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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Chicken Tamales with Pumpkin & Mole Sauce

December 7, 2016
Chicken Tamales @holajalapeno

What are your Christmas food traditions? Eggnog? Gingerbread? A favorite Christmas cookie perhaps? In our house it’s just not Christmas until we have a freezer full of tamales. I wish I could say there was a one and only tamale that I make every year, but to be honest there are too many versions to pick just one and every year I like to try something different but chicken tamales are usually on the menu in some form or another.

This year I settled on a little combo I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. Chicken tamales with roasted cubes of pumpkin and a sweet and spicy mole made from charred pineapple, spicy chipotle chiles, and ripe plantain called Manchamantel.

Chicken Tamales @holajalapeno

If making tamales seems too overwhelming, host a Tamalada!

A tamalada is a tamale-making party where everyone chips in on the chore of assembling the tamales and gets to take a dozen or so home when it’s all over.

Follow these steps to make the perfect tamale!

First things first, gather all you ingredients. If you are making these chicken tamales, have the chicken cooked and shredded, the mole and masa made, and the pumpkin roasted.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Recipe @holajalapeno

Soak the corn husks.

Dried corn husks can be found at any Mexican market and the ethnic aisle of some grocery stores or you can buy them online here. They will need about 2 hours to soak in hot water.


Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Recipe

After the husks have soaked wipe each one dry on both sides.

Set aside any that are smaller than a hand-width wide or any that are torn. Don’t throw them away though you can use them to line the tamale pot or tear into smaller strips to tie the tamales together if you’d like.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Sauce Recipe @holajalapeno

The Steamer

Fill your tamale steamer with water up to the rack where the tamales will sit. I use a 15.5-quart tamale pot like this one, but you can also use a large lidded stock pot fitted with a steamer rack on the bottom. Line the rack with a few soaked corn husks and put it on the stove to boil. Spoon about 1/3- 1/2 cup of masa onto a cornhusk. Make your own masa following the directions below or purchase prepared masa (masa preparada para tamales) at your local Mexican market. Masa preparada is made from fresh ground corn instead of dried cornmeal.  

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Sauce Recipe @holajalapeno

How to Spread

Using a large spoon or a tamale spreader and spread masa evenly over the bottom half of the cornhusk, leaving about a 1/2 inch border on the sides.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Recipe @holajalapeno

Fill with about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin and 2 tablespoons of chicken in the middle.

I used sugar pie pumpkin, but any winter squash would be delicious. You want enough filling to get a little chicken and pumpkin with each bite.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Recipe @holajalapeno

Spoon about a tablespoon of mole sauce over the chicken. 

Don’t be skimpy with the sauce, not enough and the tamale will be dry. It’s okay if a little drips out the top when you are rolling them.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Sauce Recipe @holajalapeno

How to Roll

Using the clean edges of the corn husk, bring the two sides of the masa together to enclose the filling. Press the two sides of masa together to seal.

Chicken Tamales Recipe with Manchamantel Mole Sauce @holajalapeno

Tuck one side of the cornhusk over the masa and pull back gently to make a snug cylinder.

If you’ve ever rolled sushi you will be familiar with this move.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Sauce Recipe @holajalapeno

Roll the husk up and fold the pointed end down.

Place the tamale with the folded-side down and repeat until you have enough tamales to fill the pot. If you want, you can wrap each tamale individually in parchment or waxed paper at this point, place in a resealable plastic bag and freeze to steam later. They will keep uncooked in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Sauce Recipe @holajalapeno

Now, steam away! 

Place the chicken tamales with the open side up in the tamale steamer, stacked against each other so they don’t fall and become unraveled. You want there to be a lot of steam but not boiling away, adjust the heat accordingly.

Chicken Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Sauce Recipe @holajalapeno

Let the chicken tamales cool

About 10-15 minutes, then unwrap and dig in! If saving for later you can let them cool completely then pack into resealable plastic bags. They will keep for about a week in the refrigerator or 2-3 months in the freezer.

Chicken and Roasted Pumpkin Tamales with Manchamantel Mole Recipe

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: About 3 dozen

Fluffy tamales filled with chicken, roasted pumpkin, and a sweet and spicy Manchamantel mole sauce made from charred pineapple and chipotles.

A time-consuming task but definitely worth the work, plus this recipe makes a few dozen so you can have a freezer stocked with enough tamales for a month!

Chicken, mole sauce, and pumpkin can be prepped a few days in advance.

Make sure to soak the corn husks a couple hours before beginning.


