Mexican food offers such a wide variety of flavors and dishes; some are more mainstream and popular while there are others that may not be as well-known but are very traditional and incredibly tasty! When I think about some of my favorite dishes, several come to mind including; pozole, menudo, mole or chiles en nogada, all of which are traditionally eaten during special celebrations. We grew up with our mothers and grandmothers preparing exquisite traditional Mexican stews usually accompanied by warm tortillas and salsa on the side. These stews always delighted our family. The aromas, colors and flavors of Mexican dishes are nostalgic and remind us of family gatherings, sharing with friends and creating new memories. Below are some of my noteworthy favorites:
Pork Rinds in Green Sauce
If you’ve never tasted this amazing dish you have to try it today! This popular dish consists of pork rinds stewed in a savory, almost a tart spicy sauce, that can be green or red and typically served with beans and tortillas. Sometimes they are soft and absorb the sauce and sometimes it’s prepared and are a little crunchy. Personally, I like them soft in green sauce as a taco. Pork rinds are also a very popular snack, particularly in central Mexico where they are very thin and crunchy. There is also a softer version that is more easily broken and fluffier. Whether you prefer them cooked in a sauce or just as a snack with lemon, salt and homemade salsa, pork rinds are delicious!
Chicken Mixed with Nopales
Mixiote is a popular Mexican stew that is common in the areas where the agave plants abound and there is a strong Aztec influence. It consists of steamed meat and spices wrapped in a very thin leaf from the agave plant. Traditionally this dish is prepared with pork or lamb but many make homemade mixiotes with chicken. This dish is more common in Mexico because it is easier to find the agave leaf to prepare it in but in the United States many have adapted the recipe by preparing it in aluminum foil. This dish is full of flavor because the meat cooks in its own fat.
Charro beans are traditional in the northern parts of Mexico. These beans are cooked more like a soup with onions, cilantro tomatoes and spices. Many also add meat such as sausage, bacon, chorizo or ham for added flavor. Charro beans can be served on their own or as a side dish with rice, grilled meat and tortillas. Don’t forget the condiments such as lime, jalapeno, extra onion and cilantro. A Mexican staple that pleases every time!
This dish is one of the most common in Mexico and is very easy to prepare. Chicken Tinga is shredded chicken cooked in a rich tomato sauce with lots of onion and seasoned with chipotle peppers. It’s a nutritious because of its high protein content and a healthy option because it requires very little fat to prepare. Many serve it with rice and beans and others use it for tacos or tostadas with added sour cream, cheese and lettuce. Delicious!
This is a classic Mexican dish is made with roasted, deveined and seedless poblano peppers filled with various ingredients. There are many possibilities and flavor combinations when making this dish depending on what you like. The chiles can be filled with various cheeses, ground beef, rice or beans. Some people top it with a thin red sauce that is almost soupy while others serve their stuffed chiles dry. They are usually served with a side of rice and beans and sometimes topped off with a little bit of sour cream.
Food brings people together and is the common denominator that unites us to each other and our community. Each and every one of these dishes remind us of our culture and ignites memories of meals shared with our families. Our traditions are passed down through family recipes and the sharing of food allowing us to be creative and share a part of ourselves with those we love. You can never go wrong with Mexican stews, they are easy to prepare and easy to adapt and make it your own. What are some of your favorite mealtime memories?
Keep cooking, creating and expressing your love through food…..see you in the kitchen!