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Huitlacoche stuffing

Veggo Nov 22, 2010 08:03 AM

Roy Burns in Groveland, FL, is the largest grower of huitlacoche in the US (11,000 pounds this year) and he just called me out of the blue and invited me to drive up tomorrow, about 2 hours, so he can give me some. Fresh. I always do chestnut & oyster dressing, but I think I have a chance to do the only turkey in America stuffed with fresh huitlacoche. I am exploding with enthusiasm but would welcome ideas about a huitlacoche stuffing recipe. This is new territory, so someone help me wing it?

  1. todao Nov 22, 2010 08:40 AM

    Huitlacoche stuffing should, IMO, be well seasoned with garlic and chili peppers (I might choose chopped green chilis) and in quantities large enough to fill the cavity of a turkey you might find it to be a somewhat overwhelming addition to the meal. Wondering if using it as an ingredient in a more traditional stuffing (corn bread stuffing?) might be more successful. Congratulations on having the courage to venture into this experimental project. Let us now how it turns out.

    1. Gio Nov 22, 2010 08:49 AM

      Right off the top I'm thinking: poblanos, garlic, epizote leaves... and I like Todao's suggestion of cornbread. Perhaps a bit of jalepeno mixed in. Pintos too? Chopped onions. I'll keep thinking...

      ETA: There's mention on the net of turkey stuffed with huitlacoche and sweet plantains but haven't found the recipe yet. You can probably plot that out yourself, yes?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gio
        Gio Nov 22, 2010 09:10 AM

        Would additions of chopped mushrooms and corn kernels be acceptable? Oh, and cheese... Finally, there's this:

      2. Gio Nov 22, 2010 09:01 AM

        Veggo, I should have said how exciting this project is and Congratulations indeed.
        I know you can do this! Can't wait to hear the result.

        1. Veggo Nov 22, 2010 11:12 AM

          Thank you both for suggestions. You have me leaning toward a mixture with poblano rajas and plaintains for a sweet-savory dimension, in a cornbread stuffing base plus the huitlacoche. Maybe some toasted pecans for texture. This will be scary looking stuff. I'll see tomorrow if Roy has some suggestions as well. I'll do it as a pan of dressing rather than stuffing in case I mess it up.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Veggo
            Gio Nov 22, 2010 03:53 PM

            Oh...pecans. I wouldn't have thought of pecans. I like the sweet/savory aspect, though. Will you do a couple of test patterns? Good Luck in any case.

            1. re: Veggo
              sbp Nov 22, 2010 04:19 PM

              I would use a bread base rather than cornbread. I understand the premise of matching corn with corn fungus, but I find cornbread lacks the structure to hold up to ingredients that do best by soaking into the base. Bread will soak up the huitlacoche flavor like a sponge and still hold some shape. I do like your other ideas. One other thing - if you grilled some corn till roasted-golden brown, then took off the cob and folded it in, you'd bring a caramelized complexity to the stuffing (you get that popcorn flavor).

            2. Veggo Nov 24, 2010 07:40 AM

              Update: I'm in huitlacoche heaven, with 2 pounds of frozen and 4 ears Roy and I ripped from cornstalks yesterday, as thick as your calf and bugling with huitlacoche. I promised not to share his proprietary processing methods, and time with Roy is like time with Ron White. He is no tobacco-spittin' farmer.
              I ate a few nodules (I don't know what they are called) on the drive home, they are about the size of the end of your thumb. Larger than my recollection in Mexico, because he waters almost constantly during the short season (he began "infecting" on Oct. 11). A very mild, mushroomy flavor.
              I made an omelette with swiss cheese and huitlacoche this morning. I cut the nodules in half and sauteed them with just butter. Their volume reduced by about 2/3's, for the moisture and air within them, and they remain very much intact. After sauteeing, their texture was half way between mushrooms and cotton candy. A very mild, absolutely unique flavor, and black as squid ink. Some would declare the emperor is wearing no clothes, others would declare it a delicacy worth chasing around the world.
              In sum, the flavor is too delicate to blend with poblanos or garlic. The pan of dressing I will make with it tomorrow will have pieces of plantains, cactus fruit, and pecans.
              My thanksgiving friends will have nothing to do with it, so they get the chestnut / oyster batch.
              Tonight's appetizer: Guiness / fine cornmeal battered huitlacoche with a cucumber dipping sauce.
              Again, I am just winging all this, and I welcome suggestions and encourage others to experiment with it.

              24 Replies
              1. re: Veggo
                Gio Nov 24, 2010 08:11 AM

                I'll be right over...

                1. re: Gio
                  mattstolz Nov 24, 2010 08:57 AM

                  im right behind.

                  seriously though, how did you get this connection? because im in Ft Laudy and have been DYING to try some high quality huitlacoche, but am never sure where to get it.

