Friday, November 13, 2009
Champurrado: For When You Feel Like Cocoa, But Also Kind of Want to Eat Some Gruel
Mexican beverages have always fascinated me. I still get grumpy about the fact that you can't get a big ol' horchata anywhere around here (although I did manage to find some horchata mix the other day, I will let you know how it is). But as we will all soon be in the icy grips of that wench who is the Upstate New York winter, I was in the mood for a hot beverage. Ever heard of atole? Atoles are a family of corn meal based hot beverages, yup you heard me right, they are made with masa (base ingredient for tamales, which we have discussed at length). One particular atole is Champurrado, a hot cocoa of sorts. I bastardized this recipe to make my mug.
I started with some maza.
A half cup of the masa goes into a pot with 2 1/4 cup milk and 1 1/2 cup water to heat gently. I substituted about a half cup of demerrera sugar for the piloncillo.
For the chocolate I used a half of a bar of Dagoba Xocolatl, which has some nice chile spice.
I gave it a good steady whisking until the mixture thickened to about the consistency of heavy cream (very heavy cream). You don't really want to bring this to a boil, unless you really want to scrub the burnt masa off of your pot. A bare simmer at most.
A step you definitely don't want to skip is to strain the Champurrado. My masa brand has some larger pieces of corn and other odd bits that you don't necessarily want in a beverage. I just used my normal kitchen sieve.
There you have it. A thick, frothy, rich mug of Champurrado. This is a much more substantial beverage then a wimpy cup of Swiss Miss hot cocoa, you feel like you ate a big bowl of grits after drinking it. It is good and sweet with a pleasant corn flavor, a big serving of this will keep your internal belly furnace stoked and warm through any cold Autumn day. I could think of many variations on the basic maza/milk/water/sugar mixture as a base. Things like vanilla, cinnamon, booze would not be out of place. I was pleased with Champurrado, you should give it a go.