Friday, May 21, 2010


Pechuga. Breast. In Spanish. In Australia the breast of a chicken is usually sold stripped of the one thing that can give it flavour - its skin. It's also usually sold without the second thing that gives it flavour - bones. Same goes for thigh meat - usually sold as skinless, boneless fillets. The best way to get around this is to buy a whole chicken. That way you have a pair of legs with skin and bone for one meal for 2 people. If you remove the end joint of the wings you then also have a breast with the first wing joint for a second meal. And you have the chicken frame and wing tips to make stock to use in soups and risotto. Salsa ranchera is one of the classics of Mexican cuisine. You can find a recipe in many books, but try Diana Kennedy or Mark Miller et al in a fabulous book devoted to a Mexican specialty rarely cooked outside Mexico - tamales. (It's been a while since I did tamales, so I'll fix that soon. Advanced notice: if you want to make your own, you'll need pork lard, so off to the butcher for a kilo of fat and start rendering. It keeps for months in the fridge.) The secret to so many Mexican tomato-based salsas isn't just the quality of the tomatoes, but holding the tomatoes over a flame so the skin blisters and burns. If you have a gas cook top, an easy way to do it is impale a tomato on a carving fork or long skewer and rotate it slowly close to the flame. Diana Kennedy's books and others and some online recipe sites will have recipes for adobos. There are many variations using different combinations of chillies and other spices - and there are dry versions, wet versions and others with the consistency of a paste.

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