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Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos

Serves: makes 6 to 8 chiles rellenos

Chiles Rellenos


6 to 8 poblano chiles (about 2 pounds)

1 batch red sauce or salsa roja (recipe follows)

3 to 4 cups grated melty cheese such as Monterey Jack, mozzarella or Muenster

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil, for frying

To Prepare

To prepare the poblano chiles for stuffing: Place chiles on a tray under the broiler, directly on the grill, or directly over the open flame. I prefer to broil them. Whatever method you choose, turn them every 2 to 3 minutes for a total of 6 to 9 minutes. They must seem charred and blistered on the outside, while the flesh must be cooked but not burnt. Place them immediately in a plastic bag, close it tightly and let them sweat for 10 to 20 minutes. Lastly, under a thin stream of cold water, remove the charred skin, which should come right off. Make a slit down one side of the pepper and remove the cluster of seeds and veins. Once cleaned, pat them dry.

Stuff each of the poblano chiles with about 1/2 cup grated cheese, or as much as will fit, allowing them to close. You may seal with a toothpick. Place 1/2 cup flour on a plate, roll the stuffed chiles in the flour and let them sit. The flour coating will help the batter coat and stay on the chiles.

To prepare the batter: In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Gently, on low speed, fold in the egg yolks and only beat enough so that they are incorporated, a few seconds.

To cook the chiles: In a large casserole, heat about 1/2-inch of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, test the oil, by dipping a teaspoon of batter into the oil; if there are active bubbles all around it, it’s ready. Dip each of the stuffed and floured chiles into the egg batter, making sure that they are entirely covered in batter.

In batches, place them in the hot oil without overcrowding, trying to have the side that was open or sealed with the toothpick facing up. Spoon some of the hot oil on top, so that it will seal the chile. Fry for about 2 minutes per side, flipping genly with a slotted spoon, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel covered drying rack or platter.

Heat the salsa roja. Serve the chiles with a generous amount of salsa roja spooned on top. Alternatively, you can place the chiles in a casserole and top with the heated salsa roja. Eat while hot and melty!


Red Sauce
Salsa Roja

Serves: makes about 4 cups


2 pounds ripe tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, with skin on

1 1-inch thick slice of a large white onion (about 2 ounces), outer skin peeled off

3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

To Prepare

Place the tomatoes and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are completely smooth, cooked and mushy.

Place tomatoes and garlic in a blender along with the onion and salt, and process until completely smooth.

Heat the oil in medium saucepan, set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour in the tomato sauce, cover with a lid partially and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the chicken broth, stir and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, until well seasoned and lightly thickened.


Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole

Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole
Cazuela de Tamal de Pollo en Salsa Verde

Serves: 12

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Cazuela de Tamal de Pollo en Salsa Verde" />


Vegetable oil to grease the baking dish

1 batch of corn dough or masa from tamal recipe

1 batch salsa verde (recipe follows)

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups Mexican crema, or Latin-style cream, crème fraiche or sour cream

2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated Oaxaca cheese, mozzarella or Monterey Jack

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a large baking dish with oil. Spread half of the tamal dough or masa in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside 3/4 cup of salsa verde and combine the rest with the shredded chicken. Spread the chicken and salsa verde mix on top of the masa. Cover with the rest of the masa in a second layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for an hour.

Remove from the oven. Carefully remove the aluminum foil and spread on the remaining 3/4 cup of salsa verde. Top with the cream and cheese. Place back in the oven, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese completely melts and begins to brown along the edges. Serve hot, cut into squares.


Salsa Verde

Serves: makes about 4 cups


2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

2 garlic cloves

2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, or more to taste

1 cup cilantro, leaves and upper stems

1/4 cup roughly chopped white onion

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil

To Prepare

Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and chiles in a pot and add enough water to cover. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatillos change in color from bright green to a pale green, are cooked through, and are soft but are not coming apart.

Transfer the tomatillos, garlic, chile (you may want add only 1 chile at first), and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Incorporate the cilantro leaves, onion and salt and process again. Taste for salt and add more if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add the other chile in pieces until you reach your desired heat level.

In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, pour the oil. Once hot, pour in the salsa verde, bring to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat.

Allow to cool to room temperature and serve. Or, once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks.


Basket Tacos

Tacos de Canasta

Serves: makes 12 tacos

Tacos de Canasta


Vegetable oil for frying

1/2-inch slice of white onion

3 garlic cloves

12 corn tortillas

1/2 cup finely sliced scallions (or cebollitas de cambray in Mexico)

1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped, more or less to taste

1 pound roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro or epazote

1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) requesón or farmer’s cheese

To Prepare

Prepare a basket: Line it with large, thick layers of plastic wrap to cover the entire interior of the basket (they should be big enough that they cover the interior of the basket and fold over the top). Place a couple kitchen towels in the bottom of the basket on top of the plastic. Lastly, add butchers’ style paper or parchment paper on top of the kitchen towels and on the side of the basket.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat enough oil to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Once hot, add the onion slice and garlic cloves, let them brown for at least 10 minutes.

