I learned to say smurf in Spanish this week, and I think it will come in handy on the first day of class this year.

When used as a verb, the word “Smurf” typically means “to make,” “to be,” “to laugh,” or “to do.” When a word is replaced in a statement, that same replacement is made in every repetition of it, even by other Smurfs: as an example, the statement “A dragon that breathes fire” becomes “A smurf that smurfs smurf”, no matter which Smurf says it. -wikipedia

In the mean time, I am the kitchen pitufa.

I made one of our favorite dishes from The Liberty Bar. It has a whole cone of piloncillo. This is a solid cone of dried sugar cane juice that has been used in Mexico since pre-colonial times.

It is widely available here in Texas, usually kept near the dried chiles in the produce section of the grocery store. I always wondered why it was kept there, and I am thinking now it has something to do with how well its sweet caramel flavor goes with hot spices.

This dish is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy and creamy. It is very easy, just needs a little planning ahead. You can serve it the way the Liberty Bar does, with grilled house made slices of bread, or with crackers, or warm pita. We used the whole grain bread from my last post.

The recipe says it serves 10-12, so invite your friends. Or, keep it in the fridge a few days, it will do fine. I changed the recipe from the one I found online, as I wanted to use more goat cheese than cream cheese.

This recipe is so simple, but each ingredient is so interesting! Chipotles and Moritas are smoked and dried jalapenos, which are then canned in a spicy tomato sauce, known as Chipotles en Adobo. Chipotles were green in their early life, while Moritas were red. You only need a little for this dish, so think of something else you might do with these chiles (I am sure they would be great with grilled things).

There are two parts: first make the cheese mixture ahead of time, then make the sauce. You dont want the sauce to be super hot when you pour it over the cheese, but warm is fine. You could also make it ahead of time, and then just warm it up. To eat, take a piece of bread, and slather it with cheese and sauce.

Goat Cheese with Chile Morita and Piloncillo Sauce

Inspired by the Liberty Bar in San Antonio, Texas

Ingredients for the cheese spread

  • 10 ounces Goat Cheese (room temperature)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and mashed with 1/4 tsp of salt (I used my molcajete and added the chiles too)
  • 1 tsp chile morita paste or minced canned chiles en adobo

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon chile morita paste or minced canned chiles en adobo
  • 8 ounces piloncillo
  • 1 cup (8 ounces carton) heavy cream

Instructions:

1. Make the cheese a few hours before you plan to serve, or the day before is fine too. Put the cheeses, minced garlic, salt and chiles in a deep mixing bowl. Use a hand held mixer or potato masher to completely mix the ingredients until everything is a nice pale orange color. Pack this into a small bowl lined with parchment, or a spring form cake pan (I used a 4×3 inch one), or whatever small dish you can line that will make it deep enough a block of cheese. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

2. Make the sauce by heating the cream, chiles, and piloncillo on low or simmer (depending on your stove, I have a gas range and left it on “min” the whole time). The piloncillo will slowly dissolve and can be broken apart as it melts (don’t worry, it will melt). This takes 20-25 minutes, and you need to stir pretty often to help it along. The mixture might foam and bubble, but it shouldn’t boil if your heat is low enough. When everything is dissolved the sauce will be a thick caramel color. Taste the sauce.  If it seems too spicy, strain it and remove the chiles before serving.

3. Let the sauce cool.  Turn out the cheese block onto a serving dish. I used a pie plate because I wanted all the sauce to pool around it. You can reserve some sauce for later, but it is meant to be eaten with almost equal parts sauce to cheese.

We actually just had a few slices of bread with this, a nice big salad, and that was dinner last night. It is very rich, and probably should be shared by many! So stop smurfing around and get some piloncillo.

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