Hispanic Emphasis Program Manager Cookbook National Hispanic Heritage Month

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Albondiga Soup

(Meat Ball Soup)

By Rachel Lopez

I was taught how to make this soup by my mother when I was a child. My mother would mix the ingredients and then we (sisters) would be allowed to form the meat balls for the soup. Growing up, I remember every meal we ate consisted of meat mixed with something like rice, potatoes, vegetables, etc. Why you might ask? I think that most Mexican mother’s would try to stretch the meat to feed her own children and those that might drop by. Every meal was also accompanied with homemade flour tortillas, beans, Spanish rice and chili (salsa).

So here is my mother’s recipe and I hope that you all can enjoy making it with your families as I enjoy and have memories of making it with my mother and sisters.
Ingredients –
2 Pounds Ground Beef

1 Yellow Onion (Chopped in Small Pieces)

1 Cup Cooked White Rice

1 Egg

Salt and Pepper to Taste

1 Can Tomato Sauce

Optional: Noodles, Chopped Vegetables (carrots, celery, potatoes)
Mix together hamburger meat, onions, rice, egg, salt and pepper. This needs to be done with your hands (no spoons). Once the mixture has been mixed, form into meat balls. You determine the size of the meat balls. Set aside.
Soup Broth –

1 Can Tomato Sauce

Salt and Pepper
In a Medium/Large soup pan – add water, tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Once the broth has come to a boil, reduce and start dropping in the meat balls. It is important that the broth is hot so that the meat balls will not fall apart. Add optional noodles and vegetables to broth. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve in a bowl with Spanish rice.


Tortilla De Patata

Ingredients: 4-5 Potatoes

1 Onion (Red, White or Yellow)

2-3 teeth of Garlic

5-6 Eggs



Olive Oil
Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Heat up a frying pan (ideally a non-stick frying pan) with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few teeth of garlic (diced or pressed). Once the pan is hot (medium to high heat), add the potatoes, let them fry and frequently turn them to prevent any burning. Dice the onion into small pieces and add to the potatoes, continue turning them. Season the potatoes, onion and garlic with salt and pepper, as desired.
In a large to medium sized bowl, scramble the eggs and season them as well. Once the potatoes, onions and garlic (vegetables) are fully cooked, remove them from the heat. Let the vegetables cool down a bit and add them to the eggs. Mix the vegetables and eggs together.
Clean the frying pan and add more olive oil and garlic (once again a couple of tablespoons of oil and a couple teeth of garlic). With medium/high heat pour the eggs/vegetables (batter) into the frying pan. Push the sides of the batter down (with a wooden spoon) to ensure that the batter does not stick to the sides of the frying pan. Also, lift up the pan and shake back and forth to make sure the bottom has not stuck either. Do not stir or break the batter, let the bottom side cook. After the batter has cooked, place a large plate (large enough to overlap the top of the pan) over the pan. Firmly hold the plate with one hand and the frying pan with the other. Flip the pan upside down with the plate tightly pressed on the top of the pan. Slide the tortilla back into the pan with the cooked side up. Let the tortilla fully cook on low/medium heat so that the middle of the tortilla is not runny. Let the tortilla cool a bit and enjoy!!!
Feel free to add any type of ingredients (mushrooms, carrots, chorizo, red bell peppers….).



Red tamales are a Christmas tradition in Mexico. Masa harina is available in Latino markets. Masa is made from dried corn kernels cooked in lime water and soaked overnight. The wet corn is then ground into masa and the dough is used to make corn tortillas.

2 lb (1 kg) lean beef or pork, cubed

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening (vegetable lard)

2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour

1 cup (8 fl oz/ 250 ml) Red Chili Sauce (recipe on page 195)

1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) reserved broth

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1 1/2 cups lard or vegetable shortening

3 ½ cups masa harina

½ cup red chili mixture reserved from filling, above

¾ cup reserved broth or more as needed salt to taste
25 corn husk, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes additional red chili sauce for topping (optional)
To make the filling, in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, place the beef or pork and add water to cover. Add 1 of the garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Drain and let meat cool; reserved the broth.

