Thursday, March 29, 2012

huitlacoche lasagne

Do you have a can of huitlacoche sitting in your pantry and you have no idea what to do with it?

Ok, maybe not.

But if you ever find yourself in this particular situation, I believe this rather non-authentic Mexican dish will solve your problem!

First, gather your ingredients:
Olive oil, onion, garlic, huitlacoche, poblano chile, dried epazote, Mexican table cream, melty Mexican cheese, and no-boil lasagne noodles.

Next, roast the poblano chile until the skin is mostly charred and blistered, and it starts to split slightly.  While the poblano chile is roasting chop up the onion and garlic.

 When the poblano chile is done roasting, put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it steam for about 5 minutes, then peel the skin off, remove the seeds and stem, and slice into strips.

 Put half of the chopped onion in one pan and the other half in the other pan.  Once the onion is slightly translucent, add a minced clove of garlic in each pan.  Saute for about a minute.

 Add the can of huitlacoche to one pan and the poblano chile to the other.

 Add dried epazote to each pan.  Continue cooking for about 5 more minutes then turn off heat.

 Add the contents of the poblano chile pan to a blender along with the Mexican table cream; salt and pepper to taste.

 Add enough cream sauce to cover the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.

 Add two no-boil lasagne noodles.

 Add more sauce to cover the noodles then add half of the huitlacoche mixture.

 Add a third of the shredded cheese; I had just a little bit of Blarney Castle cheese in the fridge, so I added that too.  Add another layer of noodles, cream sauce, huitlacoche, and cheese.  Your final layer should be noodles, the remaining cream sauce and cheese.

 Put it in the oven at 350º F for 35-40, but check after 30 min. since ovens vary slightly.  It comes out looking like this!

 I didn't let it cool long enough so it ended up being a sloppy mess, but I promise it's good!

Huitlacoche is basically corn smut.  It looks ugly and scary but my opinion is that it tastes pretty good and it tastes even better when it is fresh.  I can't really describe the taste perfectly, a bit earthy and smoky and mushroom-y; you really just have to taste it for yourself.  Next time you take a trip to Mexico, look for it on the menu and try it out.  Here is a good article if you want to read more about it.

And if you grow corn and you come across it, don't chuck it, sell it!  This stuff is pretty expensive, that one can of huitlacoche cost me $7!  You can make a nice profit from that ruined ear of corn.

Huitlacoche Lasagne
slightly adapted from this recipe by Las mañanas en el once

1 large poblano chile
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow or sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (430g) can huitlacoche (a.k.a. cuitlacoche)
2 tablespoons dried epazote
2 (7.6 oz.) cans Mexican table cream (Nestlé media crema, which you can almost always find in the Mexican aisle at any grocery store)
6 sheets of no-boil lasagne noodles
2 cups manchego or panela or asadero or any melty Mexican cheese, shredded

1.  Roast poblano chile on a griddle over medium-high heat.  Turn poblano chile every few minutes until skin is mostly charred, blistery and slightly peeling.  Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 5 minutes (now would be a good time to chop the onion and mince the garlic).  Peel skin, remove stem and seeds and slice into strips; set aside.
2.  Set two frying pans over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to each pan.  Once pans are hot, add half of chopped onion to one pan and other half to other pan, cook until slightly translucent.  Add 1 minced garlic to each pan, saute for about a minute.
3.  Add huitlacoche to one pan and sliced poblano chile to other pan.  Add 1 tablespoon of dried epazote to each pan, crushing in your hand as you sprinkle it over.  Stir and continue cooking for about 5 minutes; turn off heat.
4.  Add poblano chile mixture to a blender; add table cream and blend until completely pureed.  Salt and pepper to taste.
5.  Add enough cream sauce to cover bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.  Layer 2 lasagne sheets, a third of cream sauce, half of huitlacoche mixture and a third of shredded cheese; repeat this layer.  Final layer, 2 lasagne sheets, remaining cream sauce and remaining shredded cheese.
6.  Bake uncovered in 350º F pre-heated oven, 35-40 minutes (check after 30 minutes).  Let sit 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

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