Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and author, Rick Bayless joined the ladies in the kitchen for The Talk Food Festival. He made an authentic Mexican menu that incorporated the warm flavors of fall. Here is his twist on the Mexican classics!
Toasted Pumpkinseed Guacamole
Guacamole de Pepita Tostada
Makes about 3 cups, serving 8 to 10 as a nibble
3 medium-large (about 1 ¼ pounds) ripe avocados
½ small red onion, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
½ to 1 fresh serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
About 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¾ cup hulled, toasted, salted pumpkinseeds, plus a few extra for garnish
Cut around each avocado from stem to blossom end and back up again, then twist the halves apart. Dislodge the pit. Scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl. Coarsely mash the avocado with a large fork or potato masher. Scoop the onion into a small strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water and mix into the avocado along with the serrano, cilantro and lime juice.
Scoop the pumpkinseeds into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, then run the processor until the seeds are a chunky-looking paste. Mix the paste into the avocado mixture. Taste and season with salt, usually about ½ teaspoon. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate—best if served within a couple of hours.
When you're ready to serve, scoop the guacamole into a decorative bowl and garnish with a sprinkling of pumpkinseeds and cilantro leaves.
Charred Summer Squash with Roasted Garlic Mojo and Güero Chile
2 heads of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 güero chiles
2 pounds summer squash (the tear-drop shaped, light-skinned tatume or the round ronde de nice are similar to what's available in Mexico—both have a gentle sweetness and compact texture), skin on, cut into 1-inch cubes
First, make the mojo: In a large (10-inch) dry skillet, roast the garlic cloves over medium heat, turning regularly until they're blackened and soft on the inside (about 10 minutes). Cool, then peel, place in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is roughly chopped. Then, with the machine running, add the olive oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream. Finally, add the lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt and pulse to incorporate. Transfer the mojo to a bowl. (It can be refrigerated in a sealed container for several months.)
Roast the chiles over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until softened and charred on all sides, about 4 minutes for an open flame 8-10 minutes for a broiler. Slice the chiles in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, then scrape the flesh from the peel. Slice crosswise into ¼-inch strips.
Lightly salt the squash. In a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high (or on a grill pan or charcoal or gas grill heated to medium-high), cook the squash in a single layer, turning frequently, until charred on all sides but still a little crunchy, about 12 minutes.
Just before serving, combine the squash with the chiles and ¼ cup of the garlic mojo in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, taste and season with salt (usually about ¼ teaspoon). If you have cilantro on hand and you think the dish needs it, chop it and stir it in.
CHICKEN IN PUEBLAN GREEN PUMPKINSEED SAUCE
Pipián Verde de Pollo
Serves 4, with about 5 cups sauce (so you'll have leftovers for another round of chicken or for enchiladas or vegetables)
1 large white onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 good-size (3-pound) chicken, cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
A generous 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) hulled pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
12 large sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
3 small romaine leaves, roughly chopped
2 large radish leaves, roughly chopped
Hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 2 small jalapeños), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1. The chicken. In a large (6-quart) pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add half of the onion and garlic, all the carrot, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the chicken back (if you're lucky enough to have a separated one), neck, heart and giblets. Skim off any foam that rises after a minute or two, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add the dark meat quarters, skim again after a couple of minutes, then add the bay, thyme and marjoram, partially cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the breast quarters, skim when the liquid returns to the simmer, partially cover and cook 13 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken cool for a few minutes in the broth.
Remove the breast and leg quarters from the broth and set aside. Strain the broth, discarding the solids, and spoon off any fat that rises to the top.
2. The pumpkinseeds. In a large (10-to 12-inch), heavy skillet set over medium heat, spread out the pumpkinseeds and toast, stirring regularly, until all have popped (from flat to rounded) and turned golden (no darker); once they start popping, the whole process shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes. Spread out on a plate to cool; reserve a couple of tablespoons for garnish.
3. The sauce. In a blender, combine the cooled pumpkinseeds with the remaining half of the onion and garlic, the cilantro, romaine, radish leaves and green chiles. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and blend to a smooth puree.
Heat the oil in a large (4-quart), heavy saucepan over medium. Add the puree and stir constantly until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the broth (you'll have about 4 cups broth left over for soup or another sauce), partially cover and simmer 20 minutes; the sauce will look coarse at this point.
Scrape the sauce into a blender, loosely cover and blend to a smooth puree; if necessary add a little extra broth (or water) to give the sauce a medium consistency. Rinse your saucepan, return the blended sauce to it, taste and season with salt, usually a 1/2 teaspoon. Add the chicken and warm (but don't bring to a simmer) over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter, then ladle the sauce over and around it, decorate with the reserved pumpkinseeds and cilantro sprigs, and it's ready to serve.
Jamaica-Cactus Fruit (Prickly Pear) Margarita (Fall)
PITCHER RECIPE FOR A PARTY
Yield: 8 cocktails
1 ½ cups Jamaica Tequila (see recipe below)
1 cup fresh lime juice
½ cup orange triple sec or other triple sec
1 cup Prickly Pear Puree (see below)
½ cup agave syrup (light organic syrup gives the best flavor)
Jamaica Sugar (see below) or granulated sugar
1 lime wedge
6 cups ice
In a pitcher, combine the infused tequila, lime juice, orange Curaçao, Prickly Pear Puree and agave syrup. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Crust the rims of 8 6-ounce martini glasses with Jamaica Sugar as described above. Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ full with ice, and pour in 1 ½ cups of the margarita mixture. Shake, strain into 3 of the sugar-crusted glasses, and repeat for the remaining margaritas.
2 cups 100% blue agave blanco tequila (page 000)
1 ½ cups (2 ounces) dried jamaica flowers
Measure the tequila into a small saucepan, cover and slowly warm over low heat to about 160 degrees (hot to the touch). Remove from the heat, add the jamaica flowers, re-cover and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Line a strainer with cheesecloth, pour the tequila through it, gather the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze or ring out the flowers, extracting as much tequila as possible. When the infused tequila has cooled, it's ready to use. Stored in a glass container, it will keep its vibrant flavor for a couple of months.
Yield: about 1 ½ cups
Prickly Pear Puree
To make a generous cup of Prickly Pear Puree, peel 6 prickly pears: Cut a ½-inch slice off both ends of the prickly pears. One by one, peel the prickly pears by first making a ½-inch deep incision down the side (end to end), then peeling away the thick rind. Roughly chop the fruit that's in the middle, scoop it into a food processor or blender and process to a smooth puree. Strain into a sealable container, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use it, up to 3 days.
To make Jamaica Sugar place ½ cup dried jamaica flowers in an electric spice grinder and coarsely pulverize. Mix with ½ cup sugar.