Fried Chile Serrano Salsa

Chile Serrano is my favorite chile.  I eat it raw at lunch or dinner,  biting into the green chile, herbaceous and refreshing.  A large variety of salsas feature Serrano and here, it’s fried, so the taste is rustic.  The tomatoes are also cooked.ChileSerranoMolcajetesmlChile derives from the Nahuatl word, “chilli.” The European scientific name is capsicum annum and it was first domesticated in MesoAmerica. It’s origin is 9 thousand years ago (that’s a long time).OriginDomesticationOfChile

Our Texas Mexican Region (South Texas and Northeastern Mexico) features prominently in the history of this important, nutritous food.  These four maps give an interesting multi-disciplinary vew of the origin of domesticated capsicum annum.  Note that our Texas Mexican region has the strongest genetic evidence of domesticated chile.  So when you bite into that Chile Serrano, you can feel right at home because our ancestors have been doing that for thousands of years.

It just tastes good!

So, this is the recipe for frying the chile. Straightforward and robust.

1 large Chile Serrano (3 1/2″ long) or 2 small ones
1 Garlic Clove
1 1/2 Tbs White Onion
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 Tbs Canola oil
1/4 Cup Water
1/2 tsp Salt

1.  Heat the oil in a skillet, medium heat, and fry (sautée) the chile, onion and garlic until they turn a deep color and have black spots.  the Chile Serrano will lose of its green color.

2.  Remove all of the ingredients from the skillet, place them in a molcajete, and mash them to a fine paste.

3. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook them for 4 minutes, until much of the juice has evaporated.  Add the tomatoes to the molcajete and incorporate them into the chile paste.

4. Add the water to the pan and scrape the pan to unstick all the browned bits.  Add this to the molcajete and mix well.

This is a salsa that’s perfect for warming up your kitchen on a wintry day.  And in a few weeks when you are cooking outdoors, it’s perfect for tacos with grilled meats. Enjoy.















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Red Enchiladas For St. Valentine’s Day

An enchilada is delicious and delicate. Perfect for romance and to say I love you.

I’ve blogged before that to understand an enchilada is to understand our history and community.  The tortilla is not a wrap for filling.  It is the thing itself. A well made corn tortilla, cooked on a comal, immersed in carefullly blended chile, accentuated by the slightest of queso fresco and onion bits. EnchiladasPlateRedTortillassml And in my family, my amá always made enchiladas with red tortillas. Always. My nephew, Adrian, once chastised me for using other than a red tortilla.  So, here’s an adaptation of our mom’s family enchilada recipe.

There is no English word that accurately translates “enchilada,” the past participle of the verb, “enchilar.”  Merriam-Webster translates enchilar: “to season with chili,” but that does not describe this dish. “Enchilar” means that the tortilla has been done up with chile, thoroughly infused and transformed.

1.  Devein and de-seed 6 Guajillo chiles.  Place them in boiling water, turn off the heat and let them re-hydrate for 20 minutes.

2.  Drain the chiles, discard the water, and place them in a blender with 2 cups of water.  Blend until you have a completely smooth, velvety purée.  Drain through a fine mesh sieve to make sure there are  no bits of chile left unblended.

3.  Add two more cups of water and set aside.

ChilePouredIntoMasasml4. In a large bowl, place 4 cups of white corn masa and add the four cups of chile, slowly incorporating it into the masa to form a moist, firm masa that looks like the picture below.
ChileMasaHandsml5.  Cover the masa with a damp cloth and let stand for 20 minutes to rehydrate the corn. (My neighbor across the street found non-GMO corn online and gave me a 5-pound bag.  I used non-GMO corn and urge you to get a neighbor like mine).ChileMasaTowelsml6.  Using a tortilla press like the one described in this previous blog, make round masa balls, flatten them with the tortilla press, and lay them gently onto a medium hot comal.
ChileTortillaHandcomalsml7. Cook for about 20 seconds. The tortilla will release and you can easily pick it up without a spatula (but be careful and use a spatula if you need it to lift up the edge).
ChileTortillasTwoOnComalCook that side for another 20 seconds and turn it over. Do this one more time.  You’ll see that the tortilla puffs up with steam.  It forms an outer leaf that is crisp and toasty while the inner masa cooks just enough so that it remains moist and meaty.
8.  Make  a batch of enchilada chile purée according to the recipe for enchiladas here, and dip a cooked, red tortilla in the chile, leaving it for about 8 seconds.  ChileTortillaDippedsml9.  Lay the “done up with chile” tortilla on a plate and add 1 Tablespoon of crumbled queso fresco and a smattering of finely diced white onion. Finely diced is important.ChileTortillaQuesoFrescoHandsml10.  Roll three of these tortillas next to each other, each immersed in the special blend of chiles.  You’ll taste the flavorful corn saturated with chile, and the combination is spectacular. Pour plenty of chile on top and then sprinkle some more queso and onion. PourChileOnTortillasmlEnjoy— that’s an enchilada!

