Anatomy of an Enchilada
Photos by Forrest Anderson
While working on a Mexican/Southwest chapter for a cookbook on tomatoless cooking that I’m writing for people with tomato allegies, I recently looked through a large stack of Mexican and Southwest cookbooks and wrote down the basic ingredients for most of the recipes in them. I discovered something that can vastly simplify Mexican and Southwest cooking. More than ninety percent of the recipes for a wide variety of dishes use some or all of the following spices:
I also discovered that most Mexican and Southwest dishes include the following basic categories – spices; sauces of various kinds (the most common have a tomato base, but other bases can be substituted); meat, poultry or fish; vegetables, whether salad greens, vegetables for sauces and salsas or dried beans; grain, most commonly in the form of tortillas; and cheese of various kinds.
These categories can be combined and cooked in a variety of ways – grilling, roasting, baking, frying, stewing in a crockpot. Once you understand how to combine these basics in various ways, you can quickly put together a delicious Mexican meal from ingredients you have on hand.
The following recipe can help make that process easier. It is a basic seasoning mix for just about any kind of Mexican or Southwest food. Just mix the ingredients in a jar and add the mixture to taste to meat or sauces for use in enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, on nachos or in tortilla soup.
Mexican Seasoning Mix
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice (optional but good in fajitas)
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