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Holiday Food Culture: Part 2

The Southwest

One of the coolest parts about living in such a large country like the U.S. is the diverse food culture! We pull influences from different countries and adapt to the region we live in. To refresh, last week we spent some time exploring food culture of the coastal cities in the US. This week we’re headed down south….and west. The food in the southwest is some of my favorite in the nation. Obviously, the cuisine in places like Arizona, southern California, New Mexico, and Texas is strongly influenced by their proximity to Mexico. Honestly, you haven’t lived until you’ve had a fresh homemade tortilla (check out this recipe if you want to try to make some yourself). Like everyone else, the culture of the southwest lends itself to making copious amounts of food on the holidays. But in this region, you’re more like to find added spices, jalapenos, and choirzo, as well as some unique dishes like menudo (a traditional Mexican soup made with cow stomach). This genre of food also pairs the best with Gordo’s Cheese Dip because we all know queso is the best part.

Chicken Green Chile Tamales

Making tamales for your friends and family is a big part of the holiday tradition in the southwest. Instead of a basket of cookies, you get a basket of tamales. That’s what I’m talking about. It does take a bit of time, but the end result it is worth every second.

 Copyright: Brent Hofacker / 123RF Stock Photo

INGREDIENTS:
For the dough:

  • 3 cups of masa harina (aka corn flour)
  • 12 oz of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup lard (or shortening)
  • 20 dried corn husks

Filling:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 10 oz of salsa verde (buy premade or use recipe below)
  • 1 Tbsp of hot sauce
  • 8 oz of Gordo’s Original Cheese Dip

HOW TO PREPARE:

Start by soaking the dried corn husks in hot water for at least 1 hour until softened. To prepare the dough, mix the masa harina, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. With a stand mixer, beat the lard with about ¼ cup of lard until it is almost like beaten egg yolks. Slowly incorporate the masa harina mixture and remaining broth until the dough is blended. Spread the dough onto the softened corn husk, making it no more than ½ thick.

For the filling, combine shredded chicken, salsa verde, cheese dip and hot sauce until evenly mixed. Place filling into middle of the dough and fold the corn husk on each side, and then fold the bottom up. Use string to keep in place if necessary. Steam the tamales in a large steam pot for 1 hour. Serve warm. Take the tamale out of the corn husk and drizzle with queso and / or sour cream.

Salsa Verde 

Salsa verde (also known as tomatillo salsa or green salsa) would make for flavorful Christmas fiesta by pairing it with Gordo’s red salsa and of course some white cheese dip! That way you have red, white and green all on one tray. Festive and delicious.

Copyright: iodrakon / 123RF Stock Photo

INGREDIENTS:
(Makes about 3 cups of salsa)

  • 1 ½ lbs tomatillos
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, remove stems (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 chopped white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp of lime juice (fresh if possible)
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves

HOW TO PREPARE:

To prepare, start by removing the papery husks from the tomatillos and clean them thoroughly. Put a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet so it thinly coats the bottom. Sear the tomatillos on both sides so their skin is slightly brown and crisp. Place the cooked tomatillos and remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until all ingredients are well blended. Serve with chips, red salsa and queso, or use as a topping for other Mexican dishes. Salsa verde is versatile and can also be used on burgers, chicken, or eggs in the morning. YUM.

Chorizo Stuffing

Stuffing is a holiday classic, but the chorizo will add a bit of kick in true southwestern fashion. We tried this recipe at Thanksgiving this year and it was incredible!

Copyright: Brent Hofacker / 123RF Stock Photo

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of chorizo
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno finely chopped
  • 2 gloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup of frozen and thawed corn kernels
  • 2 ½ cups of crumbled up cornbread
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • Gordo’s Mild Cheese Dip

HOW TO PREPARE:

In a large skillet, start browning the chorizo on medium high heat. After about 5 minutes, add the carrot, onion, celery, jalapeno, garlic, and corn. Sautee the chorizo and veggies for an additional 10 minutes. Drain excess liquid from the skillet before adding in the cornbread. Incorporate chicken stock into the mixture, but make sure it doesn’t get too soggy. It isn’t necessary to use all of the chicken stock. Put the mixture into a greased casserole dish, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Drizzle Gordo’s queso over the top before serving.

There are so many great dishes from this region that it was hard to pick just 3, but these are perfect for the holiday season! Let me know if there are any other recipes you’d like me to talk about and I would be happy too! Be sure to like the Gordo’s Facebook book and message me there with any questions of comments.