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Espinaca Mexicana, 1831

September 3, 2010

by Krisellen Maloney

El cocinero mexicano, ó, Coleccion de las mejores recetas para guisar al estilo americano : y de las mas selectas segun el metodo de las cocinas española, italiana, francesa e inglesa. Mexico: Imprenta de Galvan, a cargo de Mariano Arevalo, Calle de Cadena num. 2, 1831.

El Cocinero Mexicano, like many 19th century cookbooks, tends to be pretty vague when it comes to details.  However, I gave this one a try even though the recipe had very little information.  I decided that I wanted to make it for two people and used a bag of prewashed spinach (6 oz.).

The spinach was very good, and went well with a small grass-fed steak and whole wheat tortilla.  You could double the amount of spinach and it would still be good (just add a little more vinegar and salt).  As you scroll down, you’ll find a step-by-step explanation of how I prepared the dish.

Original Recipe/Receta Original:

Espinacas Mexicanas, Pp. 232

72. Se asan y muelen xitomates, y luego se frien en manteca con ajos y cebollas picadas.  Se echan alli las espinacas tambien picadas ó molidas, garbanzos deshollejados de la olla, ó cocidos aparte con agua de tequesquite: papas cocidas, mondadas, rebanadas si son grandes ó divididas por la mitad si son chicas: un poco de vinagre, sal y una puntita de azucar al servirlas.

Translated Recipe/Receta Traducida:

Mexican Spinach, Pp. 232

72. Roast and grind red tomatoes, and then fry them in butter or lard with garlic and chopped onions.  To this mixture, add chopped spinach and skinned chickpeas.  Add potatoes (peeled and sliced if large; halved if small), a little vinegar, salt, and a pinch of sugar, and serve.

Step-By-Step Directions:


One 6 oz. bag of pre-washed spinach
1 small white potato
2 roma tomatoes
1 T. butter
1/8 c. onion (1 boiling onion)
1 t. chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1 t. vinegar (rice vinegar)
½ c. canned garbanzo beans
1/8 t. sugar

1) Precook the potato.  (I boiled it but cooking it in any fashion would work).

2) Fire roast the tomatoes, cool quickly and peel.
Note: I roast them on a gas burner until charred and bubbly–the skin should separate from the tomato.  I then put them in a plastic bag for a few minutes to steam before running them under cold water.  This helps make the skin peel away easily.

3) Chop the tomatoes.

4) Sauté garlic and onion in a large frying pan until the onions are translucent.

5) Add the tomatoes. These don’t need to cook long –only 2 or 3 minutes.
Tomatoes, Onions, and Garlic

6) Add the spinach and garbanzo beans to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes.
Spinach and Garbanzo Beans

7) Add the potatoes, vinegar, salt and sugar.  Let the mixture cook for a few minutes on low heat so the starch from the potato thickens the liquid a bit.

9) Serve and enjoy.
Serve With Steak and Tortillas

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