    For the Chicken:
  • 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • For the Mole:
  • One recipe Manchamantel Mole Sauce
  • For the Pumpkin:
  • 4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin or winter squash
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • For the Tamales:
  • 50 dried corn husks
  • For the Masa:
  • 6 cups Maseca corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
  • 5-6 cups chicken cooking liquid or store-bought broth


    To Make the Chicken:
  1. Rinse chicken and remove any neck or giblets (save and freeze for later or discard).
  2. Place in a large stock pot with remaining chicken ingredients and cover by an inch or so with cold water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook until chicken is very tender and falling off the bone, about 1-11/2 hours.
  3. Remove chicken to a baking sheet and let cool. Strain broth into a heat-proof container, discard solids. When broth is cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use for the mole sauce and masa.
  4. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces removing any bone, skin, or fat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. To Make the Pumpkin:
  6. Heat oven to 450°F. Toss diced pumpkin with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. You may need to use 2 baking sheets if they are too crowded on one.
  7. Roast until just tender, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
  8. To make the Tamales:
  9. Soak corn husks at least 2 hours in advance in hot water. Use a heavy plate to submerge husks in water.
  10. Combine Maseca, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add cubed lard or shortening rubbing it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it in very small pieces. Add 5 cups of reserved chicken cooking liquid and mix into a dough making sure all Maseca has been incorporated and there are no dry spots. It is best to mix together with your hands so you can feel any dry Maseca.
  11. Add more liquid if the masa is too dry, you want it to be easily spreadable but not runny, like fluffy mashed potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
  12. Assemble:
  13. Fill a tamale steamer with water just until it reaches the rack where the tamales will sit. Use a few of the small or ripped soaked corn husks to line the rack. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and keep covered.
  14. Dry a soaked corn husk with a clean kitchen towel. Hold the corn husk with the wide end toward you. Using a large spoon or tamale spreader, evenly spread about 1/2 cup masa from the middle of the husk down leaving about 1/2-inch border on the sides.
  15. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of chicken and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin down the middle, then top with a generous tablespoon of mole.
  16. Fold one side of masa over the filling until the two edges of the corn husk meet, and holding onto one side of corn husk, pull the other side toward the middle to press the two edges of masa together. Fold the pointy end of the corn husk up over the large end, and place on a clean baking sheet. Repeat with remaining corn husks.
  17. Place tamales vertically, open-side up in the tamale steamer, keeping them snug in the pot so they don't unravel during cooking. Make sure water is at a steady simmer and producing lots of steam. Cover tightly and steam until masa is cooked through and not doughy in the middle, about 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add more water if the pot looks dry.
  18. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the pot. Tamales can also be left in the pot, covered with a clean towel (and then covered with the steamer lid) for up to an hour before serving. They will stay warm and soft if you want to make them in advance.
  19. Serve with remaining mole.

Did you love this recipe? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram! Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

Besos, Kate

A big thank you to Beard + Bonnet and Salt + Wind for the beautiful photos!

Apps, Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes

Fiesta: How To Throw A Christmas Tamalada Party

December 6, 2016
A Christmas Tamalada @holajalapeno

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Shortly after Armando and I first got married we started hosting what has now become our infamous Tamalada Party. The idea was simple, we wanted tamales, but didn’t want to do all the work ourselves, so why not gather friends for an afternoon of chisme and good food, and when it’s over everyone gets a dozen or so tamales to take home!

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

This being our first Christmas back in California we wanted to keep the tradition going so invited our partners in merry-making crime, Meg and the whole Beard + Bonnet crew and Aida and her Salt + Wind gang over for a tamalada party that, unlike year’s past, could actually happen in our backyard!

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Here was the plan:

 Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

To pull off your own tamalada party here’s what you’ll need:

  • About 100 soaked corn husks. This will depend on how many tamales you want to make. Each of our recipes makes about 2 dozen tamales. The husks need to soak a few hours in hot water.
  • About 12 cups of masa. This will make about 4 dozen tamales. You can make it using Maseca (special ground cornflour used for making tamales and tortillas) using this recipe, or buy pre-made masa made from fresh ground corn at a Mexican grocery store.
  • At least one type of filling.
  • A large surface for assembling. We pushed our picnic table and a folding table together and covered them both with a long piece of Mexican oil cloth.
  • A tamale steamer or large lidded pot fitted with a strainer or rack (like a big pasta pot with a strainer liner). This is also a good tamale-making starter kit.
  • Lots of drinks and snacks; tamale-making is hard work! Along with Aida’s delicious cocktail I made my Cranberry Agua Fresca for the kiddos to drink too.

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

Tamalada Party Menu

Follow the links for all the instructions on how to make and assemble each tamale.