In a large skillet, melt the lard or shortening; add the remaining 2 garlic cloves and cook until slightly browned; add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in the red chili sauce and the reserved broth; simmer for 10 minutes. Remove ½ cup of the liquid and set aside. Shred the meat and add to the simmering liquid and set aside. Shred the meat and add to the simmering liquid; cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and let cool.

To make the masa, in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the lard or shortening until light and fluffy about 5 minutes. Add the masa harina and reserved red chili mixture from the filling. Add the reserved broth. If too dry to spread, add additional broth until the mixture is of spreading consistency. Add salt to taste.

Open the soaked corn husks, rinse and drain on paper towels. Spread about 2 tablespoons of masa over the bottom half of each corn husk. Top with 1 ½ tablespoons of meat mixture. Fold the side of the husk toward the center, one side at a time. Fold the sides of the husk toward the center, one side a time. Fold the bottom of the husk up and the top down, tying with a strip of soaked corn husk. Continue until all the filling and masa are used. If not cooking immediately, freeze individually and, when frozen, place in freezer bags.

Cook the tamales in a steamer for 25-35 minutes, or until the masa is firm and the filling is heated through. Serve with additional red chili sauce, if desired.

If you do not have the time or the patience and would like to skip any of these steps, just do what I did and purchase the tamales at your local Mexican Restaurant.


1 pound fresh skinless striped bass, snapper, halibut, or other white ocean fish fillets, cut into ½ -inch cubes

1 ½ cups freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more if needed

1 medium white onion, cut into ¼ -inch dice

2 medium-large tomatoes (1 pound) cut into ¼ -inch dice

2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (or raw)

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish

½ cup chopped, pitted green olives, preferably manzanillos

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

Coarse salt (to taste)

Tortilla chips, for serving

  1. In a small bowl, combine fish, lime juice, and onion. Be sure the fish is covered with lime juice; add more if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fish no longer looks raw when broken open, about 4 hours. Drain in a colander.

  1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, olives, and oil. Add the fish and orange juice; stir to combine. Season with salt. Cover, and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

  1. Just before serving, add avocado, and stir gently, being careful not to break up pieces. Garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve with tortilla chips.

Chef Rick Bayless recommends marinating the seviche for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before serving.

Serves 8 as an appetizer


Chili Relleno Casserole

1 can 27 oz. Ortega whole green chilis

One and 1/2 cup milk

1 cup of flour

2 eggs

Dash of salt and pepper

At least 3 cups of real (no non fat stuff) cheese (Monterrey/Jack/Cheddar)


2 - 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce

Rinse chilis and remove seeds and lay flat on paper towels to remove excess water

Mix milk, flour, eggs, salt and pepper together

Lightly butter/grease 9 X 13 pan

Layer bottom of pan with chilis, then a layer of cheese, pour part of milk mixture over cheese, then repeat until those ingredients are complete/finished. Then pour two cans of tomato sauce over top. Sprinkle last bit of cheese on top, if any, or you may save some for the top.

Middle of oven for one to one and a half hours at 375 degrees. Let cool to set, then cut and enjoy.

Anita Lopez

Rural Development


Carmelite Flan

This recipe comes from Carmelite Nuns who ran a nursing home. The original recipe serves 50, but I reduced the amounts while retaining the proportions. Making Flan has always intimidated me, but I made this recipe several times with great results. It may indeed be foolproof!

Sandra Marcotte, Farm Service Agency

5 eggs

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 can water

1 tablespoon vanilla

½ cup granulated sugar
5 servings; 1 hour 15 minutes preparation time

  • Place eggs, sweetened condensed milk, water and vanilla in a blender jar

  • Blend until well mixed and frothy, 30 to 45 seconds. Then set aside.

  • Melt sugar over medium-low heat in small skillet, stirring constantly, until caramelized (sugar melts and turn light brown)

  • Pour egg mixture on top of caramelized sugar; equal amounts in cups

  • Set custard cups in a larger pan and pour hot water into the larger pans to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

  • Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Cool to room temperature, then chill completely in refrigerator

  • To serve, run a thin knife or spatula around the rim of each flan to loosen. Then, turn custards out on individual dessert plates, with caramel on top.


Chicken Enchiladas

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