the wonderful world of veena.

06 January 2014

mommy mush: a new take on an old recipe.

"Mommy Mush" is a dish my mother has been making since I was in high school. Someone gave her a recipe for some south of the border something-or-other, she added a few of her own touches to it, and voila, a household dish is born. We didn't really have a name for it until I went to college, when Maggie Goodman dubbed it Mommy Mush, and the name just kind of stuck.

I've made it a few times in the last few years - most recently just a few weeks ago - and I've just about got it down. I thought I would share the process on here, in case anyone out there is interested in trying it out for themselves.

A small warning: I decided to take pictures after I'd already begun the process, so they sort of start in the middle of the whole thing. Sorry 'bout that.

What you'll need:
makes enough to feed 7-10 people [we don't really do small portions in my household :)]
-2 lbs. of ground beef chuck
-2 bags of Uncle Ben's Boil-in-a-Bag plain rice [1 box contains 4 bags]
-2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained [we prefer Green Giant in our house]
-1 can of extra hot rotel
-1 can of Mexican rotel
-1 can of tomato soup [we are partial to Campbell's]
-8 oz of Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes [get the Mexican cheese if you can find it for some added spice; otherwise the regular Velveeta cheddar is fine. I would like to try it with the white queso and jalapeno Velveeta one day, but I'm not sure how my parents would react]
-1/2 a large red onion, chopped
-2 tbsp green chillies, chopped
-1 tbsp garlic, chopped
-2 tsp ginger, grated
-chopped coriander [cilantro] to garnish

To begin, cook the beef as you normally would, stirring occasionally, and drain the grease once it's finished. Leave to cool.

While the beef is cooking, fill a 5- or 7-quart pot [your choice] 2/3 full and drop in the 2 bags of rice, still sealed. Bring to a boil and cook for 5-7 minutes. Pour out water and let rice cool, still sealed.

In the meantime, go ahead and chop the onions, green chillies, and garlic, and peel the ginger.

When the pot cools a bit, saute the onions and ginger on medium heat [our little trick is to grate the ginger over the onions before we put them in the pot to save ourselves having our hands over the heat for too long. I added my own trick and put in just a pinch of red chilly powder over the onions and garlic]. Stir occasionally.

Once the onions are a light brown colour, add in the green chillies and garlic. Let those mix in for a few minutes -- and throw in another small pinch of red chilly powder, if you're so inclined. Keep on medium heat.

After letting those mix together for a few minutes, reduce the heat and add in the beef and stir. Cut open the bags of rice and add them to the mixture, and then add in the corn, both cans of rotel, and the can of tomato soup. Fill the soup can with water and swish around a bit and pour in also [just watch out for those sharp rims! I got myself a nice slice on my finger the last time I made it...]. optional: add in a 1/2 tsp of red chilly powder here, if you want to make it a little spicier. Mix well, leave on low-to-medium heat, and cover, stirring occasionally.

After about 7-10 minutes, add the cheese. Mix well and cover, again stirring occasionally.

Once the cheese melts, it's ready to serve. Usually takes about 10 minutes, depending on how low or high you have your heat. Garnish with coriander and dish it up.

It's a personal choice, but we like to add a small dollop of sour cream once we have it in our bowls to add to the taste. Also, a lot of people like to scoop it up with Fritos, although I usually pass on that one. It's up to you. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.

Bon appetit!

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