Pomegranate Ginger Apple Cider Punch

Cranberry Agua Fresca with Mint and Lime

Cocoa-Chile Sweet Spicy Snack Mix

Dunk and Slather Board

Avocado Bruschetta

Spicy Black Bean and Cheese Tamales

Chicken and Roasted Pumpkin Tamales with Manchamantel Mole 

Sweet Potato Tamales with Chocolate Sauce

Tamalada Party @holajalapeno

 A big thank you to Salt + Wind and Beard + Bonnet for taking all the beautiful photos!

Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey with Morita Chile Gravy

November 11, 2016
Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

I meant to send this post out to you all week but then Tuesday happened and it has just seemed ridiculous to talk about turkey in our current state. The disappointment is real as is the confusion, sadness, nausea.

I’ve tried sorting the whole thing out in my head and am trying to understand—clearly the majority—of America’s intentions. As someone who holds liberal values and who has recently moved from very conservative North Dakota back to very liberal California I think I can say with some certainty that there are good, kind people all over our country. I want to believe that these same people didn’t vote for Donald Trump because they agree with his disgraceful behavior but that they just wanted something different and they truly felt like he could change our system for the better. I guess we will see. I hope they are right.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

I know eating your feelings is not the best coping mechanism but its the one I turn to the most and so if I’m going to get through the next four years it’s probably going to be with food. And margaritas. I also think a good way to temporarily lift your mood is to dive headfirst into an intensive project. So why not take 4 hours this Thanksgiving and make a smoked turkey?

Now smoking a turkey is not like popping it in the oven, walking away, and coming back a few hours later to the perfectly roasted bird. It does take some finesse, some timing, a certain comfort level with your grill, but it’s not rocket science either.

The first step to a smoked Thanksgiving turkey is the brine

The turkey starts the same as you would if roasting, which is to say, with a dry brine. A dry brine is just a fancy way of saying rub the turkey all over with salt (plus I also used minced dried Morita chiles and garlic). Then letting it sit overnight uncovered in your refrigerator.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Make an aromatic broth for the smoked Thanksgiving turkey to cook in

You then place it in a disposable aluminum pan with some stuff that will make it taste really good and will give you the base for your gravy, so we’re talking onions, carrots, celery, herbs, and chicken broth.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

You also want to soak two large handfuls of hickory chips for at least 30 minutes. Soaking them will keep them from burning up too quickly on the hot charcoals and infusing the turkey with delicious, hickory flavor. Side note: you can use other types of wood chips for slightly different flavor; apple wood, mesquite, cherry are all good.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

The trickiest part is maintaining an even temperature on your grill. This is pretty easy to do if you are using a gas grill but with charcoal you will have to keep monitoring the temperature with a grill thermometer (you can go fancy or cheap) and adding more charcoal so it stays hot enough. Once you light the coals, let them get good and hot and covered with gray ash. Arrange them on one half of the grill and put a medium disposable aluminum pan in the middle filled with water. This will help keep the bird moist, maintain the temperature, and be a drip pan.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Start with the turkey breast-side down so it doesn’t dry out the breast meat then, halfway through, flip it breast-side up and cook the rest of the way until the internal temperature reads 170°F.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

The gravy is made from the smoky juices of the smoked Thanksgiving turkey plus extra minced dried Morita chiles, fresh thyme leaves, and white wine. I use the fatty pan drippings and make up for any necessary fat with olive oil so it is a dairy-free gravy, feel free to substitute butter if you’d like.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

What more would you like to know about cooking a turkey? I want you to give it a try so if you need help I am here for you. I have cooked so many turkeys in so many ways so shoot….what you got? Here are a few other ideas to mull over:

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey with Morita Chile Gravy Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 10-12 Servings

The ins and outs of how to smoke your Thanksgiving turkey using your grill, some charcoal, and a few handfuls of hickory chips, plus a spicy, smokey dried morita chile gravy. This is the way to do Thanksgiving.

If using a frozen turkey, give yourself plenty of time for it to thaw. A completely frozen 12-pound turkey could take 4-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator.


    For the Turkey:
  • 12 pound turkey, fresh or thawed completely if frozen
  • 3 dried morita chiles
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • For the Gravy:
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 dried morita chile
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • For the Grill:
  • 2 handfuls hickory chips, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 large bag charcoal
  • 1 medium-sized aluminum roasting pan
  • grill thermometer and meat thermometer
  • 2 large aluminum roasting pans


