Friday, 22 July 2011

Gill's Amazing Mexican Friday Night Feast

First of all...I did not manage to take a photo of this, largely because everyone was so excited that we grabbed everything and put it on the table and ate it. But that doesn't mean it wasn't the nicest thing I've put in my mouth this week, so I shall tell you what we had.

I have a serious thing for Mexican food. I'm going to see friends tomorrow and when asked what we wanted to eat, I said Mexican for that, too. I could literally eat it every day. Anyway yesterday I came across this recipe for black beans on Stephanie O'Dea's website and it made the Mexican lightbulb in my head go off. I ferreted through the cupboard for the bag of dried black beans I had been keeping for emergency and stuck them on to soak. Last night before we went to bed I stuck everything into the slow cooker as per her recipe, with the intention that this morning we would have huevos ranchos with the black beans and a fried egg, but fortunately for us it made a WHOLE lot of beans, so that led to this evening's meal.

I've also been reading Thomasina Miers' Mexican Food Made Easy, which had a recipe for black bean and sweetcorn relish in it, which I didn't have all the ingredients for but which I made a cobbled together version of and which came out amazing.

Finally, I had some amazing barbecue rub from the Spice and Tea Exchange that I bought in Florida, so that was definitely going to get involved somewhere.

I should say that I MADE all this food. I did not EAT it all. There are a lot of leftovers!!

For the chicken:
1 smallish roasting chicken, no giblets
2 tsp Smoked BBQ Rub
Drizzle of olive oil (to help you rub the, er, the rub in)
1 bulb of garlic, sliced through the middle so all the cloves are in half, if that makes sense
1 lemon, sliced in half

For the black beans in the slow cooker:
1 500g bag of dried black beans, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 can/carton chopped tomatoes

For the rice:
200g basmati rice
450ml chicken stock
1 can kidney beans, drained
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
4-5 spring onions, chopped finely
1 tsp chipotle powder
Any juices from the roast chicken, if you're feeling frisky

For the sweetcorn and black bean relish:
1 large can of sweetcorn - I use the no added sugar/salt variety
1 carton cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
7-8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Sweet hot jalapenos, the kind in the jar, with some of the spicy sweet vinegar
6-7 spring onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

The chicken part is dead easy. Put the oven on 190 degrees, Gas 5. Make a paste with the bbq rub and olive oil, just in the palm of your hands, and rub it all over the chicken, bottom and top. Shove the lemon and garlic up its bum, skewer the spare skin together, and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 20, or just until the juices run clear. I like to keep mine covered in foil til the last 15-20 minutes or so.

Likewise, the black beans are dead easy too - just dump everything into the slow cooker and set it to low-medium for about 8 hours. Mind you I did give mine a quick blast on the hob at the end as I like mine really sort of squidgy, but that's a personal preference. They taste great cold as well as hot. Brilliant, we'll be making them again and again.

The rice is a 15-minute job, if that. Just pop everything in together, bring up to the boil, drop down to a simmer and stick the lid on. Keep an eye on things but basically once the rice has sucked up the stock, it's done. If you're not quite ready for the rice, just put a folded clean tea towel over the pot and put the lid back on. Voila, fluffy rice!

Finally, the relish is the easiest of all. Chop it all up, stick in a bowl, mix and eat. Brilliant.

We also had some ready-made super hot salsa, some Cholula sauce and some cottage cheese on the table for dipping, as well as some leafy salad.

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