In my experience, Mexican food elicits the most definitive reaction from people. A typical response from my fellow co-workers prior to a tasting I organized at work was, “I love Mexican food” or “I will eat the heck out of some enchiladas, don’t dare me” or “I love guacamole,” all with a toothy grin and a lingering look of euphoria in their eyes.
General consensus from family, friends, co-workers, friends of friends, etc is that it is quick, easy, filling and makes you feel happy. Then, the rice, tortilla and bean begin to expand. A miniscule bead of sweat forms along your hairline, both from over indulgence and for those adventurous Minnesotans el fuego or spice. It may be Tabasco, pico de gallo or a family favorite Scorned Woman. Yes, it is a hot sauce and it is HOT with a very beautiful flavor and I highly recommend it. Great with eggs. (Consume with caution)
Mexican food is a beautiful thing and has evolved over the years from hamburger hard shell taco night to tamale pie, tinga de pollo (chicken tinga on tostadas) and sopa de tortilla (tortilla soup).
For me, it has always been a comfort food. The smell of fresh cut onion, garlic and cilantro fills my kitchen along with the thick aroma meat stewing in dried chiles. I lose myself in Mexican cooking and I think I might blackout during this time and in a trance I end up with a delicious meal for 20.
Tamales take a whole day, but I am never too exhausted to eat at least 3 when they finally come leaping out of the steamer onto a plate full of frijoles borrachos (drunken beans) and Elote (Mexican street corn). My next blog will be from a class I taught on Mexican food as well as a tasting I did for my co-workers based solely on ingredients purchased from Trader Joe’s. No dried chiles! It was a challenging adventure.
Today, I am in desperate need of a bowl of homemade tortilla soup. Tortilla soup is my go to when feeling sick, cold, down or just really hungry for Mexican soul food.
My brother loves to eat this as though it will never be made again and I need to buy him his own bag of tortilla chips. (see photo below) I love him dearly and I know he will always and forever love Mexican. To you my brother, I love you. iViva México!
Señorita Tijerina’s Sopa de Tortilla con Pollo
(recipe first published 6/26/2014 on http://www.senoritatijerina.com)
1 lb. chicken thigh
1 T canola oil or other high heat oil (not coconut, too much flavor)
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade, no salt)
2 T cumin
2 T paprika
1 T celery salt
3 T Kosher salt
1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce
2 dried guajillo peppers, seeds removed (may want to use gloves)
1 dried ancho pepper, seeds removed (may want to use gloves)
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven and sauté onion until translucent
- Add garlic and sauté 1 minute
- Add 2 T stock, cumin, paprika, celery salt and Kosher salt, stir 1 minute
- Add 6 cups stock, bring to a boil and add dried peppers and chipotles in adobo sauce, these are very spicy as are the dried peppers, so use sparingly, start with 1 and taste after simmering for 2 minutes
- Reduce heat to medium high and simmer until chiles are re-hydrated 10-12 minutes
- Remove chiles, onion and garlic with a mini strainer and pureé with 1 T of broth
- Add chicken to dutch oven and boil over medium high heat 6-8 minutes
- Add pureé mixture to chicken in broth and reduce heat to low
- Remove from heat
- Season to taste with salt and additional chipotle
Serve with crema (sour cream), queso fresco (mozzarella works as a replacement), avocado, freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice and chips
“Whatever it is you are searching for, I hope you can eat it.”