Holy Week in Mexico
Easter is a big holiday in Mexico, filled with religious and cultural festivals, Carnival, a burning of Judas in effigy, good food, and friendly interactions among people. I do not think you can be lonely in Mexico during Easter week from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. Besides celebrating residents, many travelers come to Mexican cities during this week.
The Easter Bunny and egg hunts take place in grocery stores near the Mexican/U.S. Border, but several other activities fill the rest of the country during this busy and happy time. Many delicious foods are also available, and this article offers recipes for several that I have collected.
Cabrito (Young Roasted Lamb or Goat) Recipe
This is a young roasted lamb, or more traditionally, a young roasted goat.
- 2 baby goats around 7 pounds each
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 cups guacamole
- 3 tablespoons sweet white onion, chopped
- 1 cup diced tomato
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 3 chile serranos, seeded and chopped
- 1 recipe mashed refried beans
- 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 16 crisp fried tortilla wedges
- Put goats in a large pot, cover with water, add salt and vinegar. Set aside to soak for 2 hours.
- Outside, build a stack of mesquite wood and burn down to white coals.
- Remove goats from water bath and place onto grill spits.
- Arrange goats/spits over hot coals, and roast 2 - 3 hours, basting about every 30 minutes with salted water.
- Turn spits continuously.
- To serve, cut meat into pieces, and place on plates.
- Garnish with guacamole, onion, tomato, cilantro, and chiles.
- Serve with the beans and cheese on top—melt under a broiler if desired.
TexMex Flavors: Texas Goat Sauce/Gravy
Note: Yields 7 cups.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium-sized sweet onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 (32-ounce) bottle ketchup
- 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 2 cups black coffee
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 lemon, cut in halves
- 6 tablespoons chili powder
- 3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot, then add onions and garlic. Sauté until just tender.
- Whisk ketchup and mustard in a large bowl and add to the pot and stir.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir (Squeeze juice from lemons).
- Simmer over low heat 60 minutes and serve.
- Refrigerate unused sauce for up to 30 days.
Grilled Cilantro Chipotle Lamb Chops for 8
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 8 garlic cloves
- 4 scallions or shallots
- Jalapeño peppers, seeded
- 16 loin lamb chops, about 1.5 – 2 inches thick (2 per person)
- Hickory wood chips
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons cracked pepper
- Chipotle oil and cilantro oil – purchase oils or soak herbs in a small amount of oil for several days prior to using.
- Fresh cilantro or mint leaves for garnish
- Puree first 5 ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Arrange chops in a large glass baking dish.
- Pour oil mixture from Step One evenly over chops, cover and chill 2 hours, turning occasionally.
- Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes.
- Remove chops from marinade; discard marinade.
- Sprinkle chops evenly with the salt and pepper.
- Prepare fire in the outdoor grill with charcoal and wood chips; light fire and allow fire to burn until coals glow evenly.
- Place food rack on the grill and arrange chops. Grill, covered with grill lid for 6 - 8 minutes on each side or to the desired level of doneness.
- Drizzle with Chipotle and Cilantro Oils and garnish.
Mexican Bread Pudding for 6
This is served quite often during Lent and especially on Easter.
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 6 slices of toasted white bread
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2 baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- Light cream to pour over the top at the table.
- In a medium-sized pot, mix water, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
- Bring pot to the boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the butter until well melted.
- Cut the toasted bread into 1-inch squares and fold the squares around raisins and nuts and pop into the pot.
- Place half of the mixture in an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
- Top pudding with apple slices, then layer on the remaining toast mix.
- Securely cover the dish with foil and bake at 350° F for 20 minutes.
- Uncover the dish and sprinkle on the Monterey Jack cheese.
- Bake uncovered another 20 minutes or until apples are tender.
- Serve warm drizzled with milk, cream, or a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.
Mexican Easter Cheese
Many ethnic cuisines have their own version of Easter Cheese and this is the Mexican traditional method of making it. It contains nutmeg, whereas the Polish version does not. every variety of this cheese is good and does not take long to make, as far as cheeses go.
- 12 eggs (1 dozen)
- 4 cups whole milk (1 quart carton)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
- Beat eggs until light yellow and smooth.
- Pour beaten eggs into a double boiler and stir in milk, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.
- Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, constantly stir the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent burning.
- When the eggs look exactly like completed scrambled eggs, pour the mixture carefully into a cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl.
- Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and pull them together until the cheese makes a ball.
- Tie the cheesecloth tightly at the very top of the ball and tie cheesecloth ends over a faucet or a hook or cabinet handle over the bowl to drain for about 3 hours.
- Release the cheesecloth ties, but keep the cloth on the ball and wrap in plastic wrap and then refrigerate.
- Slice the ball into individual portions when ready to serve and use it up within a week.
Agua de Melon (Water and Melon Beverage)
- 1 ripe cantaloupe or honeydew peeled, seeded and diced
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Scoop out and mash the melon by hand.
- Place melon pulp in a pitcher and add the water and the sugar.
- Stir vigorously until sugar is dissolved.
You can probably use any ripe melon in this recipe, such as muskmelon or even red or yellow watermelon.
You might want to try some lemon or lime juice in any of these drinks.
Holy Week Fruit Ices
Traditionally, ice was brought down from the mountains of Mexico to celebrate Easter Week with frozen desserts; and to mark the beginning of spring. An easy version follows:
- 2 cups peeled fresh fruit: pineapple, papayas, strawberries and other berries, or a combination.
- 3 tablespoons super-fine sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Puree fruit roughly, not too smooth.
- In a medium bowl, combine fruit, sugar, and lime juice.
- Taste and adjust sugar and lime juice amounts.
- Stir until sugar dissolves and fill frozen pop molds or small bowls, leaving about 1/4 inch for expansion of the fruit mixture as it freezes.
- Set lids and insert pop sticks into the pop molds if you are using them.
- Freeze everything until solid - about 2 hours.
© 2009 Patty Inglish MS