4 Mexican Recipes to Try on Cinco De Mayo

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| photography by Alex Lepe |

Everyone knows Texans have a strong affinity for Mexican. We love our tacos, fajitas and stuffed jalapeños. And no TexMex meal can begin without chips and queso. But it seems we always have to go out to get our Mexican fix. Let’s change that. This month, I’ve put together what I hope will become some of your go-to recipes for make-at-home Mexican dishes. From a stunning pozole verde that gets its rich color from tomatillos, to a red onion and radish-topped enchilada, these four dishes will take you straight from kitchen to table.

Chicken Tinga Tostada
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large onions, sliced into rings
3-4 chipotle chiles (canned in adobo sauce), or to taste
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon salt
Tostadas
Mexican crema
Sliced avocado
Sliced radish
Cilantro for garnish

1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add half of the large coarsely chopped onion and the two finely diced garlic cloves. Add chicken to the boiling water and reduce heat to low. Simmer until just cooked through. Remove the chicken, allow it to cool, then shred.
2. In a heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat, add oil and sauté the sliced onions until softened but not brown.
3. In a blender, combine the chipotle chiles to taste, the adobo sauce from the can, the tomatoes, the remaining half of the chopped onion, the two garlic cloves, chicken bouillon powder, and salt. Puree until smooth.
4. Add the puree to the sautéed onions in the pot and simmer 5 minutes. Add the shredded meat. Stir and cook until heated through, another 5 minutes or so. Add the tinga mixture to warm tostadas and garnish.

Ground Beef Enchiladas
1 (1 1/2-ounce) packet powdered dry enchilada mix
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 cups water
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas or 6 (8-inch) corn tortillas

1. Combine enchilada mix with tomato paste and three cups water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain fat.
3. Add garlic salt, parsley
flakes, chili powder, and vinegar, and mix well.
4. Add 1/4 cup of the prepared sauce to the ground beef mixture.
5. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce in a 12 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish.
6. Place 1/4 cup of meat mixture on each of the tortillas.
7. Roll tortillas and place seam side down in the baking dish.
8. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas.
9. Sprinkle top with grated cheese.
10. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Chorizo-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
5 large poblano peppers
1 small red onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound raw Mexican-style chorizo, removed from casings
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (6-ounce) can corn, drained and rinsed
1 medium Roma tomato, diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, plus more to garnish
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/3 cup Mexican crema
3/4-1 cup jack cheese, shredded
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the peppers on top. Roast them under the broiler until the skin becomes blackened and bubbly, turning every few minutes to char evenly, about 8-10 minutes. After the peppers have roasted, carefully transfer them to a large bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the peppers sit for 20 minutes to cool.
2. While you wait for the peppers to cool, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the chorizo for about 5 minutes, gently breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the onions, black beans and garlic. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Then, mix in the tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Add tomatoes, corn and 1/2 cup of the jack cheese to the bowl with the meat mixture and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Carefully peel the skins off of the roasted peppers, and then slice the peppers lengthwise on one side to create a slit. Gently remove the seeds, and then spoon the mixture into the cavities of the split poblanos and place them on a baking sheet, split side up. Pull the pepper up around the filling and press gently to help it keep its shape. If necessary, use a toothpick to hold the peppers together near the bottom. Top with remaining cheese.
5. Put peppers back under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Sprinkle with additional cilantro and serve.

Chicken Pozole Verde
7 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
4 boneless chicken breasts, halved
1 pound tomatillo, husked and halved
1 large onion, quartered
1 poblano chile (cored, seeded and quartered)
2 serrano peppers, seeded and quartered
2 jalapeños, seeded and quartered
5 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 (15-ounce) cans white hominy, drained

1. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and simmer over very low heat until they’re tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred the meat.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the halved tomatillos with the quartered onion, poblano and jalapeños, smashed garlic and chopped cilantro. Pulse until coarsely chopped, stopping occasionally and scraping down the side. With the machine on, add 1 cup of the broth and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a large deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil until simmering. Add the tomatillo puree and cook over medium heat until the sauce turns a deep green, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
4. Pour the green sauce into the broth in the casserole. Add the hominy and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the shredded chicken to the stew, season with salt and pepper and cook just until heated through.
5. Serve the pozole in bowls, topping with sliced onion, avocado, Mexican crema, tortilla chips, lime wedges and cilantro if desired.  

Special thanks to Central Market for providing the food.
For more on Beth Maya, please visit foodbybethmaya.com.