Barbecue 15: The Mexican

¡Hola! Barbecue 15 was held on Thursday, June 17: The eve of Jez and Elly‘s wedding in Somerset. Gemma and I had had most of the day off, and this seemed like the perfect way to start our holiday. Guests (seven of them) included Jen and Mark (Jen brought Mexican cheese and hot sauce), and James (who brought love). As an aside, you know you use Twitter too much when you wish more of your friends were using it so you could link them…

…ahem. So, moving on.

Mmm, heat.

Weather

Another sunny, hot day; perfect for barbecuing, perfect for Mexican food!


Bless - isn't he cute?

Food

Well, you guessed it from the title. The theme this time was Mexico, and so we tried to have everything we cooked a little bit Mexican. On the menu this time: for starters, nachos with guacamole, sour cream and Pico de Gallo, as modelled on the right by Jay. These were all rather popular!

Es muy bueno!

Main course? Ooh, a plethora of Mexican dishes for your delectation, sir (or madam). The customary burgers were this time Mexican Lamb Burgers with a little cheese and Pico de Gallo; we bought some very tasty Chorizo sausages (I know, not Mexican. But really good); and with that, delicious Mexican Pork Steaks and amazing Steak Fajitas. Everything went down very well (in fact, more complements than usual – hoorah!), and I can recommend a number of Mexican beers to accompany those dishes.

No dessert this time, but who needs dessert? See you at 16 (which, at the time of writing, happened last night)…

Mexican Lamb Burgers

It wouldn’t be a barbecue without a burger, right? And I haven’t made any lamb burgers yet, so I thought I’d set me a challenge: Mexican lamb. Everyone at the barbecue seemed to love them, which is always nice.

Ingredients

Makes 8-10 burgers

  • 1kg minced lamb. Lamb is a very fatty meat, which means the burgers are very succulent (and you don’t need any oil, eggs, etc)
  • One red onion, chopped very finely
  • One green bell pepper, chopped finely
  • One large red jalapeño chili, or a normal large red chili, chopped very finely
  • A large handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tsp salt, more to taste

Mexican Lamb Burgers. This was the only one left, within 2 minutes of cooking.

Recipe

Combine all of the ingredients! Quite a few of my recipes start this way. As I said above, if you use your hands to mulch all of this together, you should have something that holds well enough to not need further moisture (or any breadcrumbs). Be sure to combine the coriander leaves well, because they’ll clump together if you’re not careful.

As usual with burgers, form a tennis ball-sized sphere, and compress on top and bottom, pressing in a little in the middle. These will take about 5 minutes per side on the barbecue – watch out, as the fat from the lamb will make the coals spit.

They really go very well with my pico de gallo, and perhaps a slice of Mexicana Cheese (thanks Jen), though burger cheese works just as well.

Quite honestly I’m more pleased with these burgers than any others. Do try them, they’re great.

¡Buen provecho!

Mexican Pork Steaks

In my never-ending search for new barbecuables, I asked good old Twitter for recommendations. Lauren got back to me with an awesome recipe for Mexican Pork Loin Steaks (thanks Lauren!) and we weren’t disappointed. So, this recipe is mainly Channel Four’s. But I messed around with it a bit, and was pleased with the result.

Ingredients

    For the pork
  • Four boneless pork loin steaks
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika (you can use normal paprika if you can’t get smoked stuff)
  • A handful of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • Zest of one lime, and the juice of half of it
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • One large red chilli, finely chopped
  • Two cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • For the yogurt side dressing
  • A small pot of natural yoghurt
  • 1/2tsp mild chilli powder
  • The juice from the other half of that lime

Recipe

First, we’ll make the yoghurt dressing, which really calms the heat in the pork. Just combine the yoghurt with the chilli powder and a little of the coriander, and add the half-lime juice. Stir well and refrigerate.

Mexican Pork. ¡Olé!
Next, the pork. You might think it a bit odd to see brown sugar – it’s surprisingly common in meat-based Mexican dishes. Really helps to counter the heat from all the chillies!
Mix together all of the ingredients for the pork (except the pork itself). You should have a fairly thick marinade, but it doesn’t matter if not. Add the pork, a steak at a time, turning well and rubbing in the marinade. Cover with cling film, and put in the fridge, preferably overnight.

On the barbecue, you’re looking at about five minutes per side. This pork is actually a good substitute for the steak in my fajitas, but is great on its own with the yoghurt.

Steak Fajitas

Fajitas are, strictly speaking, a Tex-Mex recipe. But that’s nearly Mexican, right? Anyway, these were for our Mexican barbecue, and were rather popular. The idea is that the meat bit is cooked on the barbecue and then cut up by you, with the rest of the work being done by your guests. Good eh?

Ingredients

    For the steak
  • 4-5 thin frying steaks, trimmed. These are the cheapish sort which need to be cooked well to be tender. Since we’re cutting them up, it doesn’t matter.
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • A handful of roughly chopped coriander
  • 1tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • The juice and zest of one lime
  • 1tbsp mild olive oil
  • One or two large red chillies or jalapeño chillies, finely chopped
  • 1tsp rock salt
  • 1tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • For everything to go with the steak
  • 12 tortilla wraps (corn tortillas are best, but more expensive)
  • A large white onion and a red bell pepper, chopped into slices
  • A pot of sour cream, and some of my guacamole
  • 1tsp each of ginger, crushed garlic, chilli powder, and cayenne pepper

Recipe

That’s quite a list of ingredients! Luckily putting it all together isn’t so hard.

Combine everything in the “for the steak” ingredients section. Cover with cling film, and leave in the fridge for at least six hours, but preferably overnight. This makes a massive difference to how tender and flavourful the meat is.

Fajita onions and peppers
In the meantime, go make some of my guacamole. You can add some finely chopped chives to the sour cream if you want, but that’s not strictly Mexican. The other thing to do is sorting out the onions and peppers that typically go with fajitas. I like to do these in the same way as I do my garlic tomatoes – chop the pepper and onion into decent-sized slices, and put them in a foil bag. Add the ginger, crushed garlic, chilli powder, and cayenne to the bag, with a little olive oil, seal and shake around. This works really well, but you might just want to fry on your normal hob instead.

Unwrapped. Clearly you should wrap it first.
Anyway, on with the meat. Remove from the marinade and barbecue for 2-3 minutes per side. Take the steaks off the grill, then slice them into 1-2cm strips. Leave the rest to your guests – the idea is that they take a tortilla, smother some sour cream and guacamole on it, add some steak, and top with the onions and peppers. You might even want to add some hot sauce (thanks Jen) Wrap up and enjoy!

Pico de Gallo

For the Mexican barbecue (ole!) I came up with a number of suitable dishes. This particular one is a staple of Mexican food. Pronounced “pico de gaio”, meaning “Rooster’s Beak”, it’s like a salsa, but less saucy. Spicy and delicious, and really good with white meat, or burgers.

Simple, and tasty.

Ingredients

  • Two ripe plum tomatoes, chopped into small chunks
  • Half a red onion, chopped finely
  • One to two large red chillies or jalapeño chillies, chopped finely
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • A handful of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • 1tsp rock salt

Recipe

Combine the ingredients! I’d start with just one chilli before tasting and adding more – it’s meant to be spicy, but if you can’t eat it because it’s too hot, there’s no point. You’ll need to leave this in the fridge for 3-4 hours so the flavours combine. Yum.