For more information about Chef Hugo Ortega, visit his website at

Chef Hugo's Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe:

This is a Thanksgiving favorite. We get many to-go orders for this pie during the holiday season. Ruben put it on the Backstreet menu as a small, individual pecan pie topped with our house-made Bourbon Ice Cream (see page 102). Guests have responded so well that they even ask for it in the summer — but they have to wait until September when it returns to the menu.

Makes 1 pie


3 ½-(4 oz) sticks unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 whole egg

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 cups almond flour

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour


2 ½ large whole eggs

½ cup tightly packed brown sugar

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup light corn syrup

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 ½ cups pecan pieces

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make dough (make up to 1 day ahead): Cream butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 10 to 12 minutes, on high speed using a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg and vanilla extract and scrape sides. Mix well to incorporate. Add the flours and mix on low until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a clean, working surface. Knead into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.

To make the filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar and both syrups until no lumps remain. Drizzle in the melted butter and whisk to combine. Set aside.

To assemble and bake pie: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Roll out dough into a disk of an even 1/8-inch thickness. Lightly spray a 9-inch aluminum pie pan with cooking spray. Transfer dough to pie pan and chill for 30 minutes. Remove and evenly distribute chocolate and pecans and pour filling mixture. Place pie onto a sheet pan to catch any cooking juices and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, uncover and return to finish baking until the center is firm, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve warm and accompany with Bourbon Ice Cream (see page 102).

Chef Hugo's Turkey Pozole Verde recipe:

4 cups hominy, cooked (procedure below)

1/4 cup slaked lime (calcium hydroxide)

3-1/4 quarts (13 cups) turkey stock (or chicken stock), divided

4 cups leftover turkey (cubed or shredded)

2 cups tomatillos, chopped

2 cups poblano peppers, seeded and chopped

1 cup white onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, roasted

1 serrano pepper, roasted

3 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds


1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

4 epazote leaves

3 hoja santa leaves, chopped

Salt to taste


Diced onion

Sliced radishes

Cubed avocados

Lime halves


Procedure to cook hominy:

Soak 3 cups of dry hominy in water over night. (Once cooked, it will be 4 cups in volume.)

Before cooking, drain the hominy and place in stockpot with fresh water, approximately 6 inches above hominy, add the slaked lime and mix well. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook for approximately 90 minutes or until soft. Once ready rinse with cold water until water comes out clear. While rinsing, remove the small hard kernel at the top of each piece of hominy. Optional: you can use canned hominy.

Procedure for the pozole:

In a small stock pot, bring turkey stock (reserve 1 cup for next steps) to a gentle boil. Add the cleaned hominy. In a blender, place 1/2 cup turkey stock, tomatillos, onion, garlic, serrano, cloves, peppercorns, cumin and roasted pumpkin seeds and blend well. Add to pozole pot and stir to incorporate, and bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Stir in turkey.

In blender, place 1/2 cup stock, cilantro, parsley, epazote and hoja santa and puree. Add to pozole and mix well. Season to taste and simmer for 5 minutes to meld flavors. .

To Serve: Garnish with onion, radish, avocado and fresh lime juice, and serve with tostadas on the side. Enjoy hot.