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CIA Class: Texas Mexican Cuisine Points To The Future

In preparation for my class presentation tomorrow, I’m posting these food ideas. TexasMexicanCuisine I’ll present the class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.  Dr. Maureen Costura teaches the course on ancient foods and this class will deal with indigenous culinary practices of Texas and the Southwest.  The CIA newspaper,  “La Papillote,” describes the course this way:  StoneCooking“Students with interest outside of the kitchen may be attracted to this program due to its unique nature. It is intended for the intellectual students who see food for more than just its culinary purposes.”

My presentation will explain several chapters and recipes from “Truly Texas Mexican:  A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes.”  It is a hybrid history/cookbook published by Texas Tech University Press.


Rattlesnake is a delicacy. Left:  Quail Eggs


Sotol Bulbs are a source of carbs and are cooked in earth ovens for three days

Here are a few of the ideas to be discussed during the class:IdentityandCommunityAmericas LlanoManMidlandTexas

A Contested CuisineWe will discuss the differences between Texas Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex food:  history and flavor profile.

MolcajeteChjileOnion ComalOnionGarlicRoast









We will discuss ancient culinary tools and techniques that are also leading the way in fine dining ideas.

ChilesAreStar RootedInOurHistoryWatermelonAnd finally, we will discuss how history and memory are part of a day-by-day culinary aesthetc practice that leads the future.ManhattanMolcajeteLet’s explore our ancient roots so that we may cook with more understanding about ingredients, tools and techniques.  Everything old is new again!

This is really all about being able to taste and say:  “That’s deeeelicious!”

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Carne Con Chile, aka “Chili”

What’s Carne Con Chile you say?  It means “Meat With Chile” and it’s one of the oldest and most common Texas Mexican dishes whose technique is shared with all the other regions of Mexican cuisines. It’s sometimes made with green chiles as in the state of Jalisco where a dish, made with Chile Serrano, is called “Carne En Su Jugo.” More often it’s made with red chiles as in the state of Oaxaca where a dish made with Chile Guajillo is called “Chileajo.”  There are hundreds of creative and delicious recipes for cooking meat with chile, “Carne Con Chile.”

Here in our region we combine several red chiles to foreground the flavor of the meat, whether that be the traditional native venison, or the more recent (1500s) imported meats like beef or pork.CarneConChile

“Chili” is the anglicized word for “chile.” Anglo Texans who migrated from Europe fell in love with the various native dishes, all made with creative combinations of chiles.  In San Antonio, for example, Native Mexican business women operated open air food stands in the 1800s. They served a wide array of indigenous food: enchiladas, tamales, tortillas and carne con chile.  All these dishes used chiles as the predominant flavoring but it seems that “chili” was easier for the newly-arrived to pronounce so it stuck as the popular term. But traditional Mexican restaurants like the venerable Mi Tierra in San Antonio continue to use the term, Carne Con Chile.  Michael Cortez, son of Pete and Cruz Cortez who first opened “Mi Tierra” (My Land) in 1941, uses the original recipe and he naturally calls it “Carne Con Chile.”

It’s a cool day here in Houston and making Carne Con Chile, aka “Chili,” just feels like it’s the right thing for body and soul.  This recipe is one I hope you will like.  I use Ancho chiles as the base, Guajillo for red color, and Chipotle for a nice tang.  The other seasonings are a classic Texas Mexican combination that I think blends perfectly such that you don’t have one flavor springing up over any other.

