As the year comes to an end this week, I’ve been taking stock of what my life has been up to this point and planning forward to where I want my life to go. I find myself thinking about where I come from and what that all means to me.
Being Latina is about more than the color of your skin or your surname. It’s about the rich culture, the music, the food and the people. It’s a pride that you feel in your heart. It’s not one thing at all; it’s everything.
When I think back to being a child, my mind instantly goes to the smells, flavors and sounds of my parents’ house; the place I grew up. I am grounded in my beginnings because they built the foundation of who I am today.
One thing that instantly transports me to my childhood and is at the core of who I am is food. For better or worse, food has always been a big part of life in our family. Celebrations, milestones and even moments of challenge are always met with the comfort of humble foods that burst with flavors and vibrant colors. Foods that warm your heart, fill your belly and nourish your soul. That is what Mexican food has always been to me.
Taco Bell was something I never even tasted until I was in college and for the record, in Mexico, I never, ever saw a “Mexican pizza” and certainly never ate a hard shelled taco. Well, maybe I did but it was flat and we called it a tostada. There is pride in the way we make our food and there is love in the entire process, that’s why food is such a big part of the Latino culture.
Recently, I was provided Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s new cookbook, Mexico the Cookbook to review. This book is the first truly comprehensive bible of authentic Mexican home cooking. There are over 700 authentic recipes that you can create at home. It will take you on a journey of discovery through the country’s culinary history, ingredients and flavors that have shaped traditional Mexican cuisine.
There are several recipes for enchiladas, one of my favorite Mexican dishes. So many great recipes inspired me to share my own recipe for Chicken enchiladas.
- 1 lb. shredded chicken breast ( boil chicken breasts for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Let cool slightly, shred)
- Olive oil, enough to liberally coat a skillet
- 12 flour tortillas
- 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
- Minced onion
- 2 lemons
- Garlic powder
- 2 small cans of enchilada sauce
- Sour cream or crème fraîche (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat casserole dish with cooking spray.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil. Once oil is hot, carefully place diced onion in skillet. Sauté the onions until they become soft.
- Add chicken in skillet, salt and pepper to taste. Add the juice of 2 fresh lemons and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder to the skillet. Sauté until chicken is warm to the touch.
- Remove skillet from the heat. Place chicken in a bowl; toss chicken with 1-½ cups of cheese.
5. Empty 1 can of enchilada sauce into a shallow bowl.
6. Dip a tortilla in enchilada sauce. Coat both sides. Spoon fill tortilla with chicken and cheese mixture. Roll tortilla closed. Arrange enchiladas in coated casserole dish. Repeat 11 more times.
7. Gently pour remaining can of enchilada sauce over enchiladas, top with remaining cheese evenly and bake until cheese has melted (about 10-15 minutes).
8. Garnish with sour cream, jalapeño slices and guacamole if desired.
Can easily be made into a meal by pairing with black beans, Mexican rice and elote corn casserole ( recipe coming soon).
If you are over 21, I found pairing my enchiladas with a Casa Noble Tequila Cocktail like the Noble Smash can take dinner to the next level. It’s simple to make:
2 oz. Casa Noble Reposado Tequila
2 oz. Fresh Pineapple juice
2 oz. Cranberry Juice
Serve on the rocks with a lemon twist garnish.
This dish is rich and bursting with flavor. It’s more than just a main course; it is a layering of flavors that feels like a hug from your mama. There is comfort in good food eaten and enjoyed with those you love. Here’s to good food, family togetherness, deep love and abounding success in 2015 and for the rest of your life.
I will be giving away one copy of Mexico the Cookbook to one lucky reader. If you live in the United States and would love access to over 700 recipes for authentic Mexican cuisine, enter below. Giveaway ends 1/08/15!
Disclosure: I was provided compensation/ product for this post but all opinions and thoughts are my own.