Mexican Made Easy with Chef Marcela

Chef Marcela joined us with some delicious recipes from her cookbook “Mexican Made Easy – Everyday Ingredients, Extraordinary Flavor.” The cookbook is available online and in book stores everywhere.  For more information on Marcela, her show on the Food Network or her new line of products at Vons and Safeway, you can visit the website.  For the albondigas soup and bread pudding recipe, pick up a copy of Chef Marcela’s book.  For the other recipes featured in the segment, see the details below.

Butternut Squash stuffed with Ancho Pine Nut Rice
Serves 4

For the Butternut Squash:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out, washed, and reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, grease a glass baking dish. Place the butternut squash in the dish, cut side down. Pierce the squash all over with a fork. Roast for 45 minutes, or until very tender. Reserve.

For the Ancho Pine Nut Rice:
3½ cups chicken broth
2 ancho chiles, stemmed, and seeded
¼ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup pine nuts
1½ cups medium-grain rice

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan over high heat. Add the ancho chiles and turn off. Let stand for 15 minutes, or until the chiles soften.

Transfer the chiles and broth mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain into a 4-cup measuring cup to measure 2 ¾ cups (reserve the remaining puree for another use). Add the milk, salt, and pepper and set aside.

Melt the butter with the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the pine nuts and stir for 2 minutes, or until they are golden. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes, or until it is coated with oil.

Add the ancho puree and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Turn of the heat and let the rice stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Divide the rice into 4 equal parts. Stuff each of the four halves of the butternut squash with the warm rice. Serve immediately.

Arrachera Torta
Serves 4
2 pounds Marcela Valladolid Beef Flank Steak for Arrachera (available exclusively at Vons and Pavilions stores)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle in adobo sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt to taste
4 bolillo rolls
Avocado slices for serving
Shredded iceberg lettuce for serving

Heat vegetable oil on heavy grill over high heat. When grill is hot, add the Marcela Valladolid Beef Flank Steak for Arrachera. Cook about 5 minutes on one side and flip over, using tongs. Cook for another 5 minutes on the other side, or until perfectly browned and meat is cooked through. Remove Marcela Valladolid Beef Flank Steak for Arrachera from heat and reserve, covered.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix mayonnaise, chipotle, and garlic. Season to taste with salt. Reserve and set aside for later use.

Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise mixture on the inside of bolillo roll. Slightly toast bolillo roll on grill, on medium high heat, about 1 minute per side. Slice the Marcela Valladolid Beef Flank Steak for Arrachera and place on the inside of bread. Add avocado slices and top with lettuce. Close sandwich and serve immediately.