Recipe (serves 6) Excerpted from the book: Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes

4 Chile Ancho, seeded, deveinedChileAnchoandGuajillo
2 Chile Guajillo, seeded, deveined
1 Chipotle, seeded, deveined
2  garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 medium white onion, peeled
1/2 tsp powdered cumin
1 tsp fresh Mexican Oregano
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs Canola oil
2 lbs chuck shoulder roast, cut into 1/2″ cubes
3 cups water

1. Place all the chiles in a large saucepan, cover them with water and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and let the chiles cook for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a comal or a cast iron skillet on high, then roast the onion and the garlic until the onion has softened and has black spots.  Peel the garlic after it has cooked and become soft.
3. Cut the the roast into 1/2″ cubes or smaller, trimming off the fat as you go. This is a time- consuming task, so if your butcher is friendly she might agree to do this for you when you buy it.
4. Add 1 Tablespoon Canola to a skillet on very high heat and quickly brown the meat for only 5 seconds or so.  Set aside.
4. In a blender, place the chiles and all the spices. Add about a cup of water and blend on high to make a very smooth purée, adding additional water as necessary.  If there are flecks in the purée, strain through a fine mesh sieve.
5. Heat a dutch oven (cast iron if you have one, but not necessary) on medium heat, add the oil and then “fry” the chile purée.  Be prepared for some splatter.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring all the while.
6. Add the beef and 3 cups of water and bring to a very slow simmer.  By this I mean that you’ll see only small, slow bubbles on the surface. Cover and cook for 2 hours, all the while adjusting the heat so that it stays on a slow simmer and does not boil.  Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes or so to thicken. Adjust the salt.

Serve the carne con chile immediately or the next day with garnish of diced white onion, cheddar cheese and diced, pickled Jalapeños.  Make sure you make plenty because it will taste fantastic the following day.

!Buen Provecho!


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“Hoja Santa” Salad

Let’s start this new year with an innovative use of the wonderfully aromatic herb, Hoja Santa.
It’s traditionally always served cooked, but here I make it into a salad, paired with equally aromatic fennel seeds and cold-weather greens.

HojaSantaSaladFennelsmlbI think that Hoja Santa will become a big hit in the coming years, as more of us Chicanos, Latinas, enter the culinary world and share new ways of enjoying delicious food that is historically tied to this hemisphere.  The origin of Hoja Santa is tropic Mesoamerica which includes Southern México, Guatemala, Panamá and Northern Colombia.  From ancient times, we used it for medicial and spiritual healing.  Crush a leaf between your fingers and you’ll get a heady aroma of root beer.  Grow a plant in your back yard, as I do, thanks to a dear friend, Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark from San Antonio who gave me one from her garden as a Christmas gift.  It grows well in our southern US climates.
HojaSantaRemoveStemsmlRecipe (serves 8)

2 large Hoja Santa leaves, washed, patted dry
1/2 lb Frisée (curly Endive) washed, dried and torn into small pieces
3 Belgian Endives, washed, dried and sliced, crosswise, into 1/2 inch pieces
3 Celery ribs very thinly sliced, crosswise
2 tsp Fennel seeds, toasted
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
3 Tbs finely minced Shallots
1.  In a skillet, toast the fennel seeds until they turn color and release aroma.  Then crush them in a molcajete or other mortar & pestle.
2. Combine the crushed seeds and the olive oil in a bowl and allow to stand for at least 15 minutes

3. Prepare the Hoja Santa by first removing the stem, cutting both edges with a sharp knife as shown in the picture above.  Then roll the hoja into a tight little cigar and slice it very thinly into threads, ribbons.  The French call this technique, “chiffonade.” By slicing it this way, (then soaking in the dressing as described below), the coarse leaves become quite a nice raw addition.

HojaSantaRollingsml HojaSantaChiffonadesml

4. In bowl or wide-mouth jar, combine the lemon juice, salt, sugar and shallots and stir or shake until the salt and sugar dissolve.  Then add to the fennel seed olive oil and whisk or shake vigorously to emulsify.
5.  Soak the hoja santa strips in the dressing for 15 minutes, then add the other greens and toss well to coat.

¡Buen Provecho y Feliz Año Nuevo!

This salad dressing recipe is an adaptation of one that I first saw about 10 years ago in Gourmet magazine. Sad that it stopped publishing.







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Buñuelos For New Year’s Eve

Amá would make these every New Year’s eve.

buñuelosml I recall having a sense of wonder at how she made ribbons out of tortillas. When I make these now I recall happy times with amá, apá and all my brothers and sisters. These are as “party nice” today as they were then when I was a child.  I cut and shape them just like mom did.

First make flour tortillas but add 1 teaspoon sugar per cup of flour.

Then roll the tortillas on a cutting board and slice them into 2″ wide strips.

