When you think of Mexican holidays, Cinco de Mayo likely comes to mind. But did you know that this commemoration of a Mexican war victory isn’t actually celebrated in Mexico with the same gusto that it is north of the border? While May 5 may not be a major holiday down south, it has become an opportunity to celebrate Mexican history, identity and cuisine here in the United States – and we thought it would be the perfect time to team up with an esteemed Mexican chef to bring you clean, flavorful, authentic Mexican eats!
Chef Francisco Alejandri Vazquez was born and raised in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, and trained first in some of Mexico’s most acclaimed hotel kitchens, and later, in Canada. His Toronto-based restaurant, Agave y Aguacate (Agave and Avocados) gained a cult following in the city’s avid foodie community and eventually went on to be called “the best Mexican restaurant in town” by Toronto’s NOW Magazine.
The following collection of recipes are a celebration of flavors from his home country, with a tortilla salad inspired by fusion cuisine in the capital – Mexico City – to lime-infused ceviche tostadas hailing from the seaside city of Puerto Vallarta. This Cinco de Mayo, CE and Chef Francisco are bringing you the tools to transport yourself and your loved ones to the flavor-rich nation of Mexico.
Tinga Poblana de Pollo
HANDS-ON TIME: 40 MINUTES.
TOTAL TIME: 50 MINUTES.
4 Roma tomatoes
3 canned chipotle chiles, or to taste
6 oz fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (2 sausages) (TIP: If chorizo is not available, substitute with spicy or mild Italian sausage.)
2 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups shredded roasted chicken
⅓ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1⁄2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional sea salt, to taste
16 6-inch corn tortillas warmed
2 avocados, sliced
⅓ cup full-fat sour cream sliced red onion or Macerated Onions chopped fresh cilantro
1. Broil tomatoes: Heat broiler to 500°F. Place tomatoes on a small foil-lined baking sheet. Broil about 3 inches from the heat, for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until tomatoes start to release their juices and dark blotches on their skins appear. Flip over and place back under broiler until both sides have dark brown blotches. (Do not let the skin burn as they will develop a bitter taste.) Set aside to cool. Add to a blender along with canned chiles and blend until smooth.
2. Remove the thin casing from the chorizo and break apart into a large skillet using a wooden spoon. Cook on low heat to render out fat, being careful not to brown chorizo, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate, leaving any fat in the pan. To pan, add cabbage, white onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft.
3. Add tomato-chipotle mixture to skillet, increase heat to medium and continue cooking until most of the juice has been absorbed and the mixture is almost dry. Return chorizo to pan, stir in shredded chicken and broth and cook for another 5 minutes, or until mixture is moist but not too wet. Add cayenne (if using) and salt.
4. Assemble tacos: Divide chicken mixture among tortillas, top with avocado, sour cream, onions and cilantro.
PER SERVING (2 tacos): Calories: 389, Total Fat: 21 g, Sat. Fat: 6 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 31 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 19 g, Sodium: 408 mg, Cholesterol: 50 mg
The conquistadors of the 16th century were followed by Spanish monks and nuns, who have been credited with some superb culinary creations. In the state of Puebla, Tinga Poblana de Pollo is a result of flavors brought from Europe, such as olive oil, garlic and onion, blended with New World ingredients like corn, avocados and local herbs. While this dish hails from Puebla, it’s now popular all over the country. In Mexican slang, the word tinga is often translated as “mess” or “disarray” – and what a beautiful mess this chicken filling is indeed!
Macerated Onions 3 limes, juiced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
To a small glass or stainless steel bowl, add lime juice. Add salt and mix well to dissolve. Add onions and toss to coat. Set aside for 2 minutes and toss again. Set aside for 4 minutes more and toss again. Onions should be soft and bright in color. Strain and discard juice. Serve as a garnish for tacos, tortas or any other dish.
EAT THE RAINBOW:
This recipe uses a variety of colorful produce, ensuring you get your fill of essential vitamins: Roma tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that protects skin from sun damage; avocados are full of potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels; and carrots are rich in the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene, a nutrient essential for optimal eye health.
HANDS-ON TIME: 25 MINUTES.
TOTAL TIME: 45 MINUTES.
2 7-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup BPA-free canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
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