Mexican food is a great way to add new flavor to the meals of your week, but not everything sold as Mexican dishes is actually eaten in Mexico (I’m looking at you Taco Bell). The nation’s cuisine has attained the status of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010 by UNESCO, so here’s your opportunity to learn how to cook what is regularly eaten in Mexico, especially if you want to celebrate an especial occasion.
For salsa roja:
- 4 Roma tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped
- ½ large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium jalapeño, sliced (remove the seeds for a less spicy dish)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Avocado or guacamole
- Queso fresco
- Fried eggs (this can be changed to scrambled eggs, shredded chicken, steak, vegetables or whatever you want to eat)
- Place the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic in a blender or food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pour in 1 cup of the broth. Blend until smooth.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salsa and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes (the consistency of the salsa will vary depending on the size and juiciness of the tomatoes). Add additional broth to thin out the salsa, if needed. Taste and season with salt as needed.
- Add the tortilla chips and stir carefully to coat the chips. Cook until the tortillas are heated through, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt as needed.
For the soup:
- 2 pounds of pork cut into medium-sized cubes
- 6 guajillo chiles
- 1 Can of corn
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 tomato
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/2 onion
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chopped radish
- 8 half limes
- 4 cups chopped lettuce
- Tortilla chips
- Chopped cilantro
- 1 chopped onion
- Cook the pork meat with sufficient water (ensuring that the pork is completely covered with an inch or two to spare) with 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 piece of onion (not diced), the bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Set aside 1/2 cup of the broth from cooking the pork.
- Once the meat is cooked through, remove the bay leaves, onion, and garlic clove, add the corn and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.
- You might find interesting: 10 types of Mexican tamales to celebrate ‘Día de la Candelaria’ (Candlemas)
- Prepare the guajillo chiles by removing the seeds and stem and boiling in water for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Set aside for the next step.
- Blend the remaining 5 cloves of garlic, the guajillo chilies, the tomato, another 1/4 piece of the onion, the cumin, the salt, the pepper, the 1/2 cup of broth that was set aside in step 1 above, and 1/2 cup of hominy (to thicken the sauce) in a blender until completely blended.
- Once the above mixture is blended, strain the mixture, and add the strained liquid to the boiling pot with the pork and water. Season with oregano and add salt to taste.
- Let boil 15 minutes longer.
- Serve hot, topped with chopped lettuce, onions, radishes, and a few drops of lime, and finally the tortilla chips
This might be the most difficult dish to prepare from Mexican cuisine, but trust us, once you have a delicious piece of chicken with mole sauce, nothing will be the same.
- 8 cups water
- 2 tablespoons salt, divided
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken quarters (about 3 1/4 pounds)
- 3 3/4 cups vegetable oil, divided
- 12 garlic cloves, divided
- 41/2 cups diced plum tomatoes
- 31/2 cups diced yellow onion
- 8 dried guajillo chiles (1 3/4 ounces), stemmed
- 6 dried chiles de árbol (1/8 ounces), stemmed
- 4 dried ancho chiles (2 1/2 ounces), stemmed
- 3 dried pasilla negro chiles (3/4 ounce), stemmed
- 2 dried Mulato chiles (1 ounces), stemmed
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 3 6-inch corn tortillas, plus more for serving
- 1 (3 1/2-ounce) bolillo or demi-baguette, torn into pieces (about 5 1/2 cups)
- 1 (about 3-ounce) Mexican chocolate disk (such as Dandelion or Ibarra)
- Cooked long-grain white rice, for serving
- Bring 8 cups water and 1/2 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large stockpot over high. Reduce heat to medium-low and add chicken. Cook until chicken is tender, and a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of meat registers 155°F, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken; set aside on a large plate. Reserve 4 cups chicken cooking liquid in a large heatproof bowl; discard remaining cooking liquid.
- Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high. Add 8 garlic cloves; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, onions, and 1/2 tablespoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and softened about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender. Secure the lid on the blender and remove a center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a kitchen towel over the opening in the lid. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
- Wipe skillet clean. Add 3 cups vegetable oil: heat over medium-high. Working with a few different types of chiles at a time, place in a spider, and submerge in hot oil for 2 seconds per batch. Remove from oil using spider, and place in a large heat-proof bowl. Repeat with remaining chiles and the remaining 4 garlic cloves.
- Place sesame seeds and pepitas in a medium metal strainer; submerge in hot oil in skillet over medium-high. Cook, stirring mixture inside the strainer and shaking occasionally until seeds are golden brown and fragrant about 2 minutes. Transfer seed mixture to bowl with Chile mixture.
- Working with 1 tortilla at a time, add to hot oil in skillet over medium-high. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer fried tortillas to a plate lined with paper towels; let cool 5 minutes. Break into 2-inch pieces. (Strained and cooled oil may be reused for frying.)
- Add chile mixture, tortilla pieces, and bolillo pieces to reserved 4 cups of chicken cooking liquid in the bowl. Let stand until liquid is almost absorbed and bolillo has softened about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender; process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Heat the remaining 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large pot over medium. Add tomato mixture; cook, stirring constantly until heated through, about 1 minute. Add blended chile mixture and chocolate disk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally until chocolate has melted, and the mixture is well combined about 20 minutes. Add cooked chicken and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt; stir to submerge in the mole. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until chicken is heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with rice and tortillas, and garnish with additional sesame seeds.
For the main dish:
- 2 cups refried beans (or bean puree)
- 1-2 cups shredded cheese
- 3-4 bread rolls
- Butter (optional)
For the Pico de Gallo:
- 2 tomatoes
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 jalapeño
- 1 lime
- 15-20 sprigs of cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- For the black bean puree:
- 1 can of black beans
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water (or stock)
- If you want to make the bean puree, start by roughly chopping 1/2 an onion and peel 2 garlic cloves. Sauté the onion and garlic in a dollop of oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Drain and rinse one can of black beans. Add the black beans to the onion mixture along with 2 chipotles in adobo, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper, and 1/2 cup water (or stock). Simmer for a few minutes until heated through. Combine the bean mixture in a blender or food processor. Salt to taste.
- If making fresh Pico de Gallo, start by giving the veggies a good rinse. Chop up 2 tomatoes, 1/2 onion, 1/2 jalapeño, and 15-20 sprigs of cilantro. Add to a mixing bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the juice of 1/2 lime. Combine well and take a taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lime juice if necessary.
- Cut the bread rolls in half and bake them in a 400°F oven for a few minutes before adding any toppings; this will help crisp them up. You can optionally add a layer of butter to each roll.
- Top each roll with a layer of beans and shredded cheese. Bake for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is thoroughly melted.
- Top with freshly made Pico de Gallo and serve immediately.
Grilled Street Corn
- 6 medium ears of sweet corn
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup grated white cheese, preferably cotija or you can change it for mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Carefully peel back corn husks to within 1 in. of bottoms; remove silk. Rewrap corn in husks, secure with kitchen string. Rinse corn under water, moistening husks. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender, turning often.
- In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until blended. Cut string from corn and peel back husks. Spread corn with mayonnaise and cheese. To have a real Mexican experience, add some chili powder on it.