Like most Americans I drifted through life not giving much thought into anything authentic about foreign foods until faced with the cold heart truth that we've been lied to through commercials, word of mouth, newspaper and magazines about the origins of some of my childhood favorite meals.
The words enchirito, chalupa and Jose Cuervo isn't in the English dictionary so they must come from the Spanish language proving it's authenticity. This is Mexican tradition and its cuisine at its best right? Franchises wouldn't lie to us, I mean this is all we've known since days of binkys and diapers to swirl brain freezes or so I thought
One day a gorgeous Mexican lady I met whom I now call Miss Cinco de Mayo, Alys Gomez came into my life. With a million dollar smile her knowledge of Mexican history changed everything I knew about Mexican cuisine and the history of Mexico's Cinco de Mayo. I couldn't help but get lost in her big beautiful dark eyes as she explained to me that to know and cook Mexican cuisine first I needed to forget everything I've known and understand the basics starting with what Cinco de Mayo really is.
Alys eagerly explained to me how the fifth of May is often mistaken as the date Mexico declared independence from Spanish colonial rule by "whities" as she playfully calls me!
The holiday actually commemorates the 1862 battle of Pueblo, where Mexicans beat French colonists trying to expand their rule into Mexico. General Ignacio Zaragoza led a rag tag group of Mexicans into battle. Zaragoza and his men fought with honor and were victorious while holding on to Mexico's already hard fought independence dating back to 1821.
Pueblo's victory wasn't the deciding factor, but was enough to lift Mexico's fighting spirit for the next five years of war proving Mexico would not be subject to foreign rule ever again. Miss Gomez told me how Cinco de Mayo to Mexicans is what St Patrick's Day is to the people from Ireland.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Mexico consists of more than shots of tequila and dining rooms of drunk people. It's filled with parades, street fiestas, food and mariachi bands.
I asked this silk haired senorita if she would have me cook any authentic Mexican meal for her what would it be. Without hesitation she told me thru broken English, her death row meal would be enchiladas made like she remembered her mom's in Mexico. NOT THE AMERICAN VERSION! So my research began. After all, I wanted to spend more time with this Mexican maiden. I was determined to win her heart with just one dish, the enchiladas that would remind her of her childhood and home she misses so much.
This recipe I created is as authentic as any I found only I added ingredients I felt would've made my lovely Alys and her Madre proud. Hopefully you too can win the heart of your own Miss Cinco de Mayo as I did mine. ¡Buen provecho.
AUTHENTIC MEXICAN ENCHILADAS
- 2 boneless chicken breast
- 2 C chicken broth
- 1/4 white onion, quartered
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed
- 5 serrano peppers
- 1/4 white onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 pinch salt
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- Thinly sliced jalapenos
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
In a saucepan, combine chicken breast with chicken broth, one quarter onion, a clove of garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt.
Bring to a boil, and then boil for 20 minutes.
Reserve broth, set chicken aside to cool, and discard onion and garlic.
When cool enough to handle, shred chicken with your hands.
Place tomatillos and serrano chiles in a pot with water, enough to cover them.
Bring to boil, and continue boiling until tomatillos turn a different shade of green (from bright green to a dull, army green).
Strain tomatillos and chiles, and place in a blender with another quarter piece of onion, 1 clove garlic, and a pinch of salt.
Pour in reserved chicken broth, so that liquid just covers the veggies in the blender by about an inch.
Blend all ingredients until they are completely pureed.
Pour salsa in a medium saucepan, and bring to a low boil.
Pour oil in a frying pan, and allow to get very hot.
Slightly fry tortillas one by one in hot oil, setting each on a paper towel afterwards to soak some of the oil.
Finally, dip slightly fried tortillas in low-boiling green salsa, until tortillas become soft again.
Place on plates, 3 per person.
Fill or top tortillas with shredded chicken, then extra green sauce.
Top with crumbled cheese, chopped onion, sliced jalapenos and chopped cilantro