In the middle of each strip, cut a slit lengthwise with a knife, leaving 1 inch on each end uncut.

In a deep skillet, heat peanut oil to very hot, shimmering, 350 F.

Take each strip and insert one end through the slit, twisting as in the pic.  Deep fry it, turning so that both sides turn golden.  This will take about 2 minutes.

Place on paper towels and sprinkle with generous dashes of cinnamon and sugar. The cinnamon mixture should be 1/2 tsp cinnamon for every 3 tsp sugar.  Serve with chocolate caliente.

Wishing you a new year full of health, love and safe surround. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

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Cranberry-Rosemary Holiday Cocktail


The dots mark the regions where Cranberry is an industry today. These are the Native American roots of the Cranberry.

I served this at a party last night… was a hit!  It’s a very appropriate cocktail because cranberries are Native American. This holiday cocktail combines tart cranberry flavor with the woodsy, herbal, rosemary.  Based on last night’s tasting, it’s gives a sparkling start to your holiday dinner party!CranberryRosemaryCocktailFor my history-loving amigas/os, archaeological sites in the Northeastern US dating from 1000 B.C. to A.D. 95 provide evidence of ancient cranberry bogs (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and their use among native american peoples.”Arándano Rojo” is the spanish word for cranberry.  The native name is “Ibimi,” used by the Native peoples called, Lenni-Lenape (more recently called Delaware) who lived in the northeastern part of the US.  They were eventually forced to re-locate to Ohio and by 1872 most of them had been relocated even farther west to Oklahoma.  Some of them fled to Texas in 1780 , as you can see from this map of their expulsion from their original homelands.  DelawareNationBriceMapThe name “Ibimi” translates as “bitter” or “sour berries.” Cranberries were used for medicine, cooking, and dyes for textiles.  A favorite recipe combined venison with the berries.  The delicious culinary idea of wild game with berries remains with us to this day.

The reason I love recalling history is that, we can learn from it. Recognizing the inhumanity and injustices of our past, helps us imagine a future day when we will all share a meal in peace.  Actually, it also leads the way to making a delicious cocktail, that celebrates the holiday spirit.

Recipe (makes 12 cocktails)

12 ounces fresh cranberries
1/2 cup fresh Rosemary (remove the leaves, or needles, from the sprig)
1 cup water
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Vodka
3 bottles sparkling sweet rosé (750 ml each) like a sparkling Moscato
12 sprigs of fresh Rosemary for garnish

1.  Place cranberries, rosemary needles and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
2.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve, scraping the sides.  The mixture will be a smooth purée.
3. After the cranberry-rosemary purée has cooled, add the vodka and chill in the refrigerator.

To assemble the cocktail, fill a double old fashioned glass with ice and pour 1 ounce of the vodka cranberry purée. Fill with the sparkling Moscato and stir gently.  Add a sprig of rosemary for garnish.




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Holiday Tamales , Tamales de Frijol

Hello, fellow Vegans, welcome to traditional vegan cuisine, an oft-overlooked dimension of Texas Mexican cuisine.  They are special for holidays and bring friends and family together.

TamalesmlThese bean tamales are in every Mexican American home in Texas.  Well I can’t make such an absolute statement, but I can say that  they were definitely in my home and in every home of my large extended family and neighbors.  Even when we went to Nava, Coahuila, 45 miles south of the Rio Grande, our relatives who lived there served Tamales De Frijol.

Bean tamales are also in southern regions, like in Puebla, Mexico.  But they are slightly different and, of course, in Puebla they are sometimes served with Mole Poblano which is a truly wonderful combination.  We serve ours as is, or with Salsa Ranchera if you really need some additional tang. Either way, your taste buds will will have a holiday celebration.

Recipe: (makes one dozen tamales, or up to 16 if you stretch the masa)

For Masa and Husks:
16 dried tamale husks, Hojas de Maíz, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
1 lb masa for tamales. This is a coarser grind than masa for tortillas. It is called “masa quebrada.”
1/2 cup Canola oil.  I actually use organic palm oil shortening.  It works really great and has no transfats, since it is not hydrogenated. Also, as a solid fat it harkens back to pre-1500, before pigs, when we cooked with absolutely no lard anywhere to be seen.
1/4 to 1/2 cup water if needed

For the Chile Paste:
1 garlic clove
3 Chiles Ancho, cleaned, seeded and deveined
3 Guajillo Chiles, cleaned, seeded and deveined
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cups water
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp salt or to taste