                  1. re: mattstolz
                    Veggo Nov 24, 2010 09:09 AM

                    Roy is at 352-429-4048, you will get his machine and he will return the call. Mention my name. It's a worthwhile field trip, and the only source within 1200 miles of Laudy. He doesn't market himself.

                2. re: Veggo
                  DiningDiva Nov 29, 2010 03:56 PM

                  Nothing better than the fresh stuff, that's for sure!!!
                  How did your various Thanksgiving iterations turnout. Did you use it for stuffing, or did you do something else with it?

                  1. re: DiningDiva
                    Veggo Dec 2, 2010 06:56 AM

                    The stuffing w/ oysters, chestnuts, pecans, cactus fruit, plantain, and huitlacoche was successful, in part because I didn't explain huitlacoche to others at the table, who may have spooked. They all had seconds.
                    The huitlacoche quesadilla and 2 omelettes w/ swiss cheese and huitlacoche and a thin tomato sauce were really good. The only failed experiment was the battered huitlacoche with tzatzki sauce.
                    The remainder of the fresh I cut off and froze, so I have about 3 pounds of frozen to play with.
                    I Googled a few recipes for cream of huitlacoche soup, which I will try. ( Not your gramma's cream of huit ). It is quite black, and it could be accented at plating with mexican crema Mayan glyphs from a squeeze bottle? Or stick people with cilantro leaves covering their privates? First I need to make a good soup.
                    Other ideas I have are a cream or wine reduction sauce for beef, pork, or poultry, and huitlacoche-stuffed chicken breasts.
                    Roy (the grower) had snapper stuffed w/ huitlacoche somewhere, and said it was a terrible combination. Curiously, he doesn't cook with it himself.
                    We spoke yesterday, and he mentioned Oyamel and Cafe Atlantico in DC, Jose Andres' restos, as 2 of 45 restos he supplies. Oyamel does a quesadilla w/ chihuahua cheese and Roy's "Mexican truffle".
                    I haven't found that many other recipes that include or feature it, other than tamales and enchiladas. Ideas are welcome.

                    1. re: Veggo
                      Gio Dec 2, 2010 07:10 AM

                      Veggo, I know The Two Hot Tamales (Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken) use huitlacoche in several of their recpes at their various restaurants...in fact I saw a TV presentation they did making a pizza using the fungus as a topping ingredient.

                      Here's a link to a recipe by Aaron Sanchez for huitlacoche tamales:

                      BTW: <"( Not your gramma's cream of huit )." Briliant,,,!

                      1. re: Gio
                        TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Dec 2, 2010 03:26 PM

                        I've had chicken breasts stuffed w/ huit "duxelle" done sous vide ...
                        finished w/ a pepian & once w/ a mole ... in Mexico.
                        This is worth a go.

                        1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis
                          Veggo Dec 2, 2010 03:29 PM

                          Somewhere in Polanco?
                          Edit: chicken breasts in mole stuffed with huit sounds really good.
                          Scribble scribble copious notes...

                          1. re: Veggo
                            TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Dec 3, 2010 06:16 PM

                            Yes & Oxa & QRoo.
                            A light touch works wonders here.
                            BTW ... epazote, papalo ... scored pipicha for the first time this year in a local farmers market, nice.

                            1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis
                              Veggo Dec 4, 2010 04:57 AM

                              Where in QRoo? I'll be back there soon. Gracias.

                              1. re: Veggo
                                TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Dec 5, 2010 03:13 PM

                                Cozumel ...
                                Kinta, downtown SM, a definite.
                                If seafood butters your muffin, La Perlita , a bit further out ... w/ the right timing, has you covered.
                                (BTW these next few months are prime wahoo waters)
                                Also check out the "unnamed" raw wood street grills on the back avenues, late afternoon.
                                Up for the brass din and daft antics of the unrepentant shit-faced? ...
                                then Coconuts 4u ... no really, the best caracol, really. Go figure.

                                Haven't been down to Chetumal in many years, so can't help you w/ the mainland.
                                Enjoy your trip.

                                1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis
                                  Veggo Dec 5, 2010 04:10 PM

                                  Kinta will be new for me, thanks. I used to know the food stands on 40th ave and the huaraches but I'm too lazy to walk that far now and I hang around Plaza Leza. I always enjoy Coconuts and Playa Bonita and Bob's Marley Bar on the ring road. All 3 have pretty good conch ceviche.
                                  Funny you mention Chetumal. I hosted a "Chetumal sucks" party for some friends from Belize when we took the boat back from Ambergris Caye last April, in the park across from the Chetumal police station, and it went pretty well. We drank a case of Havana Club, no police interference and we left no litter.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Dec 14, 2010 05:27 PM

                                    The Ambergris Caye cutover to Chetumal sounds interesting ...
                                    mostly because i have a tendency to always head further "south".

