tinga

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Tinga is a chicken dish that originated in Puebla, Mexico. It’s perfect for tacos, tostadas, salads, or even as a topping for nachos. There are various ways to prepare this dish but the recipe below is simple and easy to prepare and it contains all of the main ingredients that make this dish so popular. This recipe can easily feed a group of six so adjust the ingredients according to the number of guests you are entertaining.

Makes 12-14 tacos

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (you will need 3 cups of shredded chicken, white and brown meat combined)

12-14 corn tortillas or corn tostadas

5 Roma tomatoes

1/4 small white onion

4 garlic cloves

2-5 canned chipotle peppers in adobo (adjust amount according to the level of spiciness you prefer)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1 cup water

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. each garlic and onion powder

1 tbsp. dried oregano, finely crumbled

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp. chicken bouillon (adjust according to taste)

4 avocados

2 cups crumbled queso fresco

Lime wedges

– In a blender, add tomatoes, garlic, onion, chipotle peppers and water. Blend until smooth.

– Transfer contents into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add all seasonings and bay leaf. Stir and continue cooking for 20 minutes on medium heat.

– Remove pay leaf.

– Add the shredded chicken into the sauce and stir well.

– Stir in cilantro.

– Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste. The chicken bouillon is enough to salt the dish but feel free to add regular table salt if you prefer.

– Assemble tacos or tostadas by placing 3-4 tbsp. of chicken tinga and top with avocado slices and queso fresco. Serve with lemon wedges.

Provecho!

One last thing… Tinga leftovers are awesome! You can make a variety of dishes with any leftover chicken Tinga like these below:

Chicken Tinga soup: Place Chicken Tinga into a medium pot, add vegetables of choice, broth, and extra seasonings. Top with avocado slices and queso fresco.

Chicken Tinga “chopped” salad: Heat Chicken Tinga on the stove or microwave and set aside. Assemble your vegetables of choice and top with Tinga and creamy dressing. I used cabbage salad mix and added cucumbers.

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Beef Green Enchilada Casserole

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Enchiladas are a staple in many Mexican households and I love that they can be prepared in a variety of ways. I usually serve enchiladas rolled in the traditional way but when I am entertaining a large crowd, I find making a casserole is less-time consuming. You can adjust the spiciness of this dish by altering the amount of jalapeños. Also, to keep your tomatillo sauce from tasting sour, do not cook the tomatillos too long. Remove them from the stove once their skin begins to darken but they remain firm. Adding a pinch of baking soda when it’s time to blend them also helps.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

7.5 lb. flank steak

15 corn tortillas

2 cups shredded Mexican white cheese such as Oaxaca

10.5 oz. can cream of mushroom

12 tomatillos, peeled, and washed

6 jalapeños, stems and seeds removed

4 Roma tomatoes

1/2 small white onion

6 garlic cloves, peeled

handful fresh cilantro

3-4 chicken bouillon cubes (adjust according to taste)

1/2 tbsp. salt

cooking oil

8×12 casserole dish

– In a pot, add flank steak, 1/2 tbsp. salt, 1/4 white onion, and two garlic cloves. Cover with water and cook until steak is tender and shreds apart easily. Once cooked, shred steak cut into 1-inch strands. Set aside in a covered container.

– In a large pot, add tomatillos, tomatoes, and jalapeños. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook only until the tomatillos begin to change color but remain firm to the touch – about ten minutes.

– Drain water and transfer contents to a blender, Add 1/4 white onion, 4 garlic cloves, and a pinch of baking soda. Blend until smooth. Add chicken bouillon and blend until well incorporated.

– In a large pot, add 1 tbsp. of cooking oil and heat. Add sauce into the pot and cook on medium for 10 minutes.

– In the blender, blend cream of mushroom and cilantro. Stir into the tomatillo sauce and continue to cook for another 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

– Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste.

– *Optional* Before you begin to layer the ingredients in your baking dish, you can lightly fry each tortilla and then place them on paper towels to drain any excess oil.

– Cover the bottom of a baking dish with a few tablespoons of sauce. Then add a layer of tortillas and cover them with a few more spoonfuls of sauce. Add shredded beef and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Continue layering ingredients until your baking dish is complete.

– Bake in the oven at 4000 degrees for twenty minutes or until the cheese melts.

– Serve with a side of rice and beans.

