One ingredient that I have come to love and use often in my cooking is dried chilies. There are a wide variety of dried chilies available. The dried chilies I use most are Ancho, Guajillo and Arbol chilies.
Cooking with dried chilies is not difficult at all. The chilies are either re-hydrated in boiling water or broth, fried in oil or toasted on a comal. I do recommend rinsing the dried chilies before using them to remove any dust, and removing the stems and seeds before pureeing in a blender.
The first chile I'm going to tell you about is Chile Ancho. It's a very flavorful (not too spicy) chile used in Mole, Pozole and Enchilada Sauce.
Next is the chile guajillo. In Mexico, the chile guajillo is known to "pinta, pero no pica." (It adds color, not heat/spice.) The use of chile guajillo in sauces made with chile ancho give sauces and soups a richer color.
cooking with chile de arbol, I am finally at a point that I can now use 2 chilies! Kidding! I can add a handful of chilies to whatever it is I'm making and not burn my tongue off. Chile de arbol is used in salsas like Chile de Molcajete.
|Chile de Arbol de Yahualica (The BEST chile de arbol in the world!)|
Now that I've told you about my favorite dried chilies, let's get to cooking. One of the foods I remember most about my summers and holidays spent in San Luis, Sonora are the tacos. They were deep-fried tacos made with shredded pork or beef and had some kind of chile sauce or adobo. I was young and didn't pay much attention to the actual name. But I never forgot those tacos. Whenever we would visit other states in Mexico, I would look for my favorite kind of taco, but never found it.
It wasn't until Hubby and I moved to Mexico, that I found a taco that tasted just like the ones I ate when I was a kid. A vendor who specializes in Tortas Ahogadas, also offers what he calls Tacos de Barbacoa. Barbacoa is a complicated process of slow-roasting the meat - beef, pork or sheep - in a special oven or a hole dug in the ground.
But I'm not going to make you work that hard for a delicious taco. This is a great recipe to use up any leftover roast.
Easy Tacos de Barbacoa
- 3 Guajillo chilies
- 4 Ancho chilies
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 3 cups shredded pork or beef
- Corn Tortillas
- Vegetable Oil (for frying)
- Onion slices
- Lime wedges
In a medium saucepan, bring the dried chilies and water to a boil over medium heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover and let cool slightly.
Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Puree the chilies and the cooking water they in a blender until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl or saucepan; season with salt. Set aside.
Heat dozen (or more) corn tortillas slightly on a comal or griddle, just until they are soft and pliable. Fill each tortilla with 3 to 4 tablespoons of shredded meat. Fold the tortillas in half; set aside.
Heat 2 cups of oil in a large skillet. Dip each taco in the chile puree.
Carefully, place the tacos in the hot oil. Let fry 1 to minutes per side, until the tacos are crisp. Transfer the tacos to a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil.
Garnish the tacos with onion slices and lime wedges. (Place the onion inside the taco and squeeze fresh lime juice over the meat and onion.) Serve with Refried Beans and Sopa de Arroz (Mexican Rice).