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Video: Spice up dinner with a Mexican molcajete feast

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    >> this morning on "today's melting pot ," mexican favorites from chef christy vega. good to see you.

    >> nice to see you.

    >> so this is really interesting. these recipes were served at your family's table.

    >> exactly.

    >> this is this dish and it's made out of --

    >> usually used to make guacamo guacamole.

    >> but also as a serving vessel because it keeps the food nice and warm.

    >> how do you make it?

    >> we'll start with marinating our meats. and you can use any type of meat you want. we brought chicken breast , lean steak and tiger shrimp .

    >> same marinade for everything?

    >> yeah, a little bit of olive oil and garlic. and we keep them in their own so they keep their own authentic flavor.

    >> and how long do you marinate this for?

    >> about 30 minutes .

    >> in the fridge or on the table?

    >> in the fridge. always better. so i'll go ahead and add the ingredients if you would stir.

    >> okay.

    >> now we're going to make our sauce. we'll start, we have the oil already heated. and we'll add a touch of flour.

    >> any kind of oil you like?

    >> canola oil .

    >> like a neutral oil.

    >> and we'll add our chili paste to it. you can use a little powder, add some water, make your own. yep, go ahead and add a little bit.

    >> okay.

    >> perfect.

    >> that's fragrant.

    >> we'll cool it down and add a little bit of water.

    >> and you get a lovely facial at the same time.

    >> there we go. and some chicken broth . and to intensify the flavor, we'll add chicken base which is concentrated chicken broth . it is a great flavor.

    >> okay.

    >> and then lastly, we'll add some cumin, which is a great mexican spice used in almost all of the dishes.

    >> so you're going to cook that down.

    >> cook it down five to ten minutes. here's the finished sauce. and to this, if you could add a little bit of black pepper and mexican oregano .

    >> you can't find mexican oregano , regular?

    >> perfect.

    >> and now our sauce is done. and we'll go over to the grill where we've got our chicken grilling, our shrimp grilling, and we already have our steak.

    >> this is --

    >> this is anaheim chili which we stuff with queso.

    >> if you could cut the steak into little ribbon pieces. and i'll go ahead and pour this in here. and we'll pour it about half way. there. great. and to this now we'll add the steak.

    >> okay.

    >> that you cut in.

    >> all of it?

    >> yeah. maybe half.

    >> okay.

    >> great. and we'll do the chicken. perfect. and the shrimp. you're really fast at this. and then we'll add the that on top. and we have -- it already made. and how you eat this is with tortillas and you eat like it a fajita. it's great. you know, i make a big version of this and put it on my table and the kids, i have three boys, they kind of pick and choose.

    >> it's like making your own taco sort of.

    >> it is. it is. and this is something that my grandmother always had in her kitchen. it's a main staple.

    >> and in your lifetime you've seen how mexican food has become mainstream.

    >> it has. and it's changed and i think it's really great to highlight the mexican dishes that are good for you and not covered in cheese or fried.

    >> let me top those, if you will.

    >> oh, okay. what goes in them?

    >> you top a margarita with to make it a cadillac margarita.

    >> cheers. all right.

    >> cheers.

    >> we'll try that.

    >> this is fantastic. thanks so much.

    >> thank you. nice to see you.

TODAY recipes
updated 4/25/2013 9:56:19 AM ET 2013-04-25T13:56:19

Recipe: Molcajete

  • 2 tsp ancho chile paste
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp pasilla paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp chicken base
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into 3 strips
  • 1/2 lb skirt steak
  • 4 large tiger shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 Anaheim chile
  • 1/4 cup queso rresco
  • 3 green onions with stems
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
  • 1 large molcajete dish
  • Serve with:
  • Warm tortillas
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo

Marinate the chicken, beef and shrimp (separately) in ½ cup oil, ½ tbsp chopped garlic and a pinch of cumin.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

While the meats are marinating, start making the sauce in a medium-sized saucepan.

Add the 2 tbsp. of oil and warm for one minute. Add flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Keep stirring.

Add both the pasilla and ancho chile paste, and continue to stir.

Next, add ½ cup of chicken broth and ½ cup of water, ½ tbsp chicken base and 1 tsp cumin.

Keep stirring and let it start to boil. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Tip: If the sauce is too heavy, add water, and if it is too thin, add a dash of flour.

Once finished, add the black pepper and Mexican oregano.

Place sauce to the side and start to cook the chile, chicken, meat and shrimp.

Cook the chile directly on the flame of the burner until its skin pops up and chars. In a pot of cold water, peel the skin completely off the chile, remove from water and pat dry with paper towel.

Slice one side of the chile and stuff the inside with queso fresco.

On a heated grill or grill pan, grill the chicken, beef, shrimp, chile and green onion.  The chicken is done when the juice runs clear.

In your molcajete dish, add the sauce you just made until it’s half way full.

Remove beef from the grill and cut it into strips and place in molcajete.

Add the three strips of chicken around the dish, sticking half way up.

Next, add the chile on top, hang shrimp around the sides and place the onions on top of the molcajete.

Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo.

Recipe: Tortilla soup

  • 2 oz canola oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion
  • 1 tbsp chile paste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano and salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 cups diced, grilled chicken breast
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 liter water
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Tortilla chips or strips
  • Crumbled cotija cheese

Heat oil in a pan.

Add onion and cook until translucent. 

Add chile paste and spices. 

Toss in diced chicken and tomato sauce. 

Next, pour in water and chicken broth.

Top with diced avocado, tortilla strips and cotija cheese.

Recipe: Cadillac margarita

  • 1 1/2 oz 1800 Tequila
  • 1/2 triple sec
  • 2 oz lime juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Grand Marnier
  • Kosher salt
  • Lime wedge
  • Ice, cubed or crushed

Prep: Pour salt onto flat plate; rim glass with lime wedge, then quickly, set rim in salt.

Fill glass to top with ice (important!).

Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave nectar and ice into a shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.

Pour margarita over ice.

Garnish with lime wedge.

Add a floater (swirl) of Grand Marnier.

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