Chicken Mole Tacos

Mexican is on my list of best 3 food cultures in the world along with Japanese and Italian.

I can’t get enough of those flavours and spices and my addiction is only growing stronger after a recent trip to Mexico City, Chiapa de Corzo, and Oaxaca.

Santa Maria asked me to develop three recipes inspired by real Mexican food. After attempting a ceviche tostada and tlayuda, I challenged myself with the most traditional (and complex) Mexican sauce – mole!

Typical of the Oaxaca region, you can find thousands of recipe of this cocoa-based sauce. I made one I think lends itself to Italian tastes for this chicken mole taco recipe.

Ingredients for two people:

Chicken Mole Tacos

– peanut oil
– 500 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
– 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
– 1 cup bloody orange juice
– onions, sliced
– 2 teaspoons taco seasoning mix
– 1 cup pistachios
– garlic cloves, to taste
– 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
– 1 teaspoon ancho chili pepper
– 1 teaspoon pasilla chili pepper
– 2 fresh green chili peppers
– 1/4 cup raisins
– 1 teaspoons dried oregano
– 30 gr Mexican chocolate – it’s dark and grainy. In Italy you can use chocolate from Modica to get the same result.
– fresh cilantro, chopped
– warm corn and wheat tortillas

Slice the boneless and skinless chicken thighs. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned. Transfer the chicken into a larger pot, together with its juice.
Add the broth and the orange juice. Reduce heat to medium-low when boiling; cover and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and cook until they are golden. Add pistachios, garlic, cumin, and chillies.

Transfer the chicken into a large bowl. Pour chicken and its broth into the onion mixture. Add raisins and oregano to the saucepan. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand until chocolate melts and the sauce mixture cools slightly, about 15 minutes.

Blend the sauce mixture until smooth.
Serve your chicken on warm tortillas, add the mole sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.

Add some red radish and, if you like it, a dollop of sour cream – just whisk plain yogurt and lemon juice together with salt and pepper to taste!

Voila!

This series of three recipes is brought to you thanks to Santa Maria products, available in Italy. All opinions are my own.

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lauraChicken Mole Tacos

Oaxaca: A Living Still Life

I like random connections. I like meeting people through work and then seeing them again on the other side of the world.

A couple of years ago I shot a project in Milan with Stephen Torres, after we were introduced by Jackie De Giorgio.
After few days in Mexico City and a week in the incredible Chiapa de Corzo, my Mexican journey continued in Oaxaca.
There, this January, Stephen and I found ourselves enjoying warm days in Mexico, celebrating good food, music, and the launch of his new Mezcal at the beautiful Casa Oaxaca.


The light and the colours, the lines and shadows from the architecture – everything in the tiny capital of Oaxaca state feels purposeful.

Oaxaca: a living still life.

Here my personal recommendation if you are planning a trip to Oaxaca.

Start the day with a coffee at Café El Volador.
If you are into nature and succulents, visit the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca – unfortunately, you can only access the garden with a guided tour, but it’s still worth it!
Stop for a drink at Sabina Sabe. Get some tacos con mole at Las Quince Letras.
Treat yourself with a 8-course lunch at Criollo, designed by Javier Sánchez for the Chef Enrique Olvera.

Enjoy the beauty and the calm of Oaxaca.

 

Where to sleep
Un Sueño, Valle de Huajes
Casa Oaxaca

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lauraOaxaca: A Living Still Life

Tlayuda, the Mexican Pizza

The first time I had a tlayuda was in Chiapas, at a restaurant in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

Their version was very simple and looked like an interpretation of Mexican pizza using black bean paste instead of tomato sauce.

But it wasn’t until I went to Criollo Restaurant in Oaxaca that I had the version of tlayuda I fell in love with: a chorizo and chicharrón tlayuda with seasonal vegetables toasted in a clay oven.

Of course, my homemade version is in no way comparable to that, but I’m must confess I was pretty impressed by the final result!

