PATI'S MEXICAN TABLE

August 5, 2009 8:40 AM
The crunchiest and tastiest tacos for Paula Deen
POSTED IN: Anytime Antojos , Recipes , Salsas, Pickles and Jams , Sides , Main Courses
TAGS: Best Dishes , Chicken , Fried , Mexican , Paula Deen , Plantains , Rice , Salsa , Salsa Verde , Tacos , Tomato
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As I delightfully accepted (jumping up and down) the invitation to come cook Mexican with Paula, I told her producer, we love her show at home. Not only does it make my boys want to jump into the kitchen but her accent completely cracks them up. That last bit made her producer burst in laughter. Patriz-z-zia, he said, her  accent cracks them up?  What about yours?

Mine?

Sometimes we are the last ones to notice some of our most obvious traits and talents. Growing up in Mexico I used to think I was tall, then I moved to Texas.  After years of studying to become a political analyst, here I am, cooking my life away.

A couple months after the invitation to visit Paula, guess what started to happen?  Even my little gringo boys at home started cracking up at my accent too. "Mami, you don't say feesh, you say fish, not like bee... you know, like dish." Oh well... I am not tall, I am not a political analyst anymore and I do have an accent. 

Accents included and all, visiting Paula's kitchen in Savannah was some of the best fun I've ever had. Thinking about it makes me smile so wide, my eyes barely get the chance to see what's in front of them. She is hilarious. 

This I can say: I am amazed by Paula. She is as scrumptious, funny and generous in person as she is on screen. As real as real can get, and its even better live. I don't know that many people who enjoy food as much as Paula. She just dives into it, the whole thing, the preparing, the cooking and the savoring. So before deciding the menu, I knew the food had to be as yummy as she is. Now that's a challenge.

To start with, how about a watercress and spinach salad with a creamy avocado dressing and some chopped candied pineapple?  Well..., a soft and polite voice from the Best Dishes producers said over the phone, we are not that crazy over salads around here... After many what about this and what about that, and a few responses of Well..., I said... 

"Hey! How about some super crunchy fried tacos with the tastiest creamy tomato chicken filling with a side of a homey and flavorful white rice cooked in a rich chicken broth flavored with celery, parsley, lime juice and a Serrano or Jalapeño chili, topped with crisp on the outside and soft on the inside slices of ripe and sweet plantains fried until their sugar is almost caramelized and some chunky, deliciously tart and lightly spicy Pueblo style green salsa to dip it all in?" Lost my breath there! But then I heard: "That's right up our alley!

One of my boys (my husband) stayed in charge of my other three boys and I went overnight to Savannah. I dragged my comal, which I can't cook without, in one hand and some cooking tools that I'd asked my mother in law to bring from Mexico (you can find some of them here, but it feels more special with the extra effort) in the other hand, so I could share them with Paula.

I couldn't come empty handed to meet such warm Southern host. And what a lovely welcome I got. She made me feel right at home.

Thank you Paula! I will come again whenever you have a craving for any kind of Mexican food. I will be jumping up and down even higher since now I know firsthand what a treat I will be headed for.

For the crispy tacos, Pueblo salsa verde and white rice with plantains recipes click here Paula's Best Dishes. Once show airs on Saturday August 15th at 11:30 a.m. EST. they will be there. I will post some of them here once I come back from camping with my wild boys and thousands of insects. Since I will not be able to see the show when it airs (ugh...), please let me know how it was if you see it!

CRISPY FRIED TACOS WITH SALSA VERDE
Serves 10; Yields 3 cups Salsa Verde


INGREDIENTS
For the Chicken Tacos:
4 pounds chicken breasts, with skin and bones
5 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 pounds Roma tomatoes, skinned
2 whole cloves
8 black peppercorns
½ cup white onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons corn or safflower oil, plus canola oil, for frying
2 bay leaves
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup bread crumbs
10 corn tortillas, heated
Wooden toothpicks
½ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

For the Salsa Verde Pueblera:
1½ pounds tomatillos, husks removed
1 serrano chile, more or less, optional
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
½ cup cilantro leaves, freshly chopped
1 cup white onion, chopped
Grated queso fresco, or Cotija cheese, optional


TO PREPARE
For the Chicken Tacos:
Rinse chicken breast in cold water and add to a large pot. Cover with water and add 4 smashed garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Shred the chicken when it is cool enough to handle. Set aside 4 cups of chicken.