    Starting the Day Before:
  1. Remove giblets and neck from the turkey and save for another use, or discard. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water and shake dry. Place on a large baking sheet.
  2. Remove stem from chiles and mince them with a sharp knife into very small pieces, removing as many seeds as you'd like to make it less spicy. Combine chiles with garlic and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Season turkey inside and out on all sides with the chile mixture then refrigerate turkey, uncovered, for at least 12 hours.
  4. The Next Day:
  5. Remove turkey from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Don't rinse, brush breast, legs, and thighs with oil.
  6. For a charcoal grill, light charcoal and wait until the briquets are all lit and well ashened then arrange in a half circle on one side of the grill. Fill the medium-sized pan with warm water and place in the middle of the coals as a drip pan. You want to maintain a grill temperature of between 350°F-400°F, attaching a grill thermometer to the vent holes is helpful.
  7. Place one large foil pan inside another then combine celery, onion, and carrot, marjoram, and bay leaves in the top pan. Add 2 cups of broth. Place turkey, breast-side down in the pan.
  8. Sprinkle one handful of the drained, soaked chips directly over the hot coals or to the smoker box of a gas grill. Place the cooking grate one the coals and place the pan with the turkey directly over the pan of water on the bottom with the legs facing the hottest part of the grill.
  9. Cover grill and monitor the temperature, adding more charcoal as needed.
  10. Smoke turkey 1 hour, then flip so it is breast-side up. Add 12-15 briquettes to the coals and sprinkle remaining wood chips over charcoal. Continue smoke-roasting until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170°F.
  11. To fully cook the turkey can take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on the size of the bird and how hot you maintain the grill, figure roughly about 15-20 minutes per pound if the grill stays between 350°F-400°F. After 1 1/2 hours check to see if any parts are getting to dark, like the wing tips or the ends of the drumsticks, if so, cover them with foil.
  12. Once completely cooked, remove roasting pans with turkey from the grill. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes. Save pan with veggies and drippings for the gravy.
  13. To Make the Gravy:
  14. Strain contents of the pan into a bowl, pressing on the veggies to extract as much juice as possible. Pour the drippings into a fat-separator if you have one, if not just leave it in the bowl and let it sit a few minutes to allow the fat to rise to the top.
  15. Spoon fat into a measuring cup, you should have 1/2 cup; add olive oil, or melted butter to make up the difference if you don't have enough. Measure remaining liquid, you should have 3 cups, add more chicken broth as needed. Remove stem from chile and mince as you did above.
  16. Pour fat into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk in flour and let cook, whisking constantly until toasted and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Whisk in minced chile and thyme and let toast 1 minute more.
  17. Slowly whisk in wine then measured broth, pouring in a little at a time, whisking continuously, until all is added. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and let cook a couple minutes, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  18. Carve turkey and serve immediately with hot gravy.

Mains, Recipes

10 Recipes To Try This Week

October 30, 2016
Day of the Dead Party Ideas

Lots of Halloween and Day of the Dead party ideas like Mezcal-Apple Cider cocktails, Cheesy Stuffed Peppers, Rum-Spiked Tres Leches Cake, and more! 

Good Sunday Morning to you!!

Exciting things happening this week:

  • Of course, Halloween!! My kids are going to be whatever costume they can create from “The Halloween Box” and we will attempt to trick-or-treat in our new neighborhood—I hope our neighbors have candy (fingers crossed).
  • Don’t forget to enter the Cookie Baking Basket Giveaway. Lots of good stuff here that you will need for holiday baking season.
  • Dia de los Muertos is this week and if you are doing some last-minute planning today check out my Dia de los Muertos Fiesta ideas.

Now for this week’s recipe inspiration:

The cocktail to toast with for Day of the Dead.

Make a big batch of Aji Picante salsa today and eat it on everything this week. You don’t have to thank me, really.

I can personally attest this is the BEST vegan pozole I’ve ever had.

In case you need to spice up your morning oatmeal game. Mexican Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

A sweet way to incorporate marigolds into your week.

Vegan Tres Leches Cake with Rum Spiked Coconut Whipped Cream pulls at my lactose-intolerant husband’s heart-strings.

What you really want to eat after a long day at work.

Anything on top of a crunchy tortilla works for me

Pumpkin Chicken Chili  has pre (and/or post) trick-or-treating written all over it.

If I don’t make enchiladas for Day of the Dead then I’m definitely going with Cheesy Beef-Stuffed Poblano Peppers.


Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with Cotija Cornbread Croutons

October 25, 2016
Spicy Black Bean Soup Recipe

A spicy slow cooker black bean soup, rich with thick Crema Salvadoreña and topped with Cotija cornbread croutons. Perfect for weeknight meals.

Today I come to you quickly from home, half-packed for our trip up north to Calistoga. I had planned on sharing another pan de muerto recipe with you today because I’m obsessed and I have more ideas for pan de muerto than you actually probably need or want, but yesterday’s test failed to rise—like at all—and I’m too flummoxed to figure it out so I’m just going to tuck that one away for next year. Instead I will steer you in the direction of this spicy, creamy slow cooker black bean soup.

