Can any two words be more delicious than Shrimp Soup? Now take that simply delicious shrimp soup and add a little Mexican flavor and you have the classic Caldo de Camarón.
Caldo de Camarón
Among all the tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, and tamales, Mexico also has a very large repertoire of soups, especially seafood based soups. Among those is the classic Caldo de Camarón. This hearty, slightly spicy soup is built upon a base of chile guajillo, a delicious shrimp broth, chunks of potatoes and carrots, and finished with fresh peeled shrimp. Luckily, I was able to find some fresh native shrimp at the local fishmonger, so this was a welcome treat to our Easter Sunday brunch!
In Mexico, this soup is often given complimentary in many restaurants, served in little shot glasses! It is a very delicious way to welcome you to their restaurant…
So as you welcome those special guests to your table, just remember to serve it very hot and always have fresh limes ready to be squeezed in the soup!
Caldo de Camarón
- 4 Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
- 8-10 Chile Guajillo
- 1.0 lbs. Shrimp.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Peel and devein shrimp under cold running water, reserving peels and shrimp separately; set shrimp aside.
- Take shells, the onion, 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, and ½ tsp of salt put in a stockpot and add about 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
- Strain broth and put liquid back into a stockpot and keep warm.
- Toast the chiles on a comal and then soak in hot water for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the stems and seeds and place in a blender with 1 clove of garlic, a peel of onion, and about 2 cups of soaking liquid. Blend to a puree.
- In another stockpot, heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat, Strain the puree over the oil and then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat, allowing the puree to season and thicken.
- Add the shrimp broth that you had set aside, add the carrots, potatoes.
- Bring broth back to a simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn heat to high, add shrimp, bring to a boil, and simmer briefly until shrimp are done.
- Add the chopped cilantro and add salt to taste.
- Ladle soup into large soup bowls, and serve with lime wedges.
Caldo de Camarron
Although this has been a very mild winter in the Northeast, Winter still has New England firmly in its grasp. I cannot think of a better way to warm one’s soul than some delicious, comforting, beef stew. Not just your average, everyday beef stew, but an authentic Mexican stew made in a broth of chile pasilla that originates from the state of Oaxaca. Mole de Olla!
Mole de Olla
This is a recipe that my wife taught me when we first married and I have used ever since. This recipe has a unique ingredient that many of you may not have heard of. It is called Epazote. Epazote is a herb used in many dishes in Mexico. It adds a unique flavor to dishes, but its best quality is its ability to control intestinal gas! In Mexico, they use fresh epazote branches in Mole de Olla, but since we do not have any here, I have to use dried epazote. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 teaspoon of dried epazote for each fresh branch of epazote. You can source dried epazote here!
Mole de Olla is rather simple to prepare. The only thing to be mindful of is the order that you cook the vegetables in, which will ensure they are all the proper tenderness at the same time. We start by slowly simmering the beef short ribs and the beef. My recipe uses short ribs as well because I like the added flavor that the beef bones bring to the stock. Just be sure to de-bone the beef after it is cooked! After the beef is pretty much done, we start adding the vegetables. First we add the corn and potatoes, then the beans and the carrots. We add the chile pasilla puree, simmer until all the vegetables are the desired tenderness, serve in large bowls with fresh limes and fresh corn tortillas and maybe a delicious Malbec!
Mole de Olla
- 1 lb beef short ribs
- 1 lb lean beef, cut into small chunks
- 1 bay leaf
- 10-12 cilantro stems, tied with butchers twine
- 2 teaspoons dried epazote
- 2 corn cobs
- ½ white onion
- 1/2 head of garlic
- 1/2 lb. green beans
- 6 medium red potatoes, quartered
- 2 large carrots sliced quarters
- 5 chiles pasillas
- salt to taste
- Cook the all the beef in about 3 quarts of water, along the onion, the garlic, salt, bay leaf, and cilantro stems on low heat for 30 minutes.
- Cut the corn cobs into 1 inch slices, wash the potatoes and quarter them. Slice each of the green beans in half, then quarter the carrots.
- Once the meat is cooked, add the corn and potatoes.
- About five minutes later, add the carrots, the beans, and the epazote.
- While this is all simmering away, toast the chiles on a comal, then soak them in water for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the seeds and veins, then add the chiles to the blender with about ½ cup of the stock, a slice of white onion, and a clove of garlic.
- Blend this to a nice puree, then strain into the pot through a medium mesh sieve.
- Simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about another 30 minutes.
- Remove the beef short ribs and de-bone the beef and put the beef back into the pot.
- Serve in large bowls with lime slices and fresh corn tortillas!
Mole de Olla
Cilantro Pesto Cruster Turkey Tenderloins
This recipe evolved from the simple boredom of having the same meal once a week. Normally, with turkey tenderloins, I simply pound them flat, give them a quick soak in some sort of marinade, and throw them on the grill. This go around, I wanted to do something different and a bit more flavorful. Looking through a list of recipes, I was intrigued by one recipe that I found that encrusted the tenderloins in a sage pesto using walnuts. Inspired by this recipe I decided to put my own MexItalian spin on it!
I have taken turkey tenderloins and baked them with a coating of cilantro pesto. I just love how the fresh, almost floral flavors of the cilantro combine with the garlic and citrus to add complexity to the turkey. The pesto also gives the added benefit of keeping the turkey moist during the roasting process. This recipe is kid tested and approved! My daughter, on first sight, did not want anything to do with green colored turkey. Upon tasting it, she proudly exclaimed “Whoa!”… That sure sounded like a seal of approval!
Cilantro Pesto Crusted Turkey Tenderloins
- 2 turkey tenderloins, about 1 pound each
- 8 medium red potatoes, quartered
- 1/2 of a white onion, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 8-10 nopales paddles, cleaned and diced (optional but recommended!)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a mixing bowl combine the potatoes, onion, garlic, nopales, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
- Prepare the cilantro pesto (Follow the recipe for the cilantro pesto below!).
- Spread the pesto all over the tenderloins and place in a roasting pan.
- Spread the potatoes, nopales, and onions in the same pan around the turkey.
- Roast for 40 minutes, or until the tenderloins reach a internal temperature of 165F. Let the tenderloins rest for 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with the potatoes and nopales and a glass of Pinot Noir!
1 bunch or 2 cups of fresh cilantro (washed well and dried well!)
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Put the pine nuts and the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times.
Add the cilantro, lime juice and slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the cotija cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.