                                    If you're into game fishing, good plate, Nic & NE CR are worth a visit.

                                    1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis
                                      Veggo Dec 14, 2010 06:58 PM

                                      It works because there's a customs station on Ambergris Caye now. I know the areas you mention down to about Limon, but I prefer the Pacific side of Nic and Nicoya peninsula in CR for fishing - blue water is close in and likewise the tuna and billfish. But grouper and snapper on the Caribbean side from the Chinchorro reef and south is pretty good, too.

                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Dec 17, 2010 04:26 PM

                                        Limon ... reminds me of Cauhita ... good times.
                                        You want tarpon on fly for game ... the campesinos do this justice.
                                        Otherwise, the snook by-catch, is "off the ... ;-)
                                        I've had/seen down-riggers set for tuna, but never saw any mentionable take.

                                        1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis
                                          Veggo Dec 17, 2010 05:21 PM

                                          Pelagics are 80 km offshore from Cauhita, hardly worth the time and fuel. A gem to be mined from our dialog is the incredible fishing off the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. It's hard work to get there.

                                          1. re: Veggo
                                            TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Dec 18, 2010 04:20 PM

                                            Beg to disagree ...
                                            mangroves on flats with fly.

                      2. re: Veggo
                        Rubee Dec 2, 2010 03:31 PM

                        How about pasta like huitlacoche ravioli or lasagna (we had huitlacoche and queso de Oxaca ravioli on our wedding menu). I also recently had delicious huitlacoche empanadas served alongside grilled tequila shrimp at the local Four Seasons Resort.

                        1. re: Rubee
                          Veggo Dec 2, 2010 03:47 PM

                          The squid-ink blackness of it could be contained in ravioli, and could work, maybe with a cheesy bechamel, but in lasagna and other preparations where it is free to roam, it could make a whole lot of ugly. It is an interesting challenge.

                          1. re: Veggo
                            Rubee Dec 2, 2010 04:01 PM

                            Ha, right. Not very appetizing lasagna ; )

                            Pasta course on wedding menu: Huitlacoche and Oaxacan cheese ravioli with flor de calabaza puree, garnished with strips of guajillo pepper and sauteed squash blossoms.

                            1. re: Rubee
                              Veggo Dec 2, 2010 04:19 PM

                              That looks killer. But not enough to persuade me to marry. I noticed canned flor de calabeza in the market today, I should get some and tinker on a rainy day.

                              1. re: Rubee
                                DiningDiva Dec 2, 2010 05:23 PM

                                Wow Rubee, that looks fantastic. Must have been a great wedding party :-)

                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                  Rubee Dec 2, 2010 08:48 PM

                                  Thanks DiningDiva! We got married in Mexico and I was able to sit down with the chef to plan a custom menu using Mexican ingredients (the original options were a bit Americanized). He said it was just as fun for him as it was for me ; )

                                  1. re: Rubee
                                    DiningDiva Dec 2, 2010 09:31 PM

                                    Way cool, Rubee :-)

                    2. mucho gordo Nov 24, 2010 07:56 AM

                      Leftovers welcome. Address to follow.........

                      1. t
                        TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Nov 24, 2010 02:29 PM

                        Consider this as a starter instead ,,,


                        3 Replies
                        1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis
                          Veggo Nov 24, 2010 02:56 PM

                          I'm with you here on this link. Glen Burns is Roy Burns, my new buddy, the character I met with yesterday for a couple hours. I just did my experimental appetizer with battered huitlacoche and a mild tzakziki sauce. Too mild, I added chipotle powder to the second batch, way better. One friend has allready told me the tzakziki sauce may be an overrreach of fusion, and I don't disagree. I'm thinking now of a queso fundito with sauteed huitlacoche and crispy chorizo nuggets.
                          Breakfast tomorrow is quesadillas with queso blanco, huitlacoche, topped with a mild fresh tomato sauce with sweet chilies, and tocina. Then the work begins on all my stuffing .....

                          1. re: Veggo
                            TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Nov 29, 2010 03:34 PM

                            so? how did those "experiment"s work out?
                            sounds like you had some good ideas.
                            i agree w/ your friend, tzakziki might not be the best companion ...
                            despite its daunting appearance, this is one quite subtle note.

                            1. re: Veggo
                              c oliver Dec 2, 2010 04:43 PM

                              " One friend has allready told me the tzakziki sauce may be an overrreach of fusion, and I don't disagree."

                              I actively dislike that sauce so I'm glad you rejected it.

                              Cafe' Atlantico was on my wish list for DC but we just plain ran out of time.

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