I read almost everything written about Mexican cuisine. But there’s a problem with most of the English language books. They’re written primarily for the U.S. market and Mexican food prepared and eaten in the United States is different from Mexican food in Mexico. Let me give you one example.
I was looking at Chile Colorado recipes today. The first one I found called for dried Anaheim or New Mexico chiles. Those chiles may be easy to find for people living in Chicago or Los Angeles but I don’t think I could find them anywhere in San Miguel de Allende.
So it was refreshing recently to discover a new recipe book that, in most cases, works for someone who shops and cooks in Mexico. For example, the book’s recipe for Chile Colorado calls for ancho and guajillo chiles, both of which I can find on the shelf of any San Miguel supermarket.
The book is called Taquería Tacos. It was written by a woman called Leslie Limón. Leslie lives in a small town north of Guadalajara so her local supermarkets and not so super local markets are probably very similar to ours. I discovered Leslie because Leslie is a blogger and I’ve always liked her focus on comfort foods. Leslie calls tacos “happiness wrapped in a warm tortilla”. The dishes Leslie likes are the dishes I like.
“I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember”, said Leslie. “Some of my earliest childhood memories are of watching my grandmother make homemade flour tortillas and her famous tamales, and of helping my abuelito–who was the baker in the family–dry our own orejones de manzana (apple slices) to make empanadas and/or capirotada (bread pudding).”
Leslie’s book covers the kind of taco fillings you’ll easily find at San Miguel taco stands…carnitas, rajas, al pastor, chorizo, chicharrón…but some of the taco fillings Leslie shares you can only enjoy if they’re homemade. One of these is the dish (and sometimes taco filling) I mentioned earlier, Chile Colorado. I don’t know of any taco cart, taquería or restaurant in San Miguel where you’ll find it, yet, as the probable predecessor to what the world now knows as chili con carne, it’s an important (and delicious) Mexican dish.
Bon Appetit magazine once called Chile Colorado “the greatest recipe of all time”. That was a version from recipe developer Rick Martinez that originated with his mother. Rick’s recipe included pork which some purists consider a sin and insist the pork version be called carne adovado. Those purists probably didn’t live in a part of Mexico where cows are rare enough that kids hangs out of car windows if they spot them and where pork is plentiful and cheap.
Leslie Limón’s recipe in Taqueria Tacos also uses pork and has some definite similarities with Rick Martinez’ recipe. I asked Leslie Limón if I could share it with Don Day’s readers. Leslie said yes.
Chile Colorado was Leslie’s grandfather’s signature dish. Her abuelito was born and raised in Chihuahua where it is an official dish of the state.
CHILE COLORADO (serves six to eight)
4 dried ancho chiles (stemmed and seeded)
2 dried guajillo chiles (stemmed and seeded)
4 cups water
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup masa harina
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided in half
2-1/4 pounds pork loin or pork stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1 medium onion, sliced
6 cilantro sprigs
2 cups cooked nopales
2 cups cooked pinto beans
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the dried chiles and water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for five minutes, until the chiles have softened. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
2. Blend the chiles and their water, the garlic, masa harina, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a blender until smooth.
3. Lightly grease the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Put the pork in the slow cooker and season with the other 3/4 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, cumin and oregano. Top with the onion and cilantro. Pour the chile purée over the pork. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for six to eight hours. Serve with nopales and pinto beans.
You can purchase Taquería Tacos at your country’s Amazon site. In Mexico, go to https://www.amazon.com.mx/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?__mk_es_MX=ÅMÅŽÕÑ&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Taquer%C3%ADa+tacos
Leslie Limón blogs at lacocinadeleslie.com.