Pass the corn tortillas, one by one with a set of tongs, “through hot oil.” That is, quickly fry for 3 seconds per side, and set on a cooling rack or plate covered with paper towels, until all are done.

In another skillet, set over medium heat, pour 3 tablespoons of the onion and garlic seasoned oil. Once hot, add the scallions or cebollitas and chile, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes and salt, and cook stirring occasionally, for about 8 to 10 minutes until completely cooked and mushy. Stir in cilantro or epazote, cook for a couple more minutes and remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, combine the requesón, along with the tomato mixture and season with more salt to taste, if needed.

Pre-heat a comal or skillet over medium heat.

One by one, add a couple tablespoons of the cheese and tomato mix into a fried tortilla and fold into a half-moon shape. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. (You may eat them at this point, but they won’t be “basket” or “sweaty” tacos yet!) Place the filled tortillas on the hot comal or skillet. Heat thoroughly for about a minute per side.

Arrange the heated tacos in layers in the basket as they come off comal. Once you are done, add another layer of paper over the tacos, cover with another kitchen towel, and finally the plastic, which should fold over it all from the interior lining of the basket. Let the tacos rest and sweat (at least 10 minutes) and keep covered until ready to eat.

Serve with your choice of salsa, slices of Mexican avocado or pickled jalapeños.


Mac N' Cheese Mexicano

Mac 'N Cheese Mexicano
Mac 'N Cheese a la Mexicana

Serves: 8 to 10

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Mac 'N Cheese a la Mexicana" />


1 pound penne or elbow-shaped pasta

3 large poblano chiles (about 3/4 pound) rinsed, stemmed, seeded and cut into large chunks

3 cups milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the dish

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups grated Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese, plus 1 cup for topping

1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesano-Reggiano cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped white onion

1 cup corn kernels, shaved from the cob or thawed from frozen

1/2 pound chopped zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)

5 to 6 slices of bacon, fried and cut into chunks (optional)

1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

To Prepare

Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a large baking dish.

In the jar of a blender, puree the poblano chiles and milk until completely smooth. Strain into a bowl, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to make sure you get mostly liquid.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Once it has melted and begins to bubble, add the flour. Cook, stirring continuously to make a roux or paste until you get the desired color (I go for light brown and a toasty aroma), about 2 minutes. Pour the poblano chile mixture into the roux or paste, stirring as you do. Add salt and freshly ground pepper and cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes, occasionally stirring. If it gets lumpy, you can smooth the sauce by beating with a whisk. Add 3 cups of Monterey Jack cheese and 1 cup of Pecorino Romano, mix well, remove from heat and stir until well combined.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until completely soft and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook for a couple minutes. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, mix well and set aside. We don’t want to cook the zucchini here, as it will cook in the oven.

In the large pot, where the pasta was cooked, add the drained pasta, poblano chile sauce and sautéed vegetables, gently toss to mix. If using fried bacon, add it in here! Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with the remaining grated cheeses and place in the oven until the top layer of cheese has melted and begun to crisp along the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.



Grilled Cheese and Bean HeroesMolletes

Serves: 4 to 6

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4 teleras, bolillos, Portuguese buns, petite baguettes or large baguettes, cut into 5- to 6-inch pieces

2 cups refried beans, homemade or store-bought

2 cups shredded Oaxaca, mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or mild cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)

Traditional tomato pico de gallo salsa, or other salsa of your choice

Optional extra toppings: crumbled and fried Mexican-style chorizo, crisp bacon, ham, turkey, sautéed mushrooms or avocado slices

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Spread each piece with 3 to 4 tablespoons of refried beans and top with 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated cheese. Arrange the molletes on a baking sheet as you make them. If you want to add more toppings like ham, turkey, bacon or chorizo, sprinkle them on top of the cheese.

When they are all assembled, bake until the cheese has melted and the bread has a nice toasted crust on the bottom and around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Eat while hot. Serve with pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa, on the side.


May 2, 2013
Chipotle Cheesy Pork Sliders with Avocado Spread

It was my friend Tamara´s birthday party. Her husband, Sean, an American who speaks and acts like a Mexico City native (says a Mexico City native), made the dinner for the 40+ guests. The guests were drinking, eating and laughing until their stomachs were hurting, usual for their home. Sean came up to me when he saw me walk in, gave me a plate, placed two of these sliders on and said, “You are going to like these.”

I ate one. YUM.
I said, “There’s chipotle in them!”
I ate two. OMG.
I said, “I can take that platter”, and ate the remaining four. Of course, he was grilling some more.

