Cooking Like A Mexican

Discada Borracha
BY: ALEJANDRA SARACHAGA

Changes in society impacts the gastronomy of countries. The great social and political changes, such as the Mexican Revolution, not only changed the social organization, but also changed some culinary traditions or rescued ancient ones.

The Mexican revolution definitely changed the face of our country. 100 years after Mexico gained independence from Spain, the majority of people were still living in extreme poverty and conditions were most difficult. To this was added the rigid and repressive political environment of President Porfirio Diaz, who had been 30 years in power. So the people, tired of all the corruption injustice and hunger; took up arms to end his rule.

Some Mexican cuisine dishes are very yummy today, but there was a time and under certain circumstances in which those dishes did not seem so exquisite.

During this stage, the diet was not as varied as we enjoy today, it was a more limited diet, which was based on corn and chili.

This was mainly due to shortage of food as a result of the civil war.

However, the hunger that existed in the country resulted in the creation of an improvised and creative cuisine, making it very important to learn to manage the limited resources that were available.

 

The revolutionary groups were divided into two: The informal or improvised that were called "La Bola" (The Rabble), which only had a few rifles and occasionally an old rusted cannon. With these weapons, they roamed throughout the country and survived on the food they got from some residents along their way, often by force, and other times for charity and sympathy. But help for these revolutionaries not always came, and that was when they stole food from farmers and townspeople. La Bola often did not have time to sit down to eat, preferring to eat while walking. So they took to munching handmade tortillas with amaranth to prevent them from spoiling.

When there was meat available, they often ate it raw and unsalted because they did not have time to roast. And when there was no meat, their diet was reduced to pinole (ground corn).

The second fighting group was formed by the military troops that were much more formal and well armed, organized by a self-appointed general or elected by the group.

In addition to the famous forces of Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza over a thousand men fought against rebel bands. But these great troops would not have survived the war without the help of the “soldaderas”. Soldaderas or Adelitas were a group of women accompanying the troops whose job was to feed, and generally take care of all the men’s needs. Those faithful and heroic women faced the same enemy with weapons and cooked food for all soldiers.

The troops continued this fight for ten years, which led, of course, to changes in eating habits. The ingredients were those which were available during the campaign and the recipes were adjusted toward availability.

They carried corn, which was milled and mixed in a stone metate (like a flat mortar) to produce tortillas, which were then cooked on a griddle. They also carried a substantial endowment of beans and chiles. These women carried with them a collection of spices and basic utensils for culinary operations. Pots, griddles and even the metates were part of the burden of these women, who often traveled by rail as this had by this time been taken and was controlled by the revolutionaries. Their homes were a military camp one day, the next day in a mountain cave and then some corner in a town. From their makeshift kitchens in any territory seized by troops.

During the Mexican revolution not all people ate the same, since the rank and social status determined what kind of food will be on their table. For example, to be a general meant eating as a king, and being a revolutionary or a peasant often meant having nothing to eat.

Another factor that depended on the type of diet of the Mexican revolutionary was the region to which they belonged. Mexican food is very regional, and it was not the same in the northern part of the territory than in the south where the diet was reduced, which consisted of tacos some types of insects, and some other snacks like quesadillas made with corn as it is known in Spanish as sopes and gorditas.

In the north, the staple food were traditional dishes such as tamales and chili sauces which were other important parts of the diet, but also they invented new dishes, such as the famous discada, so typical of the north, which is a combination of meat, which in those days must have been a very risky combination. The discada was cooked in a plow disc. This is where it takes its name from, found while marching into fields. The women saw in these discs the perfect vessel for cooking large amounts of food because its thickness This would be in Mexico the predecessor of the pan. And in many homes still today they are used to prepare this dish. Nothing has changed in over 100 years. To warm it today you can either use wood or gas. It is very similar to the method used for paella (traditional Spanish dish)

Maybe you'd like to make a different barbecue for friends and family one weekend. This option is fun, delicious and very original.

Today's recipe is called Discada Borracha because it contains tequila, an ingredient that of course the revolutionaries were never short of.

 

Ingredients for 4 people:

2 pounds beef (to taste, I suggest steak)

1 package of bacon

2 pieces of fresh sausage (not the dry type),

4 tomatoes (chopped, the end has not even noticed that tomato)

Pepper (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

Garlic (to taste)

2 large onions (chopped to taste size)

5 jalapeno peppers (or other chili pepper of your preference),

2 bottles of dark beer,

1 normal size glass of tequila, or ¼ of the bottle

corn tortillas.

 

Method:

If you do not have a plow disc specifically, you can use a large thick skillet. Heat it with wood, or coal. (Ok, Ok, you can use your brought propane barbecue that you just bought. –sigh-)

When it is real hot cook the bacon until all the fat release, when it is well fried, add the “chorizo” (sausage), when the sausage is cooked add the beef.

Let it cook for a moment and then added the 2 beers and the tequila.

At this point the casserole or dish contains less liquid. Now, we wait and let this be consumed in meat flavor.

When the liquid is already almost over, then add the vegetables (tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic) and salt and pepper).

It is cooked to taste, I say this because it can be dry or slightly moist. As you like.

Note: In some parts of Mexico it is customary to make different types of meat in the same dish, so feel free to mix or do with what you have at home. In times of revolution, they did sometimes with deer, rabbit and beef. Or just beef, depends on what you have on hand.