Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mexican Stroganoff

Columbus embarked on the first of what would be four voyages, reaching the Bahamian Islands on 10/12/1492. 

He discovered a thriving indigenous people, the Taino (a tribe of the native Arawaks), who drew sustenance from native crops, fish, and game. Maize, beans, squash, and seafood were central components of the native diet. In one of his logs, Columbus described a native meal, which was comprised of fish and “bread which tasted exactly as if it were made of chestnuts.”

Wild fowl (turkey) and fish were the main sources of meat. Other regional crops included cacao (chocolate), maize, tomato, potato, capsicum, peppers, cassava, pumpkins, and groundnuts (peanuts). Fruits enhanced the native diet, such as pineapple, guava, avocado and papaya. Most of these foods were new and unfamiliar to Columbus and his crew. In Hispaniola, the first settlement in the New World, the native foods of the Taino tribe became an important source of sustenance to the European colonizers.

In the early days of Hispaniola, many European colonizers died due to disease. At that time, their demise was largely attributed to malnutrition. While European settlers enjoyed native foods made with maize and cassava, they believed that somehow their bodies were not equipped to handle these foods. On voyages to the New World, Columbus brought with him European foodstuffs that would drastically change the cultural and ecological landscape of the Americas.

Certain native foods were considered “barbaric” by European settlers, because they were unfamiliar. Ironically, other foods were adopted readily, including chile peppers, cacao, and pineapple. Settlers enjoyed native foods like atole (a sweet, hot drink made from masa), pinole (toasted maize meal), scalded plantains, butter of the cacao, and puddings made with fowl.

European colonizers had difficulty adjusting to the new food culture of the Americas, they took a toll on the native landscape as well. Before Columbus came to the New World, it is estimated that some 250,000 natives Arawaks lived on the Bahamian islands. By the early 1500’s, less than 15,000 remained, most having perished after exposure to European diseases (for which they had no immunity).
The Spanish hoped to Europeanize the native populations of the islands of the Caribbean and convert them to Catholicism. By attributing the deaths of European settlers to native foods, they were buoying their argument for the superiority of European food and, simultaneously, European values. This strange intersection of native American foods and European crops gave rise to a brand new food culture, which we still enjoy the fruits of today.
Research Source: The History kitchen

Mexican Stroganoff a great meal with no fuss. Perfect weeknight meal.

Mexican Stroganoff
Copyrighted 2013, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.

8 ounces egg noodles
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside in colander.

In large pot over medium heat, add ground beef, garlic powder, salt and pepper, cook until no longer pink, 5 to 8 minutes.  Add onions just before ground beef is cooked, cook about 2 minutes. 

Stir in spaghetti sauce, diced green chilies, chili powder, cumin and crush red pepper.

Return noodles to pot, reduce heat to medium low, cook about 4 to 5 minutes, until combined and heated through. Stir often.

Just before serving, top with Mexican cheese blend. Enjoy!

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