Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mexican Treats for Book Club

"Christmas Rolls" are taken from Chapter 1 of "Like Water for Chocolate" by Laura Esquirel. I made them for our monthly book club tonight. They have a spicy mixture of chorizo, onions, sardines, oregano, and serrano chilies (which my friend Joe Serrano grows in his backyard each summer for his kids' sake). As the story goes, you may cry over the chopping of the onions. And the simmering aroma in the air may remind you of Christmas in kitchen's past. I love recipes and culinary fiction or culinary memoirs. I also took Luzon wine from Jumillo, which was recommended by the Wine Shop lady for its smoky flavor to complement the rolls - Excellent! The title: "Like Water for Chocolate" is a saying that means the boiling water/milk is ready for you to melt in the chocolate--either to refer to someone who is boiling mad or boiling with passion. I can relate to Tita! It was a great treat for me tonight to discuss this book, even though another member *detested* the story. The magical realism was not to her taste. I also brought Vee along, and I think she liked meeting our 6 regular members and will join our book club for the whole year!

Christmas Rolls
1/2 chorizo sausage (I used 1/2 pound)
1 can sardines
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can chiles serranos (I used fewer)
Oregano, (I used 1/2 t. ground oregano)
10 hard rolls
Simmer the onions and chorizo sausage slowly so as not to burn. Add sardines, serrano chiles, and oregano. Let mixture simmer to combine flavors. Allow to stand on counter until serving time. Stuff into hard rolls, allowing sauce to drip over the edges.


Candise and Crew said...


My name is Karen. I live in a small town called Marion (near Cape Cod). I just began reading "Like Water For Chocolate." The recipe from Chapter 1 for Christmas Rolls sounded so good I tried to find it online. One of the hits I got was your website because you made them for your book club. I have two questions. How do you prepare the chorizo? Do you grind it, or simply cut it into into small pieces after cooking it? How long do you let all the ingrediants simmer? I'd like to make these rolls for my father for Superbowl Sunday. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.


Candise and Crew said...

Dear Karen,

How exciting!! My book club is gathering tonight to watch the movie version (Spanish with subtitles) so the book is still fresh in my head. I had to get the movie from the KC Library as it wasn't available by NetFlix or inter-library loan J

I took the chorizo out of the casing so it could simmer like hamburger in little bits. If you cut it up small that would be good, too. I used a little over half a pound. I put in fewer chilies – some from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I don't normally prefer spicy dishes, so 4 chilies was enough for me. Serrano peppers are five times hotter than jalapenos. Chipotle peppers are simply jalapenos that have been smoked, I think. I used a lot of the adobo sauce/tomato sauce to make the filling more "drippy." I tried keeping the leftovers in the fridge for my husband to try when he came home from a trip, but the sardines made a nasty smell. I used chewy dinner rolls from the fresh bread section, but smaller rolls would make the filling go further. I thought about making homemade rolls out of frozen bread dough, but I ran out of time for that.

Good luck on your Super Bowl dish. Please write back and tell me your results. I should have warned the women at book club about the sardines before they bit into the rolls, as one woman doesn't eat fish. Personally, I like sardines anyway so it was an interesting flavor to me. I think you could take some filling to the side of your pan and leave it sardine-free and it would still taste good.

Candise and Crew said...

Thank you so much for responding so quickly. I will take your advice and I will let you know how the Christmas rolls taste. Thanks for the tips on the chili peppers, too. My father and I love spicy food, so I will use the hot ones.

Candise and Crew said...


I was not able to make the Christmas Rolls because the butcher at our local supermarket is an idiot. He didn't know what chorizo sausage is....despite the fact that he is a butcher and we have many Portuguese immigrants in this area. I didn't have time to go to New Bedford, MA, where I heard of a "real" sausage shop. My boyfriend lives in New Bedford and he said he will take me there when he gets home this month (he is a long-haul truck driver).

I ended up making Turkish "boreks," little meat pies, for my father. He enjoyed them.