For the Beans:
1/2 lb beans.  If you want to, soak the beans overnight so that they will cook more quickly, 1 1/2 hours. If you don’t soak them (I never do) cooking time will be 4 hours.
1 tsp salt
4 cups water

First, place the corn husks in a large container and cover them with hot water. Let them soak and soften for at least 30 minutes and overnight if you like.
For the Beans:
1. Pick over the beans to remove any small stones or debris.  Rinse them in a colander.
2.In a large pot, add the beans and salt. Cover the beans with 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered. If the beans have been soaked overnight you will cook them for 1 1/2 hours. If they have not been soaked, it will take 4 hours. They are done when completely soft when you press one between your fingers. Note: As they cook,keep checking to make sure you maintain the water level at least 2 inches above the beans.  Add additional water as needed.
3. When the beans are completely cooked and soft, heat a deep skillet on medium heat and add the beans and 2 cups of the liquid.
4. Using a masher, smash the beans until they are smooth and soupy, adding more liquid as needed.
5. By this time you will have made the chile paste, so add 3 Tbs chile paste to the beans and blend. If you don’t have the paste made, just set the beans aside until you are ready to add the chile paste.
6. After adding the chile paste, cook on low heat, uncovered, until they thicken and make a workable spread for the tamale filling.

For the Chile:
1. To devein the chiles, first lay the chile flat on a cutting board and, using a paring knife, cut a slit lengthwise. Then grab the chile with one hand and with the other break off the stem.  Open the chile along the slit and take out the seeds and veins.
2. In a large saucepan, cover the cleaned chiles with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the chiles steep for 15 minutes so that they re-hydrate and become tender.
2. Drain the chiles, discarding the water.  Let the chiles cool a bit so as not to damage your blender, then place the chiles in a blender along with the garlic and cumin.
3. Blend to a very fine paste, adding water as needed. You will need to add 1/2 to 1 cup water.
4. In a Dutch oven, heat the Tbsp Canola oil and fry the chile paste until it begins to change color and most of the liquid has evaporated. There will be splatter, so be prepared for it.
5. Add the water and simmer for about 15 minutes and then adjust the  salt. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon, have a complex, non-green, non-pungent flavor. I think it tastes delicious.

For the Tamale Masa:
1.  In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, add 1/4 cup of the chile sauce to the masa and mix thoroughly.
2.  In a saucepan heat the oil to the point just before it shimmers.
3. Adjust the mixer to low and SLOWLY pour the hot oil (not warm but hot) into the masa to incorporate. It will sizzle as it makes contact. (watch out for splatter).
4.  When the oil is incorporated, turn up the mixer to medium and mix well.  Add water as needed to make a thick batter, a bit thicker than pancake batter.

To assemble the Tamales:  
1.  Beginning 3 inches in from the pointed end of the husk, use a small spatula or spoon to spread 2 Tbs masa on each corn husk.
2.  Spoon about 1 1/2 Tablespoon of the bean filling lengthwise on the masa, then curl the husk, enveloping the filling.
3.  Fold the pointed tip up laying it on the side opposite the seam.  This will keep the seam closed.
4.  Stand each tamal, open-end up, in the steamer basket, forming a circle of standing tamales leaning inward. Place some corn husks on top, then a kitchen towel and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
5.  Steam on high heat,for 45 to 50 minutes.

¡Buen Provecho! y ¡Feliz Navidad!

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Scallops “À La Provençale” – The French in Texas

I think everyone loves and enjoys scallops.

This recipe is from my favorite chef champion of French cuisine, (next to Jacque Pépin), Julia Child.  The one tip is that the oil must be very hot when you add the scallops.  This keeps them crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  The French in Texas have a story that begins in the 1600s when the native Karankawas on our Gulf coast, found the first French immigrants near Matagorda Bay (Port Lavaca). CoquilleProvencalesml Matagorda Bay is where scallops are most abundant today.  They are the smaller bay scallops, juicy and delicious.  Archaeologists have found mounds of discarded scallop shells, called middens, evidence that they were a substantial source of food.  The middens date back to what is called the early Archaic period, 10,000 to 8,000 years ago.  That’s a long time that we’ve been eating and enjoying scallops on our Gulf coast. ¡Me gusta!