Spicy Black Bean Soup Recipe

Keys To Making Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

This is a recipe I developed for Cacique cheese and is as easy as tossing everything in the slow cooker and letting it bubble away for a few hours while you work or do a few loads of laundry or zone out on the couch. This soup can be as spicy as you’d like. It calls for three jalapeños which you can either lessen or leave the seeds in to make it spicier. I left the seeds in and that soup had some heat!

Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup Recipe

The Secret Ingredient

After a few hours it is time to add some magic: the luxurious tang of Crema Salvadoreña—the whole thing, stir it in and puree it with a stick blender right in the slow cooker pot. This thick, slightly sour cream is what you will find dolloped on your pupusa but also gives a rich depth to soups. If you can’t find it regular ‘ol sour cream will do, but is more tangy in flavor.

Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup Recipe

Don’t Forget the Croutons

Completely optional (but highly recommended) is to top this soup with cheesy Cotija cornbread croutons. The recipe for the cornbread makes way more than you will need for the soup but really, do you ever have too much cornbread?

Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup Recipe

To get the recipe head on over to the Cacique blog! For more weeknight soup ideas click here!

Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole

October 14, 2016
Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole Recipe

Creamy chicken enchiladas covered with a dried hibiscus or jamaica mole sauce. A celebratory recipe for Dia de los Muertos.

The main dish for our Dia de los Muertos celebration had to be a real stunner, so I thought long and hard about what I would bring to Meg’s house for the party. I’d been mulling around a flor de jamaica or hibiscus mole for a long time and it wasn’t until I actually set out to make it that it all came together.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole Recipe

How To Make Jamaica (or Hibiscus) Mole Sauce

Real-deal enchiladas are a bit of a beast in and of themselves so I wanted to make as paired down of a mole as possible, technically speaking. Most moles require several stages of toasting, frying, soaking, and blending to bring out the utmost flavor from all the ingredients. You’ll still find that here but in maybe a more familiar form. I didn’t want to toast the chiles (as you would normally do for a mole) so I simply soaked them in hot water, along with the prunes which give the mole an underlying spicy sweetness and body without overpowering the floral jamica and pear flavors.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole Recipe

The aromatics too are held back from the high, dry heat of the comal and instead fried in a little oil until soft and caramelized. Instead of the warm spices of clove and cinnamon I opted for fresh ginger and in place of any tomato or tomatillo I used ripe, juicy pears.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole Recipe

The king of this mole is really the Jamaica. These burgundy red flowers have such a unique, special flavor and are so emblematic of Mexico. They have a high, brightness that seems right at home in this meal.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole Recipe

For more Day of the Dead inspiration with DIY floral altar ideas from Beard and Bonnet, the entire menu—including the ultimate Mexican Chocolate Pie from Salt and Wind— drink ideas, and more check out this post!

All Photos Courtesy of Beard and Bonnet

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with Jamaica Mole Recipe

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 6

Chicken and crema enchiladas covered with a dried hibiscus or jamaica mole sauce. A celebratory recipe for Dia de los Muertos.


    For the Chicken:
  • 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken, neck and giblets removed and rinsed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup dried Jamaica flowers, rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • For the Mole Sauce:
  • 1 ounce dried Morita chiles (about 8 chiles) stemmed and seeded
  • 1 ounce dried cascabelle chiles, (about 6 chiles) stemmed and seeded
  • 2 ounces dried pitted prunes (about 4 prunes)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 cup dried Jamaica flowers (hibiscus) rinsed
  • ½ cup toasted pecans
  • 1 pound ripe pears (about 3 medium), peeled and diced
  • For the Enchiladas:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 12-14 corn tortillas
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • queso fresco