Put the tomatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until cooked through and soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender along with the remaining tablespoon of salt, whole cloves, peppercorns, white onion and remaining garlic clove. Puree until smooth.

Add 2 tablespoons of corn oil to a large pan, over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tomato puree, bay leaves and the shredded chicken and stir. Simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and bread crumbs and simmer until mixture has thickened again, about 4 to 5 more minutes. Mixture will be moist but not too wet, which will be perfect for filling the tacos.

Preheat the canola oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Heat the tortillas on a hot comal or dry skillet over medium heat for a minute. This will prevent them from breaking when rolling into a taco. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling on each tortilla and roll.

You can insert wooden toothpicks through 2 tacos at a time, so they will fry evenly and hold their shape. Once the oil is hot, dip the taco pairs in the hot oil. Fry until the tacos have crisped and gained a golden color, about 2 to 3 minutes. You may want to flip for another minute to the other side. Remove from the oil and put on a plate or tray covered with paper towels. Arrange the tacos on a serving platter and garnish with cilantro.

Serve alongside Salsa Verde Pueblera.

For the Salsa Verde Pueblera:
Rinse the tomatillos under cold water. Put them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, until their color has changed and they are cooked and soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatillos to a blender along with the chile, the garlic clove and a teaspoon of salt. Puree until smooth. Stir in the chopped cilantro and onion. Taste for salt and add more, if necessary. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with cheese, if desired.
Comments

Hi Pati! This is so exciting...I'll be watching you on Paula Deen next week! The tacos sound delicious! :)

Debbie | August 5, 2009 11:25 PM

Pati - This is awesome. I am going to watch the show for sure. The tacos sound out of this world!!! Have fun camping.

Betsy

Betsy Schuman | August 6, 2009 9:17 AM

Dear Pati,
I am honored to have you represent a little of our, “Mexico lindo y querido”, with Paula and the food network. You just single-handedly open the eyes to many Americans that stereo type us. I am looking forward to watching the video and giving you my full review.
I thank you in advance as, I am sure you did us proud.
Kind regards,
Gabriela

Gabriela Calvillo | August 7, 2009 3:02 PM

Mmm, that recipe list sounds completely delicious! I wonder, how many sticks of butter did you and Paula go through while filming the episode?

Chuck | August 8, 2009 11:16 AM

You will not believe this Chuck, but we did not use any butter at all! Just a bit of cream here and there...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Chuck | August 8, 2009 12:40 PM

Dear Pati,
My husband and I just watched you on Paula's Best Dishes this morning. You and Paula were great together! Your recipes made us homesick for the cooking of the desert Southwest where we grew up.

Do you have or are there plans for a cookbook? We certainly hope so for the sake of our tastebuds.

Best wishes,

Maria D. Oneal
Madisonville, Louisiana

Maria D. OnealRequired | August 15, 2009 12:53 PM

Kitchen Network.... Here comes Patiiiiiiiii!!!!!
(and her blender)! Congratulations for a fabulous appearance in national TV!!!! Can you believe it? You have come very far and I'm sure this is just the first of many shows to come. We'll be watching you. Besos, Ana Maria.

Ana Maria | August 15, 2009 1:00 PM

I enjoyed watching you on Paula's Best Dishes and I'm looking forward to trying your recipes. I haven't tried to cook real Mexican cuisine before, but after watching you with Paula, I now have a couple of great recipes to get me started. Do you have a cookbook?
Hope to see you on the Food Network again soon!
Shannon

Shannon Guinn | August 15, 2009 1:05 PM

I saw this Paula episode today and the recipes were just to die for, I cannot wait to try them at home! You were just as cute as can be! Thanks for sharing!

Molly | August 15, 2009 5:47 PM

Pati
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Your television appearance with Paula Deen was PADRISIMO!!!!
You are indeed Mexico's greatest Ambassador for food and culinary cculture. It all seems so easy, and I can't wait to try your dishes. Pati you make it all seem so easy and patriciasmexicantable website is soooooo well done -- making an excellent resource for those of us interested in truly learning how to prepare your dishes.
Buen Provecho
d

David | August 16, 2009 6:25 AM

Pati
I loved, loved Loved! seeing you on Paula Deen's show and I love this website; everything sounds/looks delicious, simple and most of all authentic. I'm living as a student at SCAD in Savannah and it really made me miss my mother's cooking (and very hungry). She's coming back from visiting my grandmother and is sending me some long awaited corn husk tamales! After seeing you on t.v. and seeing this website, I realized that I have to pay attention to my family's cooking and techniques before they are lost or forgotten. Before my sister could call it, I told my mother a while ago that I wanted her molcajete and tejolote when I own my first home (which belonged to her great-grandmother). She agreed, much to my sister's annoyance, but as the only girl she get's to keep everything else in the kitchen!

