Yes, Mexican meatballs and pretty succulent ones at that. Diana Kennedy is this week's focus from the group cooking their way through the 50 Best Female-Game Changers in Food (according to Gourmet). Diana Kennedy is #45 of Gourmet's list.
Diana Kennedy is often called a "Mexican Food Anthropologist." That terms just rings so true for her and for so many people who seek out more than recipes, more than ingredients but also want to see the techniques involved in the cooking - the history of the recipes. Kennedy is widely acclaimed for her searching out recipes from home cooks in the smallest villages of Mexico. She is also known for her slightly acid tongue.
A recollection from Rick Bayless from David Kamp's 2006 book, "United States of Arugula," about meeting Kennedy for the first time.
"She did everything but just chew me up and spit me out. I'd never been so poorly treated by any person. She said, 'This is over, I think we're done,' and kicked me out of her car and left me on the road. I had to walk back to town."
In his article on Diana Kennedy, William Booth likens Kennedy to a pickled pepper or better yet a chili habenero! Read his delightful article on her here.
Hailed as "the Julia Child of Mexican cooking," Kennedy moved to Mexico from the United Kingdom in 1957. She lived there with her husband who was a foreign correspondent for the NY Times until 1966. During that time, she started gathering information on Mexican cooking. Later, after her husband died (and with the encouragement of Craig Claiborne, NY Times restaurant and food critic), Kennedy began cooking lessons in Mexican cuisine and creating her book The Essential Cuisines of Mexico which is now a classic. Published in 1972, it opened a lot of eyes and discoveries that Mexican Cuisine is not all about the taco! She currently resides in Mexico where she has spent 45 years perfecting her knowledge of Mexican food, ingredients and techniques. Read more about this fascinating woman here. I only served you an amuse bouche!
In researching Diana Kennedy, I found many of her recipes on blogs. This Mexican meatball recipe is from The Wednesday Chef. It seems that when people search for authentic Mexican cuisine, they are directed to Kennedy's recipes.
This is the real deal - the sauce is all tomatoes with some smokey-spicy chipotles in adobo sauce. The meatballs are tender having braised in the sauce for almost an hour (you don't brown them first - I wanted to - I am so used to doing that). Hints of cumin and oregano jazz up the beef-pork mixture. And it's lightened with minced zucchini that absorbs all the flavors.
The recipe made 32 meatballs - which made for a very happy husband. I probably didn't need to make the brown rice as a filler for him! I changed nothing in the recipe (except for using my oregano and not Mexican oregano). Because I scrupulously followed the recipe, I am going to send you to Luisa's luscious blog The Wednesday Chef for the recipe. I am betting most of you know her blog and if you don't - you will like it.
I'm not giving up on my Italian meatballs but this was a fun turnabout.
Meanwhile, the lilacs have bloomed in the Twin Cities. It's a month early but I will take what I can get. They grace my home outside...
And inside. Happy Spring! And spring brings artichokes which will be Sunday's Small Bites.
Check out the other bloggers dipping into Mexican exquisite cuisine this week.If it's as good as the meatballs, you could have a delicious read.
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds,
Linda A - There and Back Again,