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Guava and Cheese Crepes

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The combination of guava and cheese is very popular throughout Latin America. They are two ingredients found in many popular pastries from pies to empanadas. ‘Dulce de guayaba’ (guava candy) and queso fresco can also be served side by side and paired with your favorite wine. DSC04628The guava paste used in this recipe can be found in the Latin or Hispanic section at your local grocery store. There are also various online stores that carry this and other products used to prepare your favorite Latin dishes. The paste found in most markets is a deep red but sometimes you will also find guava paste that is a yellow-brown and I typically prefer that kind over the one photographed above. Fell free to use any white cheese you prefer but I suggest using ricotta because it has a very subtle flavor. The guava paste can be very sweet and for this reason, I wouldn’t recommend using cream cheese or any other salty spread. But it’s entirely up to you!

Ingredients

Makes 9 crepes

Crepes:

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

2 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. melted butter

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

Filling

15 oz. ricotta

1/2 lb. guava paste (approx. 1 cup chopped)

1/4 cup water

whipped cream (optional)

– In a mixing bowl, combine all of the crepe ingredients. Whisk together but do not over mix. Set aside.

– In a blender, add guava paste and 1/4 cup water. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

– Lightly grease the bottom of a 10 inch pan and heat on medium for 2-3 minutes.

– Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Lift the pan from the stove and rotate to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of batter.

– Return crepe to stove and cook for 1 minute or until the crepe begins to bubble and the edges begin to lift.

– Using a spatula, gently lift the crepe and flip. Cook for another minute or until both sides are lightly spotted.

– Place cooked crepes in a sealed container or between two plates while you finish the entire batch. This will keep the crepes warm and soft until you are ready to add the toppings.

– To assemble the crepes, add a thin layer of guava paste followed by another layer of ricotta. Fold and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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There are many variations of the famous tortilla soup but if you visit a restaurant in Mexico, this is the version you are most likely to find on the menu. It’s also my favorite. The broth is a simple concoction of tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices. Homemade tortilla chips are the star of this dish although it is also common to add pork rinds. The pasilla peppers add a bitter smokey bite that combines deliciously with the buttery avocado and slightly salty queso fresco. I hope you give this dish a try. Provecho!

Serves 4 appetizer portions or 2 entrée portions 

8 Roma tomatoes

2-3 dried pasilla peppers, stems off, deseeded, and chopped

1/2 small white onion

3 garlic cloves

1 jalapeno (optional)

1 tbsp. tomato paste

Handful fresh cilantro with stems

2 ¼ cups water

3-4 corn tortillas

1/2 cup crumbled panela cheese or queso fresco

1/2 cup unsalted/unseasoned pork rinds (optional)

1 large avocado, cubed

2-4 tbsp. sour cream

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 cube tomato bouillon

2 cubes chicken bouillon

Cooking oil

– Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeño into a blender and blend until smooth.

– In a large pot, heat 1 tsp. cooking oil. Carefully pour the tomato mixture and stir. Cook for 5 minutes on medium high. Stir in water, tomato paste, bouillon cubes, and pepper. Cook on medium high for 20 minutes or until broth thickens.

– Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp. of cooking oil into a pan. Heat. Chop pasilla peppers into small pieces. Add pasilla peppers to the pan and lightly toast for about 1 minutes stirring constantly to keep chiles from burning. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Set aside.

– In the same pan, add enough oil to fry the tortilla strips. Slice corn tortillas into thin strips and fry until golden brown and crispy. Place them on a paper towel to drain excess oil and set aside.

– Chop queso fresco and avocado into small cubes. Set aside.

– To serve, first assemble each plate by combining a few tortilla chips, pork rinds, pasilla peppers, avocado pieces, and cheese. When you are ready to eat, pour tomato broth over the toppings. Top with a dollop of sour cream. Eat immediately while tortilla chips are still crisp!

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Creamy Poblano Soup

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This cream made with Poblano peppers can be enjoyed in various ways. It is the perfect sauce for a pasta topped with a grilled chicken breast or the perfect topping for a nice fish filet served alongside grilled vegetables. Note that the level of spiciness will depend on the chiles you picked but if you prefer a more mild soup, you can control the heat by adding more milk.

