Friday, February 12, 2016
I think they liked my 'Mex Mix'
I cooked my 'Mex Mix' for the Phlegmfest bloggers tonight. One person found it too spicy, but the other dozen-odd liked it well enough that several came back for seconds (and, in one case, thirds). I guess I can call that a success.
A couple of people have asked what 'Mex Mix' involves. It's basically a home-brewed commingling of Cajun and Tex-Mex traditions with a heavy dash of South African intuition added. I begin with the Cajun 'Holy Trinity'; onions, bell peppers and celery, cut small. (Tonight I used four medium yellow onions, two large green bell peppers [seeded and cored] and two-thirds of a head of celery.) While I'm cutting them into a mixing bowl, I sautée in lard a pound or two of ground beef (amount dependent on how many I want to feed - tonight I used two pounds), usually seasoning it with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. When the meat's browned, I add the chopped vegetables and cook them together for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring frequently; then I add (canned, drained) black beans, whole kernel (not cream style) sweet corn, diced tomatoes (regular style) and diced tomatoes with chilis (i.e. Ro-Tel or similar). For regular-sized meals, one can of each will do; tonight I used two cans of each, because of the numbers involved.
I heat everything together, then add seasonings (I use a combination of salt, Tone's Six Pepper blend, chili powder [I like Pensey's Chili 9000], Cajun or Creole seasoning [I used Tony Cachere's], and hot sauce [tonight I used Cholula's Chili Garlic version, but I've used other varieties of Cholula as well - I find it the most generally flavorful of the commonly available hot sauces]). I combine the seasonings to taste; usually it's pretty spicy, but tonight I toned down the blend to allow for as wide a taste spectrum as possible. I'm sorry I can't provide exact measurements, but as I said, I make this dish for different numbers of people and judge the quantities by eye with that in mind. When it's seasoned to taste, I add a small tin of tomato paste to thicken the mixture, then simmer everything together for half an hour on low heat. It can be eaten 'as is' or over rice or pasta as a faux chili, or (my preference, and what we did tonight) served on tortillas or burritos. Either way, I provide side dishes of shredded Mexican cheese blend, sour cream, guacamole and salsa for people to add to their taste.
Miss D. and I are back home now, pretty tired after a long day. We'll head for bed soon. Tomorrow morning everyone will rendezvous at our local greasy spoon joint for breakfast, then we'll plan the day's activities. Old NFO is smoking a whole beef brisket for supper, while Gay Cynic plans to inflict on us for lunch his cheesy grits made with hickory smoke flavored Spam. I'm not a fan of grits in general, but that does sound interesting . . . I'll let you know.