  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is poach the chicken for the enchiladas. Place chicken in a large stock pot. Add onions, Jamaica flowers, garlic, ginger, salt, and bay leaves. Fill with water until it covers chicken by 2 inches.
  2. Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and let cook until chicken is falling off the bone, at least 1 hour.
  3. Remove chicken from broth and let sit until cool enough to handle. Once chicken is cool, remove all skin and bones and shred the meat. This can be done up to 3 days in advance.
  4. Strain broth into a heatproof container. Remove bay leaves from the strainer and combine the rest of the ingredients in the strainer with the shredded chicken. Reserve broth for the mole sauce if making right away or store in sealable container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Broth can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
  5. To make the mole sauce; bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Place chiles and prunes in a medium heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave to soak until very soft, about 20-30 minutes. Drain.
  6. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add onions and season with salt. Fry until starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook a couple minutes more. Add Jamaica flowers and pears, season again with salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are caramelized and soft.
  7. In three batches in a blender, add a third of the chiles and prunes, a third of the sautéed vegetables, a third of the toasted pecans, and about 1 cup of chicken broth. Blend on high until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and repeat until all ingredients are blended. You will have extra broth which you
  8. Taste mole sauce and add more salt if needed. Set aside if making enchiladas right away or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a week. Mole can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  9. To make the enchiladas: Heat oven to 400°F. Stir cream into shredded chicken mixture and set aside. Have a large plate and a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or large baking sheet ready.
  10. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, carefully add mole sauce (it will spatter!!) and stir, frying the sauce in the oil until toasted and the color has darkened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and keep sauce at a simmer.
  11. Heat remaining oil in a separate large frying pan over medium heat. The oil needs to be shimmering and roughly about 325°F. If you have a thermometer, great, use it! If not stick one edge of a tortilla in the oil, bubbles should surround the tortilla within a few seconds; if not, wait a bit longer for the oil to heat up.
  12. Once oil is hot enough, carefully slide one tortilla in the oil and fry on one side until toasted around the edges, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side 1-2 minutes more.
  13. Using tongs, slide the fried tortilla into the simmering mole sauce. Flip tortilla around until coated with sauce. Transfer to the baking sheet. Fill with about ¼ cup of the chicken filling, roll up and place enchilada, seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  14. Spoon remaining mole sauce over enchiladas and bake until bubbly and crispy on the edges, about 15 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle with onions and cheese and serve.

Breakfast, Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes

Freezer-Friendly Breakfast Burritos

October 3, 2016
Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos Recipe

A filling and delicious freezer friendly breakfast burrito from Katie Sullivan Morford’s new book, Rise and Shine. Stuffed with scrambled eggs and beans.

Oh how I wish I could dole out a nutritious breakfast every morning. Could it please be made with zero dishes to clean afterward and beautiful to boot?

I’m going to admit right here, right now that my children eat their fair share of Frosted Flakes—The Trader Jose’s brand though, which makes them much healthier. At least, that’s what I tell myself as I’m reading the outside of the box—not the part that tells you how much sugar is in them, but the part that says they’re a good source of vitamins B and C (!!!).

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burrito Recipe

I may not make it to motherdom righteousness every morning but never fear because my dear friend Katie Morford wrote the most wonderful breakfast book and then sent me a copy, bless her heart. Rise and Shine is all about making family-friendly, healthy morning choices that are absolutely doable and have me reaching for that Frosted Flakes box less and less.

Rise and Shine Favorites

I have made the Weekday Huevos which uses the genius technique of lightly frying the tortillas with beans already piled on top, making them crispy on the bottom and perfectly warmed throughout, ready and waiting for that egg to appear. Then Kasey went and made the Baked Applesauce Molasses Donuts from the book which had me re-reading the Make-Ahead Muffins, Breads, and Bars chapter all over again.

What I Love About These Breakfast Burritos

But it was this recipe for a freezer friendly breakfast burrito that I have truly fell in love with. The freshness of the zucchini bits add some green-ness to the scrambled eggs without making them watery, as sometimes vegetables in eggs tend to do. Then there’s the whole sausage and beans thing which turns this into a husky burrito made for those mornings when you need something more substantial.

Freezer-Friendly Breakfast Burritos Recipe

The recipe calls for warming the cheese and tortilla in the microwave but I had my cast-iron comal already hot so I toasted the tortilla with the cheese right on that and it worked great (any cast iron skillet would do if you don’t have a microwave).

Katie’s advice on freezing the burritos is to allow the burritos to cool completely, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, then store in a resealable plastic bag. Reheat by defrosting in the refrigerator overnight, remove the plastic wrap and heat in the microwave on high until warmed through, about 45 seconds. I will put my two cents in that even the filling reheats beautifully in the microwave the next day, a surprising victory in my book!

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos Recipe

Freezer-Friendly Breakfast Burritos Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 Burritos

Recipe from Rise and Shine by Katie Sullivan Morford

If you can't find Spanish chorizo you can substitute diced ham, andouille sausage, Polish Kielbasa or cooked chicken jalapeño sausage (which is what I used).


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced zucchini (1/4-inch dice—about 1 small zucchini)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Heaping 1/2 cup diced cooked Spanish Chorizo (1/4-inched dice)
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Four 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Mexican salsa


  1. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the zucchini and sauté until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the eggs. Use a rubber spatula to gently scramble the eggs with the zucchini until the eggs are nearly cooked. Remove the pan from heat, add the chorizo and black beans and stir gently, allowing the heat of the pan to warm them through.
  2. Lay the tortillas on a work surface and divide the cheese evenly among them. Distribute the cheese evenly over the top, to about 1 inch shy of the edge. Microwave the cheese-covered tortillas–1 or 2 at a time—on high for 30 to 40 seconds, until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are warm.
  3. Spoon a quarter of the egg mixture into the center of each tortilla. Roll up "burrito-style" and serve with salsa.

Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Spicy Lime Jalapeño Chicken Soup + A Giveaway

September 28, 2016
Spicy Jalapeno Lime Chicken Soup Recipe

We have a winner!! Congratulations to Shareen! Thank you to everyone who left comments and entered. Stay tuned I have lots more giveaways coming this holiday season!

Soup season is back, and the whole world’s rejoicing!

After three months of crunching on salads I’m yearning for the tenderly cooked vegetables and poached chicken in the perfect bowl of soup.

Spicy Jalapeno Lime Chicken Soup Recipe

The real treat of this spicy lime jalapeño chicken soup is its ability to be a satisfying meal but still leave you feeling light on your toes. It has chicken and white cannellini beans for heft but the broth is infused with spice and lime juice; flavors that will hit the spot. And just in case it is still hot where you are (like here, where we are) this soup is still for you. It’s spicy edge will make you sweat in the best possible way.

Spicy Jalapeno Lime Chicken Soup Recipe

The Giveaway

I’m so thrilled about the return of soup season I’ve got a very special giveaway to share with you so we can celebrate together! Le Creuset has just launched a new collection of Cerise Dutch Ovens with Gold Knobs—and they’re letting me give one to ONE LUCKY WINNER! Not only that, but Simply Organics is also going to throw in 3-4 jars of spices for you to craft this recipe in your very own kitchen!

Spicy Jalapeno Lime Chicken Soup Recipe

How To Enter

All you need to do is leave me a comment below telling me what kind of soup or stew recipes you’d like me to post this season and I will select a winner at random next Tuesday, October 4. You can earn more chances to win by following me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram and leave me a message telling me you have followed. (Sorry–Only open to US residents.) Good Luck!

Spicy Jalapeno Lime Chicken Soup Recipe

Spicy Lime Jalapeño Chicken Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

A spicy jalapeño and shredded chicken soup bright with lime juice and spices like ground cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika. Chopped kale and cannellini beans make it filling without being too heavy.


  • 1 pound 4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3-4 limes, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 jalapeños, diced (seeds removed if you'd like it less spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon Simply Organic ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic smoked paprika
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
  • 3 cups chopped kale


  1. Rub chicken breasts on all sides with the zest of 1 lime, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Heat remaining oil in a large 4 1/2 quart pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes (they won't be cooked through). Add onions, garlic, and jalapeños, and cook until starting to brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add spices and remaining salt and cook, stirring until the spices are toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour. Using tongs, remove chicken breasts to a plate. Using two forks, shred chicken into strips. Return to the pot.
  5. Add beans, kale, and the juice of 3 limes and cook a few minutes to wilt the kale and warm the beans. Taste and add more lime juice or salt if needed.

Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes

Walking Taco Quesadilla

September 20, 2016
Walking Taco Quesadilla Recipe

¡Hola! This post is sponsored by Society Culinaria and Flatout Flatbread. The recipe and opinions however are all mine. Thanks so much for supporting the business that makes this blog possible!

If you don’t have an elementary-aged child who eats school lunch or have never been to a street fair you may be unfamiliar with the walking taco.

Walking Taco Quesadilla Recipe

Let’s review: Traditionally a walking taco is a bag of corn chips (Purists use Fritos, Millennials use Have’a chips, everyone else uses Doritos). Anyhoo, bag of chips, slit open on the vertical side, and topped with seasoned ground beef (or sometimes chili), iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes (or salsa), shredded orange cheese, and sour cream….all in the bag. They hand you the bag with a fork in it so you can shovel all this crunchy, creamy, savory goodness into your mouth as you walk around—hence the name.

Walking Tacos Quesadilla Recipe

I can’t give you a traditional recipe for walking tacos because my husband thinks they are disgusting and maybe a teensy bit racist (thank goodness he doesn’t read this blog!) But, shhhh, here’s a secret, I think they are delicious so I took all the good bits and traded the whole bag business in for Original Flatout Flatbread!

Walking Taco Quesadilla Recipe

Every flatbread variety is low in fat, a good source of fiber and of course perfect for wraps, pinwheels and super easy pizzas. And because we’re not eight-years-old anymore we should indulge a bit healthier than we used to. That’s why we are going with the low-carb, high-protein flatbreads as well as ground turkey for this recipe instead of the traditional ground beef. If you don’t know where to find Flatout Flatbreads click here, but I’d bet you a million bucks your local grocery store has them.

