Recipes: A Mexican Feast ft. Pork Pibil, Refried Beans, Pickled Pink Onions & Homemade Tortilla Wraps

I LOVEEEEE Mexican flavours. From my first taste of fajitas as a child (admittedly more Tex-Mex, I’m pickier about my Mexican flavours now) I was hooked. I love the spice, the textures, the zinginess the contrast of temperatures when cool sour cream meets piping hot fillings.

 photo Mexican Feast_zps6yfoqj8k.jpgIt’s not quite so enjoyable now my tomato allergy has made an appearance – one of the things I miss most is a fresh, zingy salsa and crunchy chips. However I still make sure to satisfy my craving as much as possible. Frijoles (refried beans) are something I can eat by the bucketful. Spicy slow-cooked meat, piled up high with pickled onions, is pure comfort food. Combine them all in a homemade tortilla wrap and you’ve got a winner!
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Pork Pibil (Spicy Mexican Pulled Pork, based on Wahaca’s recipe)

Warning, this one stains white things like nothing else I’ve encountered before. It took a lot of cleaning to get it off my dining room table. I had to have my nails painted constantly as they took on an orange hue…These quantities make a LOT. At least enough to feed 8-10, but it freezes so, so well. It’s also a long process taking 3 days, so you might as well make lots.

Whizz up the marinade. Dry fry 1 teaspoon of allspice berries, 3 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of cloves, and 1 teaspoon of peppercorns before whizzing to a powder in a food processor. Add 75g of achiote chilli paste (we found ours in Wholefoods), 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, 1 onion, 5 cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pulse. Add in some herbs (I used the roots of a bunch of coriander and a dried bay leaf) and the juice of 4 oranges and combined to make a paste. Season with plenty of salt, before using to coat 2.5kg of pork. You want the pork in 3-4 large pieces, basically broken up so it fits in your casserole dish.

The next day, add 25g of butter to the casserole dish with the pork, and scatter over 2 red chillis. Cover tightly with a lid and roast for 4-5 hours at 120C. Allow to cool before shredding and popping back in the fridge. The next day skim any excess fat from the sauce. Reheat the pork in an oven (around 180C for 15 minutes will get you some delicious chewy bits on the edges) and serve with all your favourite Mexican bits and pieces.
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Pink Pickled Onions

Again, this makes more than 1 meals worth. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 1 month, and it’s excellent served with cheese on toast…

Cover two thinly sliced red onions with boiling water, leave for 10 seconds and then drain (this takes away the harsh raw onion taste). Squeeze over the juice of 1 lime, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1 chopped red chilli. Stir well, then add to a glass jar. Leave for at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight. Perfect with Pork Pibil!

Frijoles (Re-fried Beans, originally taken from Wahaca’s recipe but adapted to my taste)

These are my perfect comfort food. Rich and creamy, satisfying, full of flavour and served with crunchy tortilla chips. So, so good, and here they make a perfect base for the Pibil. I won’t lie though, I generally eat these on their own, by the spoonful…

The day before you want to eat, soak 250g dried black beans in plenty of water. Start a couple of hours before bedtime, changing the water before you kip down for the night. The next day, drain and add to a large pan with plenty of fresh water with 1/2 head of garlic (peeled), 5 bay leaves, and 1 large onion (roughly chopped). Simmer until the bean are soft, around 2 hours, before adding plenty of salt and simmering for another 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, remove a ladelful of beans, and blitz the remaining mix with a hand-blender.

Finely chop another onion and fry in 75g of lard with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin until soft. Tip in the puree and the reserved beans and fry gently. I like to add a single square of very dark chocolate too. Serve with soured cream and some crumbled feta – and plenty of tortilla chips!
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Homemade Tortilla Wraps (adapted from James Morton’s recipe)

Regular readers will know by now that James is basically my bread God, and his book my bread bible. Not one of his recipes has failed me, and this one is no exception. I’ve adapted it slightly as I found it a little sticky (I have textured worktops and so have to be careful with sticky dough). The quantities here will make 8 small taco-sized wraps, or 4 large ones (perfect for fajitas). These are so easy, and taste SO much better than shop-bought…

Mix together 175g of plain flour with 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and a good pinch of salt. Cube 10g of lard and rub into the flour until you have a mix resembling breadcrumbs. Then add 80g of boiling water, mix together quickly and bash about on a work surface (roughly kneading) for 2-3 minutes. Tear into equal pieces, rolling out each piece to a rough circle (you’ll want extra flour on your rolling pin and surface). Cook each wrap in a dry pan over a high heat for around 2 minutes each side – you want them to be firm and speckled golden. Fill with frijoles, pibil and pickled onions and you’ve got yourself an awesome taco!
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Are you a fan of Mexican food? Do you have any good recipes?

Lifestyle: Taco Tuesdays (on a Saturday…)

A trip into London can only mean one thing for me and W – time to gorge ourselves at Wahaca. I’ve reviewed it a while back, but I managed to get some pretty good photos this time round. I’ve also found my favourite restaurant – I love the Charlotte Street branch as it’s so light and airy, and the staff seem like they genuinely love their job. The Covent Garden one just seems a bit dark now, and the last time I went the food was a bit heavy and the service rushed. Charlotte Street definitely offers a buzz, but friendly and relaxing service too. AND the best cocktails. Just be sure not to sit under the plants or you may get wet…

 photo c79efcaf-dfe7-4ea6-83be-031f9c95217f_zpswhfmsoqr.jpg photo f25f167a-1d3b-4ac7-bd67-833fc44f48b1_zpsptvnaqen.jpgI couldn’t resist my favourites,¬†Frijoles with Tortilla Chips. I could live off Frijoles, they are amazing. Thick, creamy, full of flavour, tangy cheese, sharp crema. I’ll take a fork to the pot when the chips run out.

 photo b66458f9-d74a-4ce0-b8b9-9bbac06532da_zps3lioogaj.jpgAnother must-order is the Pork Pilbil tacos. I still can’t believe the spicy, juicy pork is tomato free. Topped with spicy pickled onions, and spread with some frijoles, these are heavy in a few (messy) bites.

 photo 9783de3d-592b-4d3a-9b70-592d580bf5ce_zpscymgyofa.jpg photo f9006f6c-79fe-4868-b2ae-6dc1414085da_zpsv6fkssqm.jpgI’ve also fallen quite hard for the new Chicken Pipian tacos. Made with a tomatillo sauce, these are completely different from anything on the menu. They are quite subtle, and I do feel like they need a good squeeze of lime juice, but they are so delicious. Soft chicken, a mild nutty sauce and some crunchy cabbage – they are refreshing in-between spicier dishes.

I stuck to just these tacos this time (W went for a burrito, leaving me to try and not order alllll the street food) as I wanted churros (picture above taken from Wahaca’s site). Word of advice, ask for caramel rather than chocolate sauce. It’s so much better.

I adore Mexican food, it’s just perfect for my need for spiciness, finger food and different textures. Have you been to Wahaca before?