Makes 2 appetizer portions

6-8 Poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, and deseeded

1, 7.6 can of media creme (can be found in the Latin section of your grocery store)

1 cup whole milk

2 garlic cloves

1/4 small white onion

1 tbsp. chicken bouillon (more or less according to taste)

– Add all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

– Pour contents into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally.

– Taste and adjust seasonings according to taste.

You can top this soup with Poblano pepper strips or your favorite Mexican cheese. I recommend queso fresco or panela.

Notes:

Remove all seeds before blending the Poblano peppers by running them through cold water but only for a few seconds in order to maintain the charred flavor.

Chicken bouillon gives this dish a distinct flavor. You can use salt instead but the flavor will be slightly different.

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This is one of my husband’s favorite recipes year round. I love it too and prefer it over the typical chili made with ground beef. What I love about this recipe (aside from its deliciousness) is that there is no need to use flour in order to thicken the broth. The consistency of chili is obtained by blending a portion of the beans with broth and milk and then it simmers on the stove until it thickens. Hope you give this recipe a try.

Serves 4 appetizer portions or 2 medium (and very filling) bowls

Ingredients:

2 small chicken breasts, chopped into small cubes

2 15.5 cans Cannellini beans

1/2 15.25 can yellow corn

4 roasted green Hatch chiles, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese

1/2 tbsp. chicken bouillon (more or less, according to taste)

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black or white pepper

cooking oil

In a medium pot, add 1 tbsp. cooking oil. Add chicken. Season with a pinch of salt and cook until slightly browned.

Meanwhile, drain the beans. Add 1 1/2 cans of beans into a blender reserving half a can. Add milk and water and blend until smooth.

Once chicken has cooked, pour the bean mixture into the pot. Add green chiles, corn, the rest of the beans, and the heavy cream.

Add chicken bouillon according to taste (about 1 to 2 tbsp.) Season with pepper.

Simmer for 20 minutes on medium low stirring frequently to keep the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

Serve immediately and top with shredded Chihuahua cheese.

Enjoy!

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Picadillo

Picadillo

Picadillo is a common dish found on Mexican restaurant menus making it a popular filling for burritos, gorditas, and tacos. It is very simple to make and requires only a handful of ingredients.

Makes 2-3 burritos (approximately 6-8 corn tortilla tacos)

1 lb. lean ground beef

2 medium potatoes, cubed small

2 Roma tomatoes, cubed

2-3 jalapenos, chopped (seeds removed)

1/4 white onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

handful fresh cilantro, chopped

1 – 1 1/2 beef bouillon cubes (adjust according to taste)

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

ground black pepper

1/4 cup water

cooking oil

– In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tbsp. of cooking oil. Add meat, onions, garlic, jalapenos, and potatoes and saute until the beef begins to brown.

– Add 1/4 cup water and beef bouillon. Stir until bouillon dissolves.

– Add tomatoes and cook picadillo stirring occasionally  until the potatoes soften.

– Add cilantro, black pepper (according to taste) cumin, and garlic and onion powder. Stir. Adjust seasoning according to taste.

Serve with a side of Mexican rice and tortillas or use to fill gorditas or taco shells. Enjoy!

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Camarones a la Diabla

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Camarones a la Diabla is one of my favorite ways to eat shrimp – ‘Diabla’ is Spanish for she-devil.  Everyone has their own version of the dish and the heat level can be adjusted according to your taste but for the most part, these shrimp need to be SPICY! My version also has smoked bacon which adds another dimension of flavor.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

16-20 large, fully cooked shrimp

4 pieces thick smoked bacon, chopped

1/4 white onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 Roma tomatoes

2-4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (adjust according to taste)

handful chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tsp. tomato bouillon (adjust salt or tomato bouillon according to taste)

Serve with white rice

– Fill a small sauce pan with water and boil the tomatoes until they soften. In a blender, blend tomatoes, chipotle peppers, and bouillon. Set sauce aside

– In a large pan, sauté bacon until it begins to brown.

– Add onion and cook until it begins to soften. Then add the garlic and continue to sauté for 2 more minutes.

– Add shrimp and tomato sauce to the pan. Stir and heat on medium high for 6-8 minutes.

– Stir in the dried oregano. Taste and add any additional tomato bouillon (or salt) according to your taste.

– Remove from heat and stir in fresh cilantro.

Serve with a side of white rice.

Enjoy!

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