced white onion for their customers, but I like to mix red and white and add a little bit of minced cilantro. For more interesting variations, choose one of the optional additions below. Makes about1/2 cup.

For: ½ cup diced white or red onions (or a mixture)

Add 1

Optional: a pinch of salt and 2 sprigs cilantro, stemmed and minced

Optional: ½ teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice, white vinegar

Optional: ½ serrano chile, cut into paper-thin rings

Optional: 1 teaspoon freshly toasted and ground guajillo, ancho or dry chipotle (see directions on page 000)

‘EVIL GREEN’HOT SAUCE from Salsas & Moles

Makes about 4 cups.

8 tomatillos, husked, washed and quartered

¼ onion diced

3 cloves garlic , peeled

4 habanero chiles, stemmed

2 serrano chiles, stemmed and split

about 2 cups water, more as needed

4 teaspoons salt

¼ bunch cilantro, lower stems removed, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons white vinegar

Place tomatillo, onion, garlic and chiles in a 2-quart saucepan. Barely cover with water and add the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatillos are soft, but not falling apart, about 7 minutes. Turn off heat and cool for 5 minutes, then move the vegetables and their cooking liquid to a blender jar. Add cilantro and vinegar, and puree completely. Thin, if necessary, with small amount of water, and correct seasoning with vinegar and salt.

CHILE ROJO ENCHILADA SAUCE from Salsas & Moles

Makes about 3 cups.

2 ancho chiles 6 Mexican guajillo or dry california chiles 3 cups hot water (divided use) 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons fresh lard or vegetable oil 1 ½ tablespoons very finely minced white onion

Heat a heavy griddle or cast-iron pan over high heat. Remove the stems from the chiles, cut a slit up one side of the chile and remove all seeds. Open up flat. One at a time, press the opened chiles flat onto the hot griddle until blistered and light brown. Turn and repeat, being careful not to burn. Place the chiles in a small, deep bowl and add 2 cups of hot water. Soak the chiles for 45 minutes, pressing down occasionally into the water. Place the chiles and soaking liquid in a blender. Add the garlic and salt, and run the blender on high for 2-3 minutes, until very smooth. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons lard over medium heat. Add the minced onions and cook and stir until the onions are soft. Add the chiles from the blender. It will splatter, so have a lid or splatter guard ready. Fry the sauce for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Rinse the blender with the remaining 1 cup of water, add to the salsa and simmer for 10 minutes. If desired, strain through a food mill or coarse sieve. I like the salsa to be thick enough to cling, but you may thin with more water if desired.

CHEESE ENCHILADAS – makes about 12

12 corn tortillas

oil for frying

Simplest Enchilada Sauce

1 ½ pounds Menonito or Chihuahua cheese, grated (divided use)

1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

2 oz cotixa cheese, grated

diced onions and cilantro

Set aside ¾ cup of cheese to melt on top of the quesadillas.

Heat 1/8 –inch oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the tortillas briefly, until they start to lightly brown around the edges but are still flexible, adding oil to the pan as needed between batches. Allow excess oil to drip off. Dip each into the Enchilada Sauce, and allow any excess salsa to drip off.

Set on a plate. Place about 2 tablespoons of grated cheese evenly across the middle and roll up or fold in half, snugly but not too tightly. Place, barely touching, in the baking dish and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Top with remaining sauce, sprinkle with ¾ cup cheese and melt under broiler.

Drizzle sour cream over the enchiladas and dust with the grated cotixa cheese.

Scatter onions & cilantro over the enchiladas, and serve very hot.

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