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Commemorating the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride; a perfect excuse to celebrate the cuisine of the nation.

Sopa de Albóndigas (Meatball soup) 

Ingredients:

1 tbspn coriander seeds
1 tspn cumin seeds
4 whole cloves
1/4 tspn nutmeg powder
1 tspn cinnamon powder
100g white rice, long grain, uncooked
2 tbspnswhite onion, finely chopped
pinch salt
500g minced steak
1 egg white
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
200g chopped white cabbage
2 white onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbspn chilli powder
pinch salt
1 ltr vegetable stock (or 1ltr water and
3 vegetable stock cubes)
400g chopped tomatoes, canned
2 potatoes, finely cubed

  • In a saucepan, cook the coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat until toasted, about 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • Place the toasted seeds, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon into a mortar and grind with a pestle until finely pulverised into powder.
  •  Combine 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture, with the rice, onion, salt, beef, egg white and garlic in a large bowl. Combine by hand. Shape the mix into 24 equal meatballs.
  • In a large saucepan, place the cabbage, chopped onions, carrots and celery stalks. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add remaining ground spice mixture and chilli powder and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in salt, vegetable stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer. Add the meatballs, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add potatoes. Cook, uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve.

Enchiladas

Ingredients:
1 tbspn olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
500g minced beef (good quality)
2 tbspns plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tspn paprika powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn garlic powder
1/2 tspn ground cumin
400g chopped tomatoes, canned

80g unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g plain (all-purpose) flour
400ml vegetable stock (or 40mls water and 2 vegetable stock cubes)
400g tomato sauce, canned
1 tspn cumin, ground
1/2 tspn paprika, powder
1/2 tspn salt
2-3 tbspns fresh coriander
8 flour tortillas, fresh and warmed
260g cheddar cheese, shredded
100g mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbspns fresh parsley, chopped

  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the chopped onions until clear.
  • Add the minced beef and cook until the beef is browned and crumbled. Drain any excess fat.
  • Stir in flour, paprika, salt, garlic powder and cumin. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat; simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • In a saucepan, heat the butter and cook the garlic. Stir in flour until blended.
  • Gradually whisk in vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until thickened.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, cumin, paprika and salt.
  • Pour half of this sauce into baking dish/casserole dish.
  • Take each flour tortilla and place about 3-4 tablespoons of the beef mixture in the centre on each tortilla top with a little fresh chopped coriander and the grated cheddar cheese.
  • Roll up and place each tortilla into the sauce, seam side down. When completed, top with remaining sauce.
  • Bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 30-35 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted and browned.
  • Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and serve immediately.

Chicken Mole
Ingredients:
1 tbspn olive oil
1 white onion
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4-5 chicken breasts
2 tbspns coriander fresh, chopped
1 1/2 ltrs vegetable stock (or 1 1/2 ltrs water
and 3 vegetable stock cubes)
2 dried red chillies
410g chopped tomatoes, canned
4 tbspns sesame seeds
1 tspn paprika
1 tspn cumin, ground
1/2 tspn cloves, ground
1/2 tspn garam masala, ground
2 slices stale bread
2 tbspns olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
50g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa)
salt to taste
pepper to taste

  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic.
  • Add the chicken breasts and coriander, and cover the chicken with the vegetable stock.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes more.
  • Remove the chicken breasts carefully and set aside. Strain the poaching liquid and reserve.
  • Pour 125mls of the reserved liquid over the dried chilli. Allow to soak for 30 minutes.
  • Place the tomatoes, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin, cloves, garam masala, bread, soaked chilli and their soaking liquid in a blender and process until smooth.
  • In a separate saucepan, heat the oil and cook the garlic and onion until browned. Then add the blended tomato/spice mixture.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Then add the chocolate and stir until melted and finally add the chicken.
  • Add enough of the reserved poaching liquid to just cover the chicken, and simmer, uncovered, for 20 more minutes.
  • Remove the chicken again and keep warm.
    Increase the heat on the liquid and reduce the sauce until it begins to thicken.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the chicken breasts over rice and coat with the mole sauce.

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