I learned this recipe from my favorite chef champion of French cuisine, (next to Jacque Pépin), Julia Child.  The one tip is that the oil must be very hot when you add the scallops.  This keeps them crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  The French in Texas have a story that begins in the 1600s when the native Karankawas on our Gulf coast, found the first French immigrants near Matagorda Bay.

The scientific name for our Texas bay scallops is Argopecten irradians amplicostatus. They are found from Galveston down to the Laguna Madre along the Texas Gulf Coast.

In 1686 the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, better known as Sieur de la Salle, set up a small fort, near Matagorda Bay.  Things didn’t turn out very well with the French-Karnkawa relations.  History reports that the French stole canoes and other goods from the Indians and even attacked some of them.  Smallpox  killed nearly all of them as well as Karankawas.  In 1688 the Karankawas went ahead and “destroyed the fort, killing many of the colonists, adopting others, and carrying off most of the manufactured goods.” (La Vere)

But on a happier note, there are many signs that French and Indigenous cuisines have enriched one another, and we can all sit at the table to savor these scallops, bay or sea, that everyone enjoys.

Recipe (For 8 Large Sea Scallops)
8 Fresh Sea Scallops (about 2 cups)
4 ounces  Olive Oil
2 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Shallots,  minced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbs Parsley, minced
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 Lemon
Salt & Black Pepper to taste

1.  Wash in cold water and dry the scallops. Season them with salt and black pepper, drizzle with lemon juice and place them in the fridge until ready to cook.
2.  Just before you are ready to cook them, dredge the scallops in the flour so that they are thoroughly coated.  Then place them in a sieve and shake them so that all excess flour falls off.
3. In a 12″ skillet, heat the olive oil on high heat.  When the oil begins to shimmer in the pan, making waves, add the scallops, taking care not to crowd them. Keep the heat on high.  After about two minutes the bottom will be golden brown, so you can turn them over and cook for another two minutes.  I then toss them to brown all sides.  After 5-6 minutes they are done.
4. Turn of the heat.  Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute, then add the butter and parsley and swirl.

Serve immediately with steamed rice and snow peas.

Bon Appétit!



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Chipotle Turkey Tostadas


Chipotle Turkey Tostada is a variation of the Puebla dish, “Tinga” whose base is tomatoe, onion and chipotle.

I made these with turkey leftover from yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast.  The combination of tomato, onion, garlic and chipotle  is the basic flavor profile that is used in the classic dish known as “Tinga.”  Served in Puebla and central Mexico, It is usually made with shredded chicken or pork, sometimes beef.

Guajolote, turkey, is of course native to Mexico and so it takes well to chiles and tomatoes and that’s why I like to treat it as a “tinga” dish, served on tostadas. If you like the “slightly gamey” flavor of turkey, I  think you’ll like how the chipotle accentuates the flavor of the wild.  I add laurel and just a bit of tomillo (rosemary) for aroma. Served on the crispy tostadas the textures are interesting and delicious.  The crispiness of the tortilla begins to soften in the areas that meet the soupy chipotle turkey, so you’ll taste partly crunchy, partly melting, hmmmm.


Dried chipotle (top) with two chipotle in adobo

Ingredients (makes 8 tostadas)
8 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
Canola oil to brush the tortillas
4 cups turkey meat, shredded or thinly sliced
1 Tbs Canola oil
2 1/2 cups yellow or white onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
3 canned roma tomatoes with 1/2 cup of the juice (of course you can use fresh ripe tomatoes)
3 chipotle chiles in adobo
1/4 tsp fresh Rosemary, minced
1 large laurel leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water


Baking the corn tortillas makes them perfectly crispy and reduces the amount of oil.

Preheat oven to 350°F
1.  Place tortillas on cookie sheets and brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with Canola oil.
2.  Bake for 15 or 20 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy.  Set them aside.
3. In a blender, add the tomatoes, tomato juice, garlic, salt and water and blend into a smooth purée. Set aside.
4.In a large skillet heat 1 Tbs Canola oil on medium heat and cook the onions until they are translucent.
TurkeyTingaPanSpoon5. Add the tomato mixture, laurel leaf and rosemary, and bring to a boil.
6.  Add the turkey, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to thicken slightly.

To assemble the tostadas, just spoon a generous amount of the steaming turkey a including the tomato liquid, onto the tostada. Top with the shredded lettuce.  Each of your guests can assemble their own.  Sometimes you can place a side dish of queso fresco or shredded queso panela to top the tinga before you add the lettuce.


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