Erica's Cocina

Lets have some fun making some AWESOME and authentic Mexican Food

Lentil Soup (Sopa de Lentejas) November 19, 2010

It’s a chilly day here in Southern California, so I thought, what better thing to warm me up than a nice bowl of Sopa de Lentejas, or in English, Lentil Soup. There are probably a million different variations to this recipe. But I particulary love this one. Bacon and lentils go sooo well together, they should be married! Growing up, during the winter months we ate tons of soups. I love soups, they have tons of flavors, textures, and they satisfy the most hungry tummies. They are also so easy to play with and  make them your own ;O)

Lately, when I am recipe testing I also read up on the history of whatever dish I am making, if there is one. According to Wikipedia, Lentil Soup was once considered a food for the poor. Hmmm, little did they know that what they were eating was not only economical but is packed with vitamins and minerals. So go ahead, save some money and enjoy a fulfilling bowl of this soup ;O)


Lentil Soup (Sopa de Lentejas)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes     Cook Time: 40-50 minutes     Serves: 4-6



2 C. Dry Lentils

8 Slices of Center Cut Bacon

1/2 Onion

1 Garlic Minced

1 Jalapeno

2 Roma Tomatoes or 1 Large Tomato

2 Qt. Veggie or Beef Broth

1/2 Tsp. Cumin Ground

3 Cilantro Sprigs



First off, you want to sort the lentils. Make sure to remove all debris that might have been left behind during packaging. Next, rinse the lentils under cold water until the water runs clear. Set aside.

Now for the chopping….

Chop the tomato into small dices.


Chop the onion into small dices.


Cut the bacon into small pieces.


Now lets get to cooking :O)

Add bacon to medium heated pot and cook until crisp. Takes about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. Once nice and crispy, remove and set aside in towels so they can drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings. This will give your soup TONS of flavor!


To bacon dripping add onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until onion transparent, 3-5 minutes. To the jalapeño, you want to do two little slits on it. Just enough to break the skin, but not slice through it. This will release the flavor without making it too spicy.


Add tomato and sauté until skin starts to loosen up, 3-5 minutes.


Add the reserved bacon and lentils. Stir until all ingredients are mixed together.


Add broth and cumin. Season to taste with salt if needed. Remember the broth already has salt in it so taste before adding some. I find many times, I don’t need to add salt. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce heat to low. Add cilantro, cover, and cook for 40-50 minutes or until lentils are tender. You will notice the fat from the bacon rise to the top during cooking. I usually remove this with a spoon half way though cooking and at the end. You want to have the bacon flavor but not all the grease ;O)


You are now ready to enjoy this delicious bowl of Lentil soup…

Buen Provecho!!!



Note: As mentioned earlier, there are tons of variations to this soup. You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by omitting the bacon, use olive oil to sauté the ingredients, and use veggie broth. Great add in are carrots, potatoes, celery. Go ahead and play with it. See what you come up with. One word of advise is when adding ingredients, make sure to chop them small. You don’t want them so big that they over power the lentils. Lets not forget, the lentils are the star of this dish ;O)

Chiles Rellenos (Stuffed Peppers) July 10, 2010

Chiles Rellenos, translated Stuffed Peppers, always remind me of when my family would get together during lent season. One person would char the peppers, another peel, another make the sauce, another beat the egg whites (we would use a fork to do this so you would really work our your arm, but you can use an electric whisk), etc. We would make tons of them so it was lots of work. Nonetheless, it brought brought us all together which was always a pleasure. Especially my grandmother and I, since we would be the one’s left with doing the  bulk of the work :o) I enjoyed every minute of it. Hope you enjoy making these yourself and create memories of your own. Beauty of this dish is that you can make one for yourself or a dozen for friends and family. FYI, these go really well with my Arroz Blanco ( Mexican White Rice). Buen Provecho!!

Serves: Two          Prep Time: 30 min          Cook Time: 10 min


2 Chiles pasillas

2 Slices queso cotija

2 Tomatoes

1 Garlic clove

1 Tsp dried oregano

2 Eggs seperate egg white and yolk

Olive oil or Vegetable oil

Salt to personal taste


Char peppers on a comal. Place in a plastic bag for 15 min. Remove from bag and peel skin.

Make a small slit on the side of the pepper, remove seeds and insert slice of cheese. Set aside. If you feel like they are going to fall apart you can thread a tooth pick in the slit to hold it together. I normally make a smaller slit but for picture purposes, I made it a little bigger here.

While the peppers are charring (to conserve time), in a small pot add tomatoes and garlic. Fill with enough water to cover the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for 5-10 min uncovered. Add tomatos, salt, and oregano to blender and blend to a smooth puree.

In a mixing bowl, add egg whites and whip until fluffy. Add yolk and whip to blend well. Should be smooth and fluffy.

