|Viva la Pupusa - El Salvador's national snack made at home - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
My lead-in photo is not Mexican at all -- it's a Salvadoran stuffed corn cake called a pupusa. But that's the point, this post isn't about Cinco de Mayo, it's about the melting pot of cuisine that is America's Appetite. I love that we're a country fortunate to be exposed to so many immigrant cultures, be it Korean or Brazilian, and so often, the food comes with them, and everyone benefits. Remove all the fast food mega-chains, and you'll still be left with little shops serving sushi, gyros/kebabs, teriyaki, pho, tacos and burritos, and we don't think twice about grabbing a quick bite at these places. They feel familiar and are as crave-worthy as a plate of mac n' cheese.
|Pupusa-making process - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Avocado, we should have just called you Guacamole Fruit - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Chilaquiles, the most epic of Brinners - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
However you chilaquile-it, the key ingredient is the sauce. Canned enchilada sauce works in a pinch, but once you realize how easy and fast it is to make your own sauce, you'll probably never buy the canned stuff again. This is my stovetop red sauce, which is a combination of several recipes I've looked at online -- my main addition is the chipotle peppers in adobo, which adds a super-smoky richness and pleasant slow-burn heat.
Smoky Red Chili Sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup of all purpose flour (can use masa)
1/4 cup plain white vinegar
1 cup chicken stock (water is fine)
2 whole canned chipotle peppers, plus a tablespoon of the adobo sauce
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (regular oregano is fine)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
*Note: you'll need a stick blender
Bring a medium sized pot or saucepan to medium high heat over the stove. Add the vegetable oil and heat until shimmering, and then add the flour, whisking to combine and cook for about a minute or two, to cook the rawness from the flour. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring back up to a low boil. Check the flavor and add salt and pepper to your taste. Use a stick blender to give the sauce a smooth consistency. Add more water if you want a more loose consistency, or if you need to thicken, let the sauce simmer over a low heat until it's the consistency you want. Adjust for flavor and spice -- vinegar adds a sharpness, cumin will give it a smoky flavor.