Anyone who really knows me, knows that Mexican food comes close to being my favorite cuisine, although always debatable, depending what kind of flavor I am craving! But I probably get cravings for Mexican more often!
I have spent a good part of my life in Mexico, more in Baja California, but some in Acapulco and Oaxaca (pronounced ‘Wahaca’ don’t you know). I like the food from all coasts. Usually, the food that stands out in my memory, is the seafood, whether it be in the Baja Canteenas, or the outdoor restaurants in the squares of Cozumel! There was also a wonderful beachside restaurant at the far end of Cozumel, that wa always quiet and deserted. I used to jump in a Jeep wrangler and drive past the busy Playa Del Sol and go for some peace and fresh fish there!
This particular dish, is really something I would eat in a place that has a winter climate, rather than on a hot day in Mexico, where we would take our cold beer and stand in the ocean and chat, as it was too hot to do anything else!!! We maybe would have it as a sharing appetiser, but in a location where you would see a cold day, this is perfect for supper!!! It brings the sunshine in and is stomach warming!! I would serve it any time of the year, as a heavy hor d’oeuvres for a party!
WINE NOTE: Barbera is an Italian wine from the Piemonte region. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is full bodied and high in acid and tannins. It has red fruit and floral flavours, allowing it to handle the spices while the acidity balances with the tomatoes
Chipote chile sauce
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
3 cloves garlic
Leaves of 2 sprigs of oregano
Leaves of 1 sprig thyme
1 dried pasilla chile, stem removed
28 oz / 800g canned tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 white onion thinly sliced (if in UK use 2 onions)
2 tsp chipotle paste- or more to taste
1 cup /250ml chicken stock
Combine the cumin, coriander, garlic, oregano leaves and thyme leaves in a mortar or spice grinder and grind until coarse.
Tear the dried chile into large pieces and place in a dry large skillet on high heat and toast for 3 minutes. Throw into the tomatoes to infuse.
Heat the skillet over medium to high heat and add oil. Put the onion in the skillet and saute stirring frequently until lightly browned, approximately 10 minutes. Add the ground spices and cook stirring, for another 3 minutes. Combine with the tomatoes & salt in a large bowl.
Use a hand blender to to puree, adding chicken stock gradually to create a smooth sauce.
Pour into the crockpot / slow cooker on a low heat.
Combine the peppercorns, allspice, cumin, coriander and oregano in a mortar or spice grinder and grind until a fine powder.
Place the meat in a large bowl and mix in the egg.
Add the spices, salt, onion, garlic and crackers (or breadcrumbs) and mix well.
Use your hands to form the mixture into meatballs, approximately 2 inches.
Heat a skillet on mediu heat and put in the oil. Brown the meatballs turning them , for 6-8 minutes.
Place the meatballs in the crockpot, stirring gently into the sauce and cook for 6-8 hours.
Serve over rice and beans with a spprinkling of cilantro (fresh coriander).