Her simple recipes are designed for people who have spent quite enough time in the kitchen lately.
The menu includes Spicy Pumpkin Soup, Turkey Enchiladas Suizas, and Sweet Potato & Cranberry Capirotada. The dessert is a Mexican version of bread pudding.
Latin cuisine is a passion for this rising young chef, who has honed her skills in high-profile restaurants on both coasts and did a stint as private chef to designer Ralph Lauren.
Chef Stark's ingredients include chorizo, a highly-seasoned, coarsely ground pork sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder and other spices. It's widely used in both Mexican and Spanish cooking.
Enchiladas Suizas is the southern Mexican style of enchilada. The sauce is enriched with cream, and cheese is added on top.
Chihuahua cheese, named for the region in which it's made, is a pale yellow cheese that can vary from mild to cheddar-like sharpness. Monterey Jack is a good substitute.
Capirotada, the Mexican version of bread pudding, was originally created to use up leftovers from the Lenten feast.
Queso Fresco is a spongy white cheese which is often crumbled over tacos and enchiladas. If you can't find it locally, cream cheese is a good substitute.
Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle Chile Croutons and Crema
This creamy soup with its unique combination of mellow pumpkin and spicy Mexican chorizo is a great way to use up leftover pumpkin puree, mashed potatoes and bread.
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 pound chorizo, removed from casing and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano, ground between the palms of the hands
5 cups chicken stock
2 potatoes peeled and diced (or 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes)
3 cups pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche
2 cups day old bread, cubed
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile or any chile powder
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
- 1. Combine onion, garlic, chorizo, cumin and oregano in large pot over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Drain any extra fat from the chorizo.
2. Add chicken stock, diced or mashed potatoes and pumpkin puree. Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes.
3. Add cream and simmer 10 more minutes, season to taste with salt.
4. Remove from heat and carefully blend in small batches in a blender until smooth, only filling blender cup half full for each batch.
5. While soup is simmering, make croutons: Heat oven to 375°. Toss bread cubes, olive oil, chile powder, and salt in a bowl until bread is thoroughly coated with the oil and spices.
6. Spread the bread cubes out on a sheet pan and bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy.
7. To serve the soup, pour into warm bowls and garnish with the croutons, chopped cilantro and a drizzle of sour cream or crème fraiche.
Click on page 2 for Turkey Enchiladas Suizas; page 3 for Sweet Potato and Cranberry Capirotada
Turkey Enchiladas Suizas
1 pound tomatillos
1 medium white onion, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 jalapenos with stems removed
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
Salt to taste
12 corn tortillas
½ cup olive oil
1 pound cooked turkey, shredded
2 cups grated Chihuahua cheese (Monterey jack may be substituted)
Chopped white onion for garnish
Chopped cilantro for garnish
- 1. Heat oven to 400°. Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth. Heat ½ cup olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the tomatillo mixture. Simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add heavy cream and sour cream and simmer an additional 15 minutes, seasoning with salt to taste.
3. Heat another ½ cup olive oil in a frying pan, pass each tortilla through the oil briefly, just until it is soft. Set on paper towels to drain excess oil.
4. Fill each tortilla with ¼ cup of the chicken and a little Chihuahua cheese. Roll up and place in a large casserole. Repeat with remaining tortillas, turkey and Chihuahua cheese.
5. Cover the tortillas with the tomatillo sauce and remaining Chihuahua cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.
6. Remove from oven and top with onion and cilantro. Serve warm.
Sweet Potato and Cranberry Capirotada
A capirotada is the Mexican version of bread pudding. It is typically served as a dessert but the addition of cheese makes it a great brunch dish.
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed, or piloncillo, chopped
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons sherry
2 sticks canela (Mexican cinnamon); regular cinnamon sticks may be substituted
1 whole clove
1 teaspoon anise seeds
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, plus more for garnish
½ cup fresh cranberries
2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted, peeled and sliced
½ cup heavy cream
1 loaf brioche or challah bread, preferably day old
1 stick butter
4 ounces queso fresco or cream cheese, chilled and crumbled
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar or piloncillo, water, sherry, cinnamon, clove and anise seeds and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 10 minutes, until slightly reduced.
2. Strain sugar syrup and set aside until cooled; add heavy cream.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 2-qt. casserole or soufflé dish. Trim crusts from bread and slice into ½" thick slices.
4. Melt about 5 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bread slices and cook until golden brown and crisp, adding more butter if necessary.
5. Melt the remaining butter.
6. Arrange 1/3 of the bread in the bottom of the casserole, sprinkle 1/2 of the sliced almonds, 1/2 of the cranberries, and layer 1/2 of the sliced sweet potatoes; sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese and then drizzle with half of the syrup mixture.
7. Repeat using the same method and then end with one more layer of bread, alternating slices to cover empty spaces. Pour remaining melted butter over the top.
8. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
9. Remove from oven and set aside for 15 minutes.
10. While pudding is setting, whip cream to form soft peaks, fold in powdered sugar, orange zest and ginger.
11. Cut pudding into squares and serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted almonds.