No, I didn’t even try his Asian tuna sliders. No, I didn’t try his regular cheeseburger sliders. No, of course, I didn’t try his vegetarian sliders. All I wanted were these Chipotle Pork Sliders. I was hooked.

After I had my fill, I told Sean I had to post his recipe on my blog, as I was sure you all would love them just like I did. He obliged, and I tested his recipe many times giving it a few tweaks (hey, you know, I can’t help myself). I added a bit of onion, garlic and oregano to the meat mix and more chipotle (come on Sean, you talk like a Mexican!). I took some of the mayo out of the avocado spread and added the refreshing chives.

Continue reading Sean’s Cheesy Chipotle Pork Sliders with Avocado Spread

Milanesa de pollo bien vestida
Serves 6

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely crumbled queso fresco, cotija, ricotta salata, or romano
1 tablespoon dried ground chile piquí­n or a mix like Tají­n, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

To flatten the chicken breasts, in between two layers of parchment or plastic paper, flatten the chicken breasts with a meat pallet or a skillet.

On a plate, beat 2 eggs together with the milk. On another plate, combine the breadcrumbs with the cheese, ground chile and salt.

Dip both sides of each flattened chicken breast in the egg mixture, then gently coat both sides with the breadcrumb mixture so that the entire piece is covered. Set the coated breasts aside on a chopping board or platter.

Heat enough oil, in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat, for it to be ¼ inch deep. After about 3 to 4 minutes, when the oil is hot but not smoking, place as many chicken breasts as will fit in a single layer without crowding the pan. If the edges of the chicken breasts aren’t bubbling in the oil, raise the heat closer to medium-high.

Cook for about 3 minutes on one side until golden brown. Gently flip and repeat on the other side. When the second side has crisped, remove it from the pan and set it on a plate covered with a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining milanesas.

The same foods that parents pack into a hearty school lunch in Mexico are perfect for school lunchtime in America. These dishes are so tasty and filling, even grownups will want to take them to work…

Tortas de jamón y queso

2 Mexican bolillo or telera rolls, or small baguettes
1/2 cup refried beans
1/2 ripe Mexican avocado, scooped and sliced
4 slices Mexican queso fresco, Oaxaca or Mozzarella
4 to 6 slices turkey, ham or cooked chicken
1 tomato, sliced and seeded
A couple of thin slices of onion, optional
Pickled jalapeño peppers to taste, optional
Salt to taste, optional
2 tablespoons Mexican-style cream, optional

Slice the rolls in half lengthwise. If they’re not fresh, toast them slightly for a few minutes. On one side, spread a tablespoon of refried beans; on the other, mash 1/4 of an avocado with a fork.

Top the bottom half of the bread with a few slices of cheese, 2 or 3 slices of turkey or cold cuts of your choice, it may also be shredded chicken or meat, and a couple of slices of tomato.

Drizzle a tablespoon of Mexican-style cream and crown your package with as many pickled jalapeños as you wish. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top.

Place the top half of the roll on the sandwich and slice the torta horizontally. Eat it or wrap it up so that it can travel along with you.

Pasta Seca con Jitomate, Chorizo y Crema

1 1/2 lbs ripe Roma tomatoes(about 6 to 8 tomatoes)
1 medium clove garlic
1/2 cup tomato cooking liquid
1/2 cup medium white onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz fresh, uncooked Mexican chorizo, casings removed and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp safflower or corn oil
8 oz dried spaghetti, angel hair or fettuccine, broken into smaller pieces
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 to 2 tbsp sauce from canned chipotles in adobo, plus 1 whole canned chipotle chile for more heat (optional)
6 oz queso fresco, fresh cheese, farmer’s cheese, or a milde feta, crumbled
Mexican or Latin cream, as much as needed (!) or substitute for creme fraiche or sour cream
1 ripe Mexican avocado, halved, peeled, cut into slices

Place tomatoes and garlic in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked, they look mushy and the skins have started to come off.

Transfer the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and garlic to a blender along with the onion, salt and pepper. Let cool slightly and puree until smooth.

Cook the chorizo in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until it has browned and crisped; use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into smaller pieces as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked chorizo to a bowl.

Add oil to the same skillet used to cook the chorizo, over medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti or fettuccine pieces and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the pasta changes color and starts to brown. Do not let it burn!!

Pour the tomato puree on the pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and the color darkens to a deeper red. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and adobo sauce, plus a whole chipotle chile in adobo, if desired.

Mix well, cook uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often to keep the pasta from sticking, until the pasta is cooked through and the tomato sauce has thickened considerably. Discard the bay leaves.

Add the chorizo and stir to incorporate. Divide among individual plates; serve hot, topped with crumbled cheese, fresh cream and avocado slices.

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