Comida Corrida: The Big Mexican Meal
- Sopas y Caldos
Comida corrida starts with soups (sopas) or broths (caldos). Mexicans are great soup makers. One reason is their method of boiling or poaching all meat as at least a first
step in the process of meat preparation. As a result, good homemade stock is always available. These aromatic broths can be turned into a delicious soup by simply adding a dollop of guacamole (,em>sopa de aguacate), stirring in some sauteed julienne
of squash blossoms (for sopa de flor de calabaza), or by whisking hot stock into a spicy paste made from chiles, garlic, tomato, onion, and cilantro, and topping the soup with a wedge of lime. There are endless variations on the simple broth-based soup. Heartier soups are also common. Posole is hominy stewed with meat, usually pork or
pig`s feet, and vegetables, finished with various fresh garnishes like avocado, lettuce, raw onion or chile, and limes. Sopa verde is a fish soup wherein vegetables and fish are boiled together, puréed, and whisked into a paste of poblano, cilantro, and garlic, and finished with whole shrimp. Black bean and tortilla soups are more well-known Mexican soups. Accompanying this course, and all those following, up to dessert, is a
non-stop supply of fresh tortillas.
The second course is called sopa seca, or dry soup. This is most often a pasta course, such as linguine with roasted garlic, roasted chipotle chiles, or wild mushrooms and tomatillos. It could also be a spiced rice dish, a rice and bean casserole,
or tortillas cooked in broth.
The main course of the comida corrida is the plato fuerta. Most often this course is a meat served with one or two vegetables. In the northern states, you might eat a steak marinated in a paste of cumin, chile, and garlic, then seared in a cast iron skillet. Further south, one of many complex and amazing mole sauces might grace your
chicken, or even seafood. Pork loin pairs with guava and plum sauce. Further south still, lobster is matched with tamarind sauce, or a seafood taco is filled with pomegranate seeds. The main course
usually closes with beans.
Dessert is usually a fruit or custard served with coffee. Chocolateis of course indigenous, but is used in main courses as much or perhaps more than in confections. Local homemade sorbets are
frozen freshness made from mangoes, figs, or limes. Churros are a popular deep-fried dessert fritter that is shaped like a flute. Bunelos are also fritters, traditionally eaten at Christmas. To make bunelos, a yeasted dough with a hint of
anise is deep-fried then drenched in a syrup of brown sugar, cinnamon, and guava. Flan is perhaps the most well-known Mexican dessert. It is a simple caramelized egg custard that has many variations.
No alcohol, except an occasional beer, is drunk with comida corrida. This doesn`t mean that Mexicans are a teetotalling bunch. It is amazing how many recipes (such as menudo, the famous tripe soup) are described as having miraculous powers
to banish a hangover. Beer and tequila are local favorites.