Walking Taco Quesadilla Recipe

Here’s where we’re going with this: A seasoned ground turkey and cheese quesadilla—but wait— with crunchy, salty, corn chips INSIDE. On top you’ve basically got a salad made from all the traditional Walking Taco elements; the tomato, the avocado, the iceberg lettuce shaved super thin. A big ‘ol pile of sour cream (or Greek yogurt if you’d rather). It is a single quesadilla recipe made for one hungry man (or woman) but there’d probably be enough to share. Or double it up and make two!

Walking Taco Quesadilla Recipe

We love our Flatout Flatbread around here! Take a look at what else we’ve made with them:


Walking Taco Quesadilla Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Gussying up everyone's favorite fair food and stuffing it all inside a delicious chewy-on-the-inside and crunchy-on-the-outside flatbread.


    For the Meat:
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 4 ounces ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • For the Quesadilla:
  • Baking spray
  • 2 Flatout Flatbread Original Wraps
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup corn chips (I used Fritos)
  • To Garnish:
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • halved cherry tomatoes
  • chopped avocado
  • chopped cilantro
  • sliced scallions
  • sour cream
  • sliced jalapeños


    To make the meat:
  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and seasonings and stir until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. To make the quesadilla:
  3. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Spray one side of one piece of flatbread. Lay the flatbread, sprayed-side-down in the frying pan. Top with half the cheese, all the meat, and all the chips. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place the other flatbread to cover. Spray the outside of the top piece of flatbread with baking spray.
  5. Cook quesadilla until bottom is browned and cheese is beginning to melt. Carefully flip using a large spatula and brown the other piece of flatbread, about 2-3 minutes more.
  6. Transfer to a cutting board, Cut into pieces and place on a serving plate. Top with all the garnishes you'd like and dig in!

Breakfast, Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes

Mexican Breakfast Buddha Bowl

September 13, 2016
Mexican Breakfast Buddha Bowl Recipe

There are things I make for the blog and there are things I make in real life. The blog recipes are interesting and beautiful and maybe even we all learn something new from them and occasionally slimmed down versions are served at my table but I’m going to try harder to share recipes with you that I (in real life) make often and I hope will actually inspire you to go into your kitchen and make them yourself too.

Mexican Breakfast Buddha Bowl Recipe

I am with you on that Tuesday night when you don’t feel like cooking or really even eating anything other than maybe a glass of wine and some slices of cheese on crackers. But the rub (at least for some of us) is there are those darned other people you brought into this world that you took an oath on your life to feed.

Mexican Breakfast Buddha Bowl Recipe

This bowl resembles (although a bit prettier) something we have for breakfast (but mostly dinner) on the regular. Our dinners (and sometimes breakfasts) usually consist of a big pot of rice served in bowls with stuff on top. It works out well for everyone. The kids can have rice with a hard-boiled egg, some greens, and a slice of cheese and us grown-ups can enjoy a few bolder flavors like chiles, stinky cheese, bitter greens, etc. We all eat with minimal complaining and I feel satisfied that I’ve upheld my oath for one more day.

Mexican Breakfast Buddha Bowl Recipe

Now this is more of a breakfasty type of bowl and so I didn’t include steamed rice, but you certainly could, or cooked quinoa or whatever grain you like best. As a matter of fact, think of this a more of a guide than anything. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of frying your own tortilla strips, just crumble some store-bought chips instead. If you don’t want to season your own beans, you don’t have to do that either. You can buy refried beans and use those or if you are lucky enough to have a Mexican market nearby you can stop by and pick up already made beans there.

Other ¡Hola! Jalapeño recipes I make in real life:

Mexican Breakfast Buddha Bowl Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 Servings


    For the sweet potatoes:
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into long wedges
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ground black pepper
  • For the beans:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • For the tortilla strips:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • For the bowl:
  • 1 large poblano pepper
  • 4 large hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack or Aged Jack cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • 1/3 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese


  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Toss potato wedges with oil, garlic, salt, and Aleppo pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until a fork easily goes through, about 20-25 minutes. Cover with foil and keep warm.
  2. While potatoes are roasting, make the beans. Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add onion, season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and spices and stir in the oil to toast, about 1 minute. Add beans and their liquid and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until thickened. Blend until smooth with a stick blender, if you'd like, otherwise, cover and keep warm.
  3. To make the tortilla strips; heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add strips and fry, turning frequently until toasted and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Char the poblano by setting it over a gas flame or placing under the broiler. Either way, turn frequently with tongs until it the skin is charred on all sides. This will take about 5-8 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. Peel off the charred skin and thinly slice, discarding the stem and seeds.
  5. To make the bowls; divide beans, sweet potato, pepper strips, eggs, Jack cheese, and avocado halves between 4 bowls. Toss arugula with tortilla strips and a sprinkling of olive oil and salt and divide between the bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with cilantro leaves and cotija and serve.