Last week, we celebrated the culinary diversity of Utah by sharing three local residents’ recipes from their homelands in Ukraine, Guatemala and Brazil.
This week’s trio of cooks offer the dishes of their native Mexico — proving that even one country contains tremendous variety.
Mercedes Chavez, of Ogden, remembers watching people in Guadalajara, Mexico, eat torta ahogadas, or drenched Mexican sandwiches, when she was a child growing up there. The sandwiches were drenched in sauce and served in a bag so they could be eaten on the go. “They were very messy,” said Chavez. “You need a lot of napkins. ... When I make it for my kids, it reminds me of when I was in Mexico. When we made it at home, it was like a party.”
Tortas Ahogadas (Drenched Mexican Sandwiches)
1 pound whole roasted tomatoes
12 rehydrated chilies de arbol
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 chopped onion
1 clove garlic
Salt to taste
Sliced red onion rings to taste
2 pounds carnitas (fried stewed pork)
6 birote or bolillo rolls
Puree roasted tomatoes in the blender.
Separately puree chilies de arbol, water, white vinegar, onion, garlic and salt. Strain the mixture.
Split the rolls in half and fill them with chopped carnitas meat. Finally, add the tomato puree and chile puree, and decorate with the red onion, marinated with vinegar and a pinch of oregano. Serve on a deep plate with a spoon. Feeds six people.
Maria Mendez, of Ogden, came to the United States from Mexico when she was 21 years old. “For the weddings, for the birthdays, for the quinceaneras, most of the people made the mole and tamales,” said Mendez.
3 ounces pasilla chilies
3 ounces mulato chilies
3 ounces New Mexico chilies
3 ounces negro chilies
3 ounces California chilies
2 ounces sesame seeds
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 stick cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
About 10 almonds, crushed or ground
8 ounces saltines, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
About 5 cups chicken broth
Toast chilies and sesame seeds. Simmer chilies in water, blend and strain.
Cook chocolate, cinnamon, raisins, almonds, saltines and sugar together in saucepan. Add chicken broth.
Mix all ingredients together in blender and puree.
Pour over cooked chicken.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups chicken broth
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with garlic salt. Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add vegetables and chopped tomatoes.
1 1/3 cups lard
6 cups corn flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
Cook beans until soft. Grind beans.
Prepare cornmeal with lard, corn flour, salt, baking powder and hot water (as necessary).
Spread cornmeal in corn husks. Top with beans and roll up.
Steam 10-15 minutes until cornmeal doesn’t stick to corn husk.
Lulu Anaya, of Ogden, came to the United States from Mexico when she was 20 years old. Growing up near Guadalajara, Mexico, Anaya had rice, beans and salsa with every meal. Having a quesadilla was a treat. “I have fond memories of grinding the tortillas by hand and making them,” said Anaya. Anaya’s family prepared the meal about once a month.
Mexican Chicken Quesadilla
Guajillo puya chilies
Cook the chicken as desired. Slice the guajillo puya chilies, serrano peppers, carrots, avocado and lettuce. Place chicken and chopped ingredients on cooked corn tortilla. Top with sour cream.