What I like most about Rick Bayless is his diversity of (mostly) Mexican food recipes. If you want something quick and simple from the pantry, he has it, or if you are looking to "geek out" with a more authentic and detailed recipe, he has that too. His cookbooks always teach me something about the ingredients, the food and the culture.
This week we are featuring Chef Bayless at our Monthly Featured Chef Event at I Heart Cooking Clubs. It's our chance to go back in time and as a group, cook the recipes of one of our previously featured chefs.
I needed a quick and easy recipe for this week and found it in Rick Bayless's Mushroom Tacos with Onions and Garlic from his website.
I made a few small changes to make them vegan and to add some flavor as the optional epazote, with it's strong herbal taste, is not easy to find here. My changes are in red below.
Mushroom Tacos with Onions and Garlic (Hongos Guisados)
Slightly Adapted from RickBayless.com
(Makes About 1 1/2 cups filling for 4 to 6 tacos)
12 oz fresh mushrooms, washed and chopped into 1/2 -inch pieces
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 or 2 fresh green chiles (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed, seeded & finely chopped
2/3 cup chicken stock or water (I used mushroom stock)
1/2 small lime, juiced
1 Tbsp lard, bacon drippings or vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
1 large ripe tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled and roughly chopped or 3/4 of a 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped (I used 4 cloves)
1 1/2 Tbsp epazote, chopped (optional) (I used 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano + 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro)
salt, about 1/2 tsp (depending on the saltiness of the broth)
(I added corn tortillas, sliced avocado, extra cilantro and lime juice to serve)
Place the mushrooms, onion, chile, broth or water, lime juice and
lard or other fat in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over
medium-high heat, cover and cook 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until all
the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to fry in the fat. (Note: I added the dried oregano and onions to the pan and let them cook for about 5 minutes in the coconut oil before adding the rest of the ingredients.)
While the mushrooms are cooking, puree the tomato with the garlic in a
blender or food processor. When the mushrooms begin to fry, add the
tomato mixture and optional epazote (I added the fresh cilantro) and cook until the liquid has
reduced and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt
(usually 1/2 teaspoon, depending on the saltiness of the broth) and
scrap into a serving bowl. Serve with tortillas on the side for making
Notes/Results: I was really happy with the flavor of these tacos and how well they satisfied. Sometimes mushrooms can lack flavor--especially white mushrooms--which I used here because they were cheaper. I think the extra garlic, plus the oregano and cilantro really enhanced the flavor when you don't have epazote available. Since I wanted to make these vegan, I used avocado to get that creamy factor that cheese would bring. However, if you aren't concerned with them being vegan, I think they would be incredible garnished with some Cotija or goat cheese. Bayless notes that this dish works well as a side dish--just skip the tortillas. I also think it would be great over rice. These tacos go together pretty quickly and easily, making them good for a weeknight meal. I would make them again.
Because it's always fun (and hunger-inducing) to go back and savor food memories, here are some favorite dishes I have cooked with Rick Bayless. These are the recipes I made again or thought of long after they were finished.
Chipotle Cream Shrimp Tacos (Camarones Enchipotlados) from RickBayless.com. (Some of the best shrimp tacos I have ever had or made!)
Classic Mexican Rice Pudding with Cinnamon and Dried Fruit (Arroz con Leche Clásico) from Mexico One Plate at a Time. (I am a rice pudding lover and this version with its Mexican raw sugar syrup, orange and dried fruit was fabulous. I used brown rice which gave it a great chewiness.)
Zucchini with Roasted Peppers, Corn, and (Cashew) Cream from Authentic Mexican. (One of those deceptive dishes that I thought would be decent but turned out to be delicious. I used cashew cream to make it dairy-free and extra corn.)
(Opah & Ahi) Ceviche Salad with Avocado, Cilantro and Green Chile from Mexican Everyday. (I had to include a ceviche in the mix and this one is so creamy and flavorful, it was a great use for local fish.)
Mexican-Style Sweet Roasted Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo Estilo Mexicano) from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. (I cooked several soups with Rick Bayless and this one was a favorite for its creaminess and garlicky flavor. I made a vegan version replacing the eggs and cheese with cashew cream.)
Jamaica Flower Sangria with Cointreau (Sangria al Jamaica) from Fiesta at Rick's.
(If you need a drink to wash down all of the above recipes, you can't go wrong with this sangria--it's a great balance of tart and sweet.)
There you have it! It was tough to just choose six recipes. You can see other Rick Bayless dishes I made by clicking on the 'Rick Bayless' label on my side bar.
You can find out what Rick Bayless dishes our participants made for this week's IHCC Monthly Featured Chef Event by checking out the picture links on the post.