Good luck with everything and thank you for starting this amazing online resource! And I hope there is a cookbook in the near future!

Abe | August 16, 2009 2:30 PM

I watched your show yesterday and I loved you, your recipes, I am a new fan! I hope that you are offered a show of your own on FN, you fit right in. :)
I also wonder if you have a cookbook out there or one in the works, I'm getting my search engines activated...

Darla ludi | August 16, 2009 7:07 PM

Dear Darla,
Many thanks! I will let you know when I have one out for sure. However, I will keep on posting here on my site recipes, stories, articles...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Darla ludi | August 18, 2009 12:20 AM

Patty,
I felt compeled to do a little research on you after watching Paula Deens show. She is one of the Foodnetwork Chef’s that I have come to trust. My first hit, of course, is this web site and I find myself enjoying your writing as much as I enjoyed watching you cook with Paula. It was just the cutest thing to see the Blendar Pajama’s, oh, and then watching you both inhale all the food you made. It was exactually how my family and friends eat when we’re trying something new and YUMMY! Never would have made it to the table. I look forward to your future writings, and perhaps a future cookbook???

HoneyMa | August 18, 2009 12:25 AM

Dear Abe,
I am so glad it made you hungry and also that you want to treasure and experiment with your family's cooking and techniques, it fills a kitchen with such warmth. And that molcajete will flavor what you cook so deliciously, as it has stored the memories of so many generations of cooking in its own walls. That will make up for all of the other utensils...
So glad also that you like this website! I will keep filling it up with yummy things...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Abe | August 18, 2009 12:27 AM

Thank you!!! I also use the word PADRISIMO all the time! I am very grateful for your comments here and I think they are PADRISIMOS! I hope you like the recipes when you try them. I will keep adding more...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from David | August 18, 2009 12:30 AM

Dear Maria (and your husband too!)
Many thanks for your message. So glad you liked it, it was a lot of fun to be there! I will let you know when I have one out....

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Maria D. OnealRequired | August 18, 2009 12:48 AM

Dear HoneyMa,
You can get one of those blender pajamas too, aren't they cute? Many thanks for your message and I will keep posting more things that hopefully won't make it to the table either!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from HoneyMa | August 18, 2009 12:54 AM

Dear Pati,

I had DVR your show as I wanted to enjoy it with a glass of wine…both Brian and I knew you were going to be good!! But you surpassed all expectations!! We watched it twice, you were engaging and funny…the blender story brought so many story and food to mind I was home sick... I would absolutely watch you religiously on the foodnetwork, they need you!
besos,
Gabriela Calvillo

Gabriela Calvillo | August 18, 2009 2:12 PM

Hi Patti, I am a new fan. I saw a rerun of Best Dishes with Paula Deen you were amazing!!! I have never seen Paula so quiet, perplexed, and amazed. I couldn't stop laughing of joy. You have such a wonderful personality I hope Food Network gives you your own show. And regarding your accent I lived in GA and since I am hispanic too. They would comment in a rather strong accent too "Oh honey, where are you from you have a such a strong accent?". I couldn't help it I would giggle and politely say well I'm Guatemala.
Besos,
We need more people like you!!

Monica Cortes | January 5, 2010 11:27 AM

I like your Post and the alltimes good Informations.

Audria Bohnker | August 23, 2010 3:59 PM

Thank you!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Audria Bohnker | August 24, 2010 12:11 AM

Hello, great article!! I got you bookmarked. Thanks and best wishes

web directory | September 5, 2010 5:55 PM

Loved your show it was the first time I watch it and I found it very interresting. I love to cook and well I love to try cooking new things. I look forward to seeing your next show and trying some of your recipes.

Nora | June 29, 2011 1:48 AM

Oh PATI! I just watched these clips and was saying "Mmmmmm''' right along with you and Paula.
You two are WONDERFUL together in the kitchen!
I think I can almost taste those plantains and rice, too!!

xo,
Gail

Gail | January 10, 2012 11:46 PM

Hey Gail! So nice to see you in here. Thank you so much for leaving a comment and watching! It was truly a blast visiting Paula.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Gail | January 13, 2012 11:42 AM