Wake up your taste buds with an ethnic breakfast

Breakfasts are probably the most memorable of all travel meals because they can be so strikingly different from what we have at home. Spaniards enjoy strong cafe con leche with fresh rolls and jamon ham and local cheeses. Irish breakfasts are often a heaping plate of bacon rashers, eggs, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes and brown soda bread.

France offers simple baguettes or croissants with butter, jams and cheeses and strong coffee. A traditional German breakfast consists of cold cuts, fresh bread, , jam, hard boiled eggs and great coffee.

Use ideas from your vacation to create interesting brunches at home.

Chipotle Chilaquiles

This classic Mexican breakfast uses leftover corn tortillas, chicken and tomato sauce. If you are in a hurry or don’t have any leftover corn tortillas, use taco chips or the pre-fried purchased tostada rounds and heap on the sauce and toppings.

  • 24 oz. can whole tomatoes 750 mL
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil 22 mL
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock 375 mL
  • salt
  • 6 – 8 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil 60 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded chicken 375 mL
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese 60 mL
  • 1/3 c. sour cream 75 mL
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro leaves 60 mL
  • chopped fresh tomatoes, sliced avocado, optional

Cut tortillas into eight to 10 pieces. Heat oil in a heavy pan and fry the pieces until they are crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
In a blender, combine the tomatoes and chipotles, then blend until almost smooth.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add two-thirds of the onion and cook over moderately high heat until browned around the edges, about six minutes.
Add garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the tomato puree and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about minutes. Stir in the stock and boil the sauce over moderately high heat until slightly thickened. Season with salt and remove from the heat.
Gently stir fry tortillas into the sauce, making sure they are well coated. Top with remaining onion, shredded chicken and Parmesan cheese.
Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately with chopped tomatoes and sliced avocados.

Grillades and Grits

You don’t have to travel far to find ethnic food. This breakfast is from Louisiana. The less expensive cuts of round steak or pork are usually used.
This dish comes from meager times when a piece of meat needed to be stretched to feed the family.

  • 2 lb. round steak 1 kg
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt 10 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c. flour 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. Creole seasoning 30 mL
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil 45 mL
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter 45 mL
  • 2 medium onions, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 ribs celery, julienned
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 c. beef stock 500 mL
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 45 mL
  • 2 c. tomatoes, chopped 500 mL
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. parsley, chopped 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. green onions, thinly sliced on the bias 125 mL
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grits made according to package instructions

Pound the steak on both sides to about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thickness, then cut into four-inch (10 cm) squares. Season the grillades with salt and cayenne pepper.
Combine flour and Creole seasoning, dip grillades one at a time into seasoned flour and shake off any excess. In a cast iron Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until hot, but not smoking.
Brown grillades well on both sides without burning. Transfer the grillades to a plate. Drain the vegetable oil and melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic.

Stirring frequently, cook until the vegetables are soft but not brown.
Stir in beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Return grillades and accumulated juice from the plate back to the pot. Submerge grillades in sauce and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender.
Stir in parsley, 1/4 cup (60 mL) green onions, red wine vinegar, hot sauce and salt and pepper.
Mound grits on four heated plates and divide steaks on top of the grits. Pour sauce over grillades and grits, top with the remaining green onions and serve immediately. Serves four. Source: Adapted from New Orleans Cuisine.

Pho Bo

This beef soup is served throughout Vietnam with regional variations. Once the stock is made, this dish is easy to make. Grocery stores now have pho broth for sale alongside other soup stocks but don’t substitute regular basil if you cannot find Thai basil. Fresh mint is a better choice.

  • 4 lb. beef soup bones 2 kg
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and cut in half
  • 5 slices fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. salt 15 mL
  • 2 pods star anise
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce 37 mL
  • 4 qt. water 1 L
  • 8 oz. pkg. dried rice noodles 250 g
  • 1 1/2 lb. beef top sirloin, thinly sliced 750 g
  • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chopped green onion 15 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. bean sprouts 375 mL
  • 1 bunch Thai basil
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1/4 c. hoisin sauce, optional 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. chili garlic sauce such as Sriracha, optional 60 mL

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).Place beef bones and onion on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven until browned, about 45 minutes to one hour.
Place bones, onion, ginger, salt, star anise and fish sauce in a large stockpot and cover with four quarts (4 L) of water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for six to 10 hours. Strain the broth into a saucepan and set aside.
Place rice noodles in large bowl filled with room temperature water and allow to soak for one hour. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and after the noodles have soaked, place them in the boiling water and drain.
Bring stock to a simmer.
Divide noodles among four serving bowls and top with uncooked sirloin, cilantro and green onion. Sirloin is easier to slice thinly if it is partially frozen.
Pour hot broth over all. Stir and let sit until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, about two minutes. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce and chili garlic sauce on the side.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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