Red Hot Chilli Mexican Meal

Want to try something new? Why not break from the mundane and rustle up something hot and spicy for Saturday’s dinner? Steer clear of predictable Mexican-style dishes like chilli con carne and have a go at these simple recipes for flavour-packed Mexican meals…

 

Jalapeño Roast Chicken with Oregano and Lime

 

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

1 large free range organic chicken

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 fresh jalapeño chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped

3 tbsp avocado oil

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large banana shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large handful fresh oregano

3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or thyme if preferable)

Zest and juice of 1 lime

400ml white wine

1 tsp coarse sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

 

Roasted vegetables

1 aubergine, diced

1 courgette, diced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

4 cloves garlic

½ tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp dried chilli flakes

½ tsp dried thyme

3 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp coarse sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

 

Deconstructed Salad

1 handful rocket

1 handful of baby lettuce leaves

1 handful fresh coriander, chopped

1 little gem lettuce, washed and sliced

½ cucumber, washed and cubed

1 avocado, peeled, sliced and spritzed with fresh lime juice

 

Method

Pre-heat the oven to the highest setting to warm through. Blitz the fresh herbs, shallot, chillies, garlic, olive oil, avocado oil, lime zest and lime juice together in a blender to make a thick green paste.

Prepare the chicken to be roasted in a roasting tray with a meat rack. Place half a small lime and a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme inside the cavity of the bird and secure the legs. Baste the chicken breast and legs with the chilli paste, pushing the seasoning beneath the chicken skin as far as possible. Turn the chicken onto the front to roast the backside first. Baste the bottom of the chicken with the paste.

Place in the oven to roast for 35 – 45 minutes per kilo, plus an extra 20 minutes. Allow the chicken to roast at the highest temperature on the bottom for 15 minutes or so before using meat tongues to turn the bird over. Replace in the oven and roast the top of the chicken for 15 minutes before reducing the heat of the oven to 200°C. Continue to roast the chicken till golden and cooked through.

To check the meat is cooked through completely use a metal skewer or a fork to pierce the skin between the thigh and the breast at the thickest point; if the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. Leave to rest for twenty minutes to allow the juices to redistribute around the chicken.

For the roasted vegetables, slice the courgette, aubergine and peppers into similar sized chunks and toss in a large roasting tray with the olive oil, herbs and spices. Roast in the oven 200°C for around an hour or so, till soft and nicely coloured; after 25 minutes of cooking, toss the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves in with the vegetables to continue roasting, and after a further 20 minutes pour in the can of chopped tomatoes, a splash of white wine and the tomato puree.

Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste and tent with foil to keep warm whilst the chicken rests. To serve the salad, wash and prepare the ingredients as instructed and arrange on a large platter in individual piles.

Serve with soft flour tortillas, sour cream or natural yoghurt, guacamole, tomato salsa, sliced lime and an abundance of freshly chopped coriander.

 

 

 

Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Veracruz Red Snapper)

Serves 2 – 4

 

Ingredients

4 fillets of red snapper (alternatively use sea bass, sea bream, tilapia or pouting fillets)

1 onion, sliced into slender half-moons

2 large carrots, finely minced in a food processor

2 stalks celery, finely minced in a food processor

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

2 handfuls pitted black olives, sliced

1 handful capers

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

250ml white wine

1 handful sweet plum tomatoes

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 handful fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 handful fresh coriander, finely chopped

2 fresh jalapeño chillies

½ orange pepper, de-seeded and finely sliced

1 tsp coarse sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

 

To Serve

Juice of 1 lime

1 avocado, peeled and cubed

½ cucumber, cubed

1 handful fresh coriander, chopped

2 little gem lettuce, washed and sliced

1 tbsp of sour cream per person (or substitute with thick low fat yoghurt)

 

Method

Pre-heat the oven to the highest setting for a couple of minutes and then turn down to 50°C.

Season the snapper fillets with a little salt and black pepper, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and fry in a very hot not-stick frying pan for a minute on each side. Once cooked through, transfer the fish and juices to a warmed serving dish. Cover with tin foil and keep warm in the pre-heated oven.

In the same frying pan, gently fry the jalapeño chillies over a medium heat, turning after a minute or two. Once gently coloured, transfer to a chopping board and allow to cool before de-seeding and slicing the chillies. Set aside.

Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to the same frying pan and gently fry the onion with the processed carrots and celery for ten minutes or so till slightly golden in colour. Add the orange pepper and jalapeño chillies and continue to cook for several minutes to allow the vegetables to soften.

Add the garlic to the pan, give it a stir and immediately pour in the tinned chopped tomatoes. Use the white wine to swill the tomato juices out of the tins. Add the tomato puree and stir the mixture together. Toss in the olives and capers, allow the sauce to bubble away and reduce for fifteen minutes or so till most of the excess liquid has evaporated. Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the lettuce leaves, coriander, avocado and cucumber on a platter along with a bowl of the sour cream (or yoghurt). Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado. Finally sprinkle a little coriander over the tomato sauce.

Transfer the sauce into the serving dish on top of the cooked fish fillets and serve with the salad and some warmed soft tortilla flatbreads.

 

 

 

Mexican King Prawn, Avocado & Mango Salad with Pomegranate

Serves 2 as a starter or a light meal

 

Ingredients

12 large raw king prawns, peeled

1 ripe green mango, peeled and sliced

1 clove garlic

1 fresh jalapeño chilli

½ avocado, sliced

2 large spring onions, sliced

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Zest and juice of ½ Valencia orange

2 – 3 tbsp avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)

200g pomegranate seeds

1 tsp coarse sea salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 handful rocket

1 handful of baby lettuce leaves

1 handful fresh coriander, chopped

1 little gem lettuce, washed and sliced

 

Method

Season the prawns with a little salt and black pepper, drizzle with a tablespoon of avocado oil (or olive oil if preferable), toss them together and fry in a very hot not-stick frying pan for a minute on each side. Once coral and cooked through, transfer the prawns to a plate with the juices to cool.

In the same frying pan, gently blister a whole jalapeño chilli and the whole garlic clove over a medium heat, turning after a minute or two. Once the garlic is gently coloured, transfer it to a plate and allow the chilli to blacken before transferring it to the same plate to cool. Once cooled, peel the garlic and slice or mash the garlic into a paste. Peel the chilli and carefully de-seed and finely slice the chilli. Set aside.

Mix the lettuce leaves, rocket, coriander, spring onions, mango, pomegranate seeds, avocado, mashed garlic, sliced jalapeño chilli and cooked king prawns along with the cooking juices into a large serving bowl. Add the zest and juice of the lime and half of the orange, along with the buttery avocado oil (or olive oil if preferable), toss together and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

Finally add a last sprinkle of fresh coriander and serve alone as a sophisticated starter or with hot buttered roll for a light supper.

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