This is an easy-to-make recipe if you want to try this Mexican Pizza in your kitchen!

Ingredients for two people:

Vegetarian Tlayuda
pizza tortilla
– 200 gr black beans
– 100 gr goat cheese – perfect substitute for hard-to-find Oaxacan cheese
– 1/2 red chicory, chopped
– 10 pieces of red radish, sliced
– 3 leaves of kale, chopped
– 1 avocado, sliced
hot pepper sauce
green jalapeño
fajita seasoning mix

Soak the black beans for 6-8 hours or overnight. You are supposed to drain and rinse beans before cooking, but usually I use the same water. Once they are cooked, smash them to get a black bean paste.

Spread the paste over the pizza tortilla. Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the tortilla.

Put the tortilla into a cast-iron skillet and cook it at low heat, until the cheese is melted and the bottom of your pizza is crispy. Add fresh vegetables of your choice and top the tlayuda with hot sauce, green jalapeño, and spices.

Squeeze a lime over it and the tlayuda is served!

This series of three recipes is brought to you thanks to Santa Maria products, available in Italy. All opinions are my own.

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lauraTlayuda, the Mexican Pizza

Fiesta Grande de Enero, Chiapa de Corzo – 2018

After a first stop in Mexico City our journey continues to Chiapas.

The first plan was to land to Tuxtla Gutiérrez airport, rent a car and use the magical town of Chiapa de Corzo as a base to discover the natural beauties and towns of Chiapas.

As soon as we arrived in Chiapas we understood that renting a car was going to be more trouble (and cost!) than it was worth.

We quickly changed our plans, took a cab to our hotel in downtown Tuxtla Gutiérrez and after a less than restful night, we moved on to Chiapa de Corzo for the famous Fiesta Grande de Enero.

This festival is a UNESCO world heritage and one of the most traditional in Chiapas which celebrates three patron saints: the Señor de Esquipulas, San Antonio Abad and San Sebastián Mártir. 

After a few hours spent trailing behind a marathon on the only street to Chiapa de Corzo we arrived in the mountainside town of Chiapa de Corzo — it was well worth the wait. As our taxi climbed the steep, narrow streets of the Colonial Spanish town my eyes were filled with colours of the houses and music filled the air as the townspeople prepared for the festival. 

La Ceiba Hotel then became our home for the week, with the promise to go back to Chiapas soon to discover more of that beautiful state.


I keep those colours, smiles, traditions as one of the best memories of Mexico.

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lauraFiesta Grande de Enero, Chiapa de Corzo – 2018

Ceviche Tostadas

When you come back from a trip and you miss food and flavours from the country you just visited, there is only one thing you can do to fight the saudade: cook them yourself!

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share three recipes with you inspired by dishes I had in three different Mexican cities.
First stop, Mexico City: ceviche tostadas.
Don’t think it’s just some raw fish on a tortilla; the secret is called leche de tigre!  

Like most traditional recipes, you can find different versions of leche de tigre, but this is the family recipe of a friend and I think it’s incredibly good!

Ingredients for two people:

Leche de tigre
– 100 ml fish broth
– 100 ml lime juice
– ginger, to taste
– a small piece of garlic
– a slice of onion, chopped
– cilantro
– black pepper
Tostadas
whole wheat tortilla
– 200gr  fresh – and previously frozen – raw fish
– 1 ripe avocado
red jalapeños
– cilantro

Mix all the ingredients for leche de tigre and let it rest for a couple of hours. (Or blend if you prefer!)
Marinate the fish in this juice for at least 30 minutes. Add a little bit of avocado and the red jalapeños to the marinade to finish your ceviche.

In a non-stick pan, cook the tortillas on both sides: once they are dry and crispy you have freshly made tostadas!

Finally, top the tostadas with the ceviche, add a pinch of black pepper and some cilantro leaves, and enjoy!


This series of three recipes is brought to you thanks to Santa Maria products available in Italy, all opinions are my own.

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lauraCeviche Tostadas