Ok, time to get cooking. After you get your sauce ready(directions below), your set up should look something like this to make sure the transitions go smoothly with out making too much of a mess.

In a medium heated pan add 1 tbsp of oil. Add onion and sauté onions until transparent. Add toamtoe sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer.

In another medium heated pan, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Dip both sides of pepper in the egg and  fry for 4 min on each side or until golden brown.

Drain in paper towel and place pepper in the simmering tomato sauce. Once all the peppers are in the pan, let simmer for an additional 10 min to let the flavors marry.

Buen Provecho!!


Tasty Salsa Roja ;O) May 26, 2010

Filed under: Cooking,Salsa — ericascocina @ 7:10 PM
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I believe everyone should always have a great tasting salsa in the fridge at all times. After all, you never know when you’ll be craving something spicy! You want to be prepared. This salsa recipe is very tasty and super easy to make. Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Salsa Rojo (Red Salsa)


2 Tomatoes

1 Jalapeño

1 Garlic clove

¼ of an onion

Small bunch of cilantro

Salt to personal taste


On a comal roast tomatoes, jalapeno, and garlic until charred.

Add to blender onion, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, and salt. Pulse on puree 2-3 times. You want it to be a little chunky.

That is it, you’re allll done.

Buen Provecho!!


Caldo de Camarón (Shrimp Soup) April 9, 2010

I love Caldo de Camarón, or shrimp soup in English ;0) This is one of those dishes that my family and I usually make during the Lent season and in the winter time. It is made with tons of veggies so not only is it delicious but it is also good for you. Another plus is that it doesn’t take too much time to make so you can enjoy anytime of the year.

Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes     Servings: 4-6


5 C. Water

3 Carrots

¼ C. Onion

1 Chayote

5 Celery Sticks

2 Potatoes

1 Calabacita (Italian Squash)

1 Tomato

1-8oz Can of El Pato Sauce (or other spicy sauce)

1-16oz Can of Garbanzo Beans

1/3 C. Chopped Cilantro

1½ lbs. Large Shrimp


Chop carrots, onion, chayote, celery, calabacitas, tomato, and potatoes into small dices. Set aside. Chop cilantro and set aside. Open can of garbanzo beans. Drain, remove skin, and rinse. Set aside.

In a pot, add water and salt to personal taste. Let boil. Add carrots, onion, chayote, and celery. Bring to boil. Let boil for 10 minutes.

Add potatoes, calabacitas, tomato, garbanzo beans, El Pato sauce, and cilantro. Taste. Add more salt if needed. Bring to boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Add shrimp and taste again. Add more salt if needed. Bring to broil. Boil for 3 minutes and remove from heat.

Serve while hot with slices of lime on the side.

Buen Provecho!!

Note: If you do not want the soup to be spicy, just add a can of tomato sauce instead. Also, if chayote cannot be found in your local market then you can just use the calabacitas and vice versa. But use 2 instead of 1.


Cocido (Beef/ Vegetable Soup) February 15, 2010

Filed under: Cooking,Soups — ericascocina @ 11:52 PM
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Cocido or Beef Vegetable Soups is one of my favorite soups in the wintertime. It has lots of vegetables so it is loaded with Vitamins. It will keep you nice and warm and healthy during the summer ;O). I remember my grandma telling us stories how they would make this about once of week from the vegetables they had in their own back yard. How awesome is that?!! To be able to walk to your back yard and freshly pick the veggies for your soup. Can’t wait till I have my own garden *sigh*.

Cook time: 2 hours          Level: Easy          Yields: 4-6 servings


1 lb Beef Stew Meat

1 lb Beef Neck Bones (adds lots of flavor ;O))

1 Quart of Water

2 Corncobs

1 Potato

1 Chayote

1 Calabacita

2 Carrots

1/3 Onion

1 Small Tomato

½ Small Cabbage

1/2 Cup Cilantro

Salt to personal taste


Thoroughly wash all the veggies. Cut the corncobs into three’s. Set aside. Chop potatoes with skin on or off, which ever you prefer (leaving the skin will prevent the potatoes from falling apart while they cook) into one-inch squares. Chop chayote lengthwise and then into one inch dices. Chop calabasita and carrots length wise in half and then into one inch dices. Slice onions. Dice tomato. Cut cabbage in half (lengthwise) and then in half. Coarsely chop cilantro. Set aside all veggies.

Wash meat and bones until water runs clear. In one pot, add meat and bones, fill with water to just cover the meat and bring to a boil (this will get rid of any yucky stuff left on the meat). While you are waiting for the meat to boil, in a second pot, bring to boil about a quart of water. Transfer meat from first pot to the second. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and let it cook for 30-35 minutes (meat will be about half way done). Add salt to personal taste. Add corn and bring to a boil. Boil covered low heat for 45 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies. Make sure to distribute them evenly in the pot, placing the cabbage last on top. Bring to boil. Boil for 25min.

Buen Provecho!


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