Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dinner from Ecuador - with Chocolate Mousse

Guacamole and Sausage Cheese Dip.

One of my friends recently returned from a trip to Ecuador and hosted us at her house for dinner. In addition to the soup she made we also other friends. Recipes are below - the sausage cheese dip really benefited from the use of chevre (fresh goat cheese) in lieu of the cream cheese.

Lorco de Papas - soup from Ecuador.

Chocolate Mousse.

Sausage and Cheese Dip
8 oz block of cream cheese - I used chevre
1 can tomatoes and green chiles (aka Rotel), drained - I used Muir Glen
1 lb breakfast sausage, browned and drained - I used fresh chorizo

Brown the sausage on the stove, and drain on paper towels.

Unwrap the cream cheese, and put it into your crockpot. Chop up the sausage and add on top. Drain the Rotel, and add it.

Cover and cook on low for about 90 minutes, or on high for 45. Stir well and eat with tortilla chips. You can also melt slowly on the stovetop.

Locro de papas soup
  • 2 teaspoons annatto (achiote) seeds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 lb russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • Rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 1/2 oz queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese) or ricotta salata, coarsely grated (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 (6- to 7-oz) firm-ripe avocados
  • Heat annatto seeds and oil in a very small saucepan over low heat, swirling pan frequently, until oil is bright red-orange and starts to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch pieces.
  • Pour annatto oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide 7- to 8-quart heavy pot, discarding solids. Cook onion and half of potatoes (reserve remaining potatoes in a bowl of cold water) in annatto oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add cumin, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add water (7 cups) and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes, then mash into broth. Drain remaining potatoes and add to stew, then simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in milk and cheese and increase heat to high, then bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, quarter avocados lengthwise, then pit, peel, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Serve stew in large soup bowls, topped with avocado.

Super Simple Chocolate Mousse
If you prefer to melt your chocolate in the microwave, by all means do so. I prefer this gentle method because it doesn’t matter if I get side tracked and forget about
my chocolate for a while.

100g (3oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small chunks
300mL ( 10 fl oz) whipping cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place about 2cm (1in) boiling water in the base of a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat. Place a heatproof bowl on the saucepan and check to make sure that the base isn’t touching the water. Add the chocolate and leave for about 5 minutes to melt, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whip cream with icing sugar and vanilla until soft and fluffy. You don’t want it to be too firm.

Stir the chocolate and when it is all smooth add chocolate to the cream and fold through. Divide between 4 small glasses or espresso cups and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.