If you come here often or peruse my list of recipes, then you know that I adore Italian food. It’s easy, it’s versatile, it’s always a crowd-pleaser, and it’s the food that I learned to cook with, which means I’m super-comfortable with the ingredients and techniques. But one cannot live on Italian food alone. (Gasp!) Why, you ask? Two reasons that quickly come to mind: Variety is the spice of life. Brad loves Mexican food. And so do I. Oops, I guess that was three reasons.
Anyway, the point is that I’m trying to branch out of my cooking comfort zone. I’ve been trying different chicken rubs, making salads, experimenting with burgers, and making my own sandwich spreads. But I still hadn’t attempted Mexican food. Until now…
Last week, I wanted to treat Brad to a date night at home, so I decided to take the plunge. I read a bunch of recipes, came up with an idea, and hit the grocery store on Sunday afternoon. My list was long. I had no idea how to pick a ‘good’ tomatillo. I was scared to death of chopping jalapenos and roasting poblanos. And I came home from work early on Tuesday (after getting side-tracked with other dinner plans Sunday and Monday night) to give myself plenty of time to put the meal together without having a meltdown.
I quickly discovered that my fears were completely unwarranted. By having a plan of attack and being willing to multi-task in the kitchen, I had dinner bubbling away in less than 1 hour and 15 minutes. I even had the kitchen all cleaned up before Brad got back from his mountain-bike ride, which he started before I got home! (Hmm, perhaps that’s where I go wrong – I make it all look too easy.)
I know the result was a success because when I returned to the fridge a couple of days later, this sad little bite was all that remained of the enormous casserole.
You can find the complete recipe here. I even included the nutrition stats. Because I like you.
It’s not as “light” as most of my dishes, but I assure you, it’s still lighter than your typical enchilada dish. The tomatillos not only taste great, but also pack a nutritional punch, boasting tons of potassium (91 mg in one medium fruit), vitamins C & A, calcium, and folic acid. The bison is extra lean and high in protein, but if you want to go even lighter, you could easily substitute shredded chicken or ground turkey.
A few lessons learned from my Adventures in Mexican Food:
- Read the recipe from start to finish – twice – before you start.
- When you’re picking tomatillos, look for husks that are fresh and green. The fruit should also be firm and bright green.
- When you’re chopping jalapenos, use a separate cutting board and wear gloves. Wash your hands, your board, your knife, and anything else that came into contact with the jalapeno seeds immediately. You have no idea how often you rub your eyes while cooking until you chop a jalapeno.
- Home-roasted peppers are pretty easy and taste infinitely better than the ones you pull out of a jar.
- No food is worth fearing.
Next up :: Thai food