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Tequila is the fuel for this historic enchilada.

Tequila is the fuel for this historic enchilada If you name a dish Pork Enchiladas Maximilian and Carlota, it had better have a history. Thanks to chef Walter Matera, this one does. It's a Mexican variation on a recipe for pork chops with crispy potatoes from the Sunset book French Cooking Country-style--but with tortillas filling in for potatoes. The result is a happier mix than the effort at collaboration Napoleon III undertook when he set up the Austrian Archduke Maximilian and his Belgian wife, Carlota, as emperor and empress of Mexico. Napoleon's attempt to wed France and Mexico lacked the consent of the bride, and Maximilian ended up before a firing squad in 1867.

Tequila is a novel fuel for incendiary chefs, but it works well here.

Pork Enchiladas Maximilian y Carlota

About 2 pounds pork shoulder chops or steaks Salt and pepper 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed 1 medium-size (about 6 oz.) onion, chopped 3 tablespoons tequila 8 corn or flour tortillas (6- to 8-in. size) Sour cream Homemade or prepared salsa Shredded lettuce Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Trim and discard bone and excess fat from chops, then cut meat into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano; then mix with garlic. Put meat mixture in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat; and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Uncover and stir often until pan is dry and browned bits stick. Add onion and another 1/2 cup water, stirring to loosen browned bits. Cook, uncovered, until liquid evaporates and meat begins to brown; stir often.

Pour tequila into pan (not beneath exhaust fan or flammables) and carefully ignite (tequila is far more explosive than brandy). Shake pan until flames die, then pour the sauce over the meat.

Meanwhile, stack and wrap tortillas in foil; heat in a 350 [degrees] oven until hot throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.

Evenly spoon meat and juices into tortillas. To taste, add the sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and cheese; roll to enclose filling. Set filled tortillas, seam side down, on plates, adding more sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and cheese as desired. Makes 4 serving, 2 enchiladas each.

Per serving: 437 cal.; 37 g protein; 19 g fat; 29 g carbo.; 233 mg sodium; 111 mg chol.

A classic way to roast a leg of lamb is to give it a crust of mustard or bread crumbs and garlic. And, of course, an addition of mint is very familiar. But Earl Howe has figured out how to crust the leg, perfume it with mint, and get the flavors deep inside the meat with a single blend of ingredients that he calls mint pesto. In effect, he makes a lamb jelly roll.

Crusted Lamb with Mint Pesto

2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped parsley 3 large cloves garlic, halved 1/4 cup olive oil 1/3 neufchatel (light cream) cheese 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 leg of lamb (6 to 7 lb.), boned and butterflied

In a food processor or blender, combine mint, parsley, 2 cloves garlic, oil, cheese, pine nuts, lemon juice, and pepper. Whirl to make a coarse paste; scrape container sides often.

Trim and discard excess fat from lamb. Sliver remaining garlic clove; with tip of a knife, make small cuts in lamb and insert garlic slivers. Spread the boned side of the lamb with about 2/3 of the mint mixture. Roll meat to enclose filling and tie securely. Spread remaining mint mixture over outside of meat.

Ignite 50 charcoal briquets on firegrate in a barbecue with a lid. When coals are covered with gray ash, 30 to 40 minutes, push an equal number to opposite sides of the grate. Set a foil drip pan on grate between coals. Place grill 4 ro 6 inches over coals, then set lamb over drip pan.

Put lid on barbecue and open dampers. Cook lamb until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 130 [degrees] for rare (about 1 hour) or 140 [degrees] for medium (about 1 1/4 hours). Let roast rest on a carving board for 10 to 15 minutes, then cut in thin slices. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 324 cal.; 39 g protein; 17 g fat; 1.9 g carbo.; 145 mg sodium; 122 mg chol.

The duty of an appetizer is to arouse the gastric juices and keep them flowing as dinner makes its way to the table. But to be effective, tidbits should not be filling as to take the edge off the appetite.

In that respeet, mushrooms make admirable starters, but they need a little help to escape the charge of blandness. A vinaigrette marinade is often used to sharpen the flavor, but Steven Scott has a special approach: quick browning, followed by a soak in hot white zinfandel and an eventual finish in the broiler with cheese and sage topping.

Mushroom Appetizers

1 1/2 pounds large (about 2-in-wide caps) mushrooms, rinsed and stem end trimmed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed 1 cup white zinfandel or other moderately dry white wine 1 cup (1/4 lb.) shredded jalapeno-flavor jack cheese Chopped fresh sage leaves (optional)

Quarter mushrooms vertically through stems. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan on high heat, combine mushrooms, oil, and garlic. Stir until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and boil, uncovered, until about half the liquid evaporates. If made ahead, cover and let stand up to 2 hours.

Transfer mushrooms and juices to 6 individual heatproof ramekins (about 2/3-cup size); evenly sprinkle with cheese. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until cheese melts, 5 or 6 minutes. Sprinkle with sage and serve at once. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 123 cal.; 7 g protein; 8.7 g fat; 6.3 g carbo.; 133 mg sodium; 20 mg chol.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1991
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