Day into night at home / 16
A dose of celebration for cooking at home!
This week’s menu is about leaning into the simple pleasure that is eating something delicious. It’s about the feeling of wellness one feels when sipping warm broth at the beginning of a meal, the hearty freshness of a kale salad, the comfort of a creamy bowl of polenta, the addictive smokey heat of chipotle peppers, and the restorative feeling of lingering at the table after eating a nice meal.
One of my all time favorite Mexican dishes is Tinga— a chicken and onion stew cooked in a tomato chipotle sauce. Most often, it is served on top of a tostada with a thin layer of refried beans and topped with shredded cabbage, radishes, and crema, but the other day as I was thinking of another Mexican favorite— tamales, I thought that making polenta the base for Tinga would be delicious, and so this week's main course was born. Think of it as a tamale bowl.
Polenta gets a bad reputation for being labor intensive and sometimes bland, but if you make it in the oven— like they do in restaurants, it’s easy and barely work. The polenta is cooked in broth left over from poaching the chicken for the Tinga. The broth is reinforced with onions, garlic, and a leek to make it as flavorful as possible. Be sure to set aside a few ladles of the broth to have at the start of your meal with a squeeze of lemon. Starting any meal with a bit of broth is always comforting and sets the tone for the rest of the experience.
To start a kale salad with mint, cashews, and queso blanco, a crumbly white cheese that can be easily subbed with feta or ricotta salata. Serve the salad first or in the same bowl as your Tinga. If you are serving it all in the same bowl think of the polenta as the tostada, top it with the chicken stew, and then with the kale salad.
Dessert this week is simple— brown butter almond cookies inspired by Mexican wedding cookies. Eat them with something boozy, bitter, sweet, and herbaceous like a Gran Classico with a cube of ice and orange peel, or with something warm, floral and soothing like the Lebanese drink Aheh Bayda, which is also called white coffee though it contains none. To make Ahah Bayda simply stir a teaspoon of orange blossom water into a cup of hot water. If neither appeals, choose your favorite after dinner drink or tea. The idea here is that you nibble on cookies while sipping something you love, and that at the end the meal you linger at the table a little longer— enjoying the conversation, feeling satiated and cozy.
One last thing to keep in mind is that like all stews this Tinga is even better the next day— so consider making it a day before.
Buen provecho, Ana xx
Here's this week's breakdown:
Press play on the playlist
Brown the butter and let it cool until it is opaque and firm
Poach the chicken
Make the polenta
Make the tinga
Make the cookies and let them chill
Make the salad
Bake the cookies
Let music create atmosphere.
Listen to our curated playlist on Spotify.