Salpicón – A Versatile Salad

(It also seems to be served on a bed of green lettuce or spinach. Very nice!)

My Slice of Mexico

After my previous posts about a dry soup and an enchilada sandwich, this meat salad fits right in as another apparent culinary contradiction, and has its own interesting story from the past.  “Splash” is the direct translation of salpicón, a solid word and dish which came to the Americas directly from Spain.  It is described in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy as a “dish of shredded meat, fish or seafood, with pepper, salt, oil, vinegar and onions”, and there is even a reference in Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” about the main character’s diet:  “Una olla de algo más vaca que carnero, salpicón las más noches …” – “A pot with more beef than mutton, salpicón most evenings …” This sentence is an allegory to describe the precarious situation of Alonso (Don Quixote): Since beef was a cheap cut compared to mutton, it means that his midday meal…

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How to Cook Barbacoa without a Pit in the Ground

My Slice of Mexico

First of all, what is barbacoa?  There is some confusion about the Spanish word barbacoa, for its similarity to the English word barbecue, and the fact that both are techniques to cook meat over coals.  Whereas the arrangement for a barbecue involves cooking on a grill, if we were to compare the Mexican barbacoa to any cooking technique from the United States, it would be better to think of a Hawaiian luau under the moon, featuring the kalua – a technique of cooking large pieces of meat, or even whole animals, in an underground oven that the locals call imu.  However, Mexican civilizations probably developed their technique independently; this is corroborated by the long existence of the piib, an underground oven that has been used in the Yucatan peninsula, and some parts of Central America, since pre-Hispanic times, and some historians believe that the word barbacoa comes…

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Birria – An Exceptional Dish

My Slice of Mexico

History Tidbit – An Abstract of the Very Interesting History of the Rise and Fall of the Spice Trade in Colonial Mexico During the XVI Century.

The fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas in 1502, marked the beginning of the Spanish colonization of the New World, in the Caribbean islands; by then, Spain had aggressively rekindled the original intent of Columbus’ venture – the search for new routes and markets for its spice trade.  By 1525, a few years after completing the conquest of the Aztec empire in Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City), Hernán Cortés had expressed his interest in the “Especiería” (spice trade) and requested rights to its exploration and exploitation within the new territories; as a manifestation of his fall out of favour with the court, Cortés was ignored.  Instead, the kingdom offered monetary rewards directly to any established colonists on the islands, who could produce…

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Deshebrada – Shredded Beef with Pepper Strips

My Slice of Mexico

Deshebrada, meaning “shredded” in Spanish, is the short name for a stew (guisado) of shredded beef with pepper strips (deshebrada de res con rajas) very popular in Mexico’s Northern states, especially Chihuahua.  Because the region is famous for its cattle, it is implied that this dish is made with beef.  The type of peppers used may vary, depending on the level of hotness that is needed; poblanos are a popular choice for medium hotness, but for a sensitive palate, or when catering to children, sweet green peppers are the way to go.

Shredded Beef with Pepper Strips –

Deshebrada (de res con rajas)

Printable recipe: Shredded Beef with Pepper Strips

Ingredients

1 lb (454 g) stewing beef
Water, as needed
1 bay leaf
1 onion
1 large green pepper (poblano, bell, etc.); stem and seeds removed, and cut into strips
1large tomato; washed, stem end removed…

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