EXCLUSIVE: 'Muy Bueno' Mexican cookbook inspired by 3 generations of abuelita's cooking (RECIPE)

When Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack first asked her mom, Evangelina Soza, to teach her some of their family's Mexican recipes one fateful summer a few years ago, she didn't know that it would end with this week's publication of their cookbook, written also with sister Veronica Gonzalez-Smith and photographed by Jeanine Thurston, titled Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Inspired by their grandmother's cooking, Yvette, Veronica and mom started cataloging family recipes in the Muy Bueno Cookbook blog, sharing family stories and one delicious enchilada recipe.


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I spoke with Yvette recently, who told me that the blog started thanks to her daughter who, "came in one night and she said, 'are you going to have all of these recipes written down for when I go to college?' And I thought, oh gosh! I'm going to have to really start writing these down."

This love of cooking led to the growth of their blog. What is Yvette most looking forward to, though? This fall, it's saving her kids' Jack-O-Lanterns to make pumpkin empanadas, making persimmon margaritas for friends and celebrating Dia De Los Muertos by making authentic Mexican marranitos for her abuela's altar.

When it comes to making traditional food, though, she admits that her and Veronica like to lighten things up:

For refried beans, when my grandma used to make them, she used lard. But today we use olive oil, or [other] little substitutions that we make. [...] It's all about keeping the Latin flavor, but not the fat.

Of course, she does allow for occasional indulgences, like her favorite Mexican dish, enchiladas. "I think I could live on enchiladas," she told me. "We grew up eating red enchiladas at my grandma's house." And so, in celebration of the cookbook's release and, because I just begged her to share, here's that oh-so-delicious recipe from the Muy Bueno cookbook (OUT NOW).

Read more ¿Qué más? 3 Delicious slow cooker bean dishes (RECIPES)

Red Stacked Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

Ingredients (for the Red Chile Sauce):
8 ounces California or New Mexico red chile pods 
6 cups water
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt 

Ingredients (for the Red Stacked Enchiladas):
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups of Red Chile Sauce
Salt to taste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce (optional)
1/2 cup canola oil for frying tortillas 
24 to 32 corn tortillas, preferably white corn
11/2 cups shredded Colby cheese 
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
8 eggs (optional) 

Directions (for the Red Chile Sauce):
1. Remove stems, seeds, and veins from the chile pods.  Place in a colander and rinse well with cool water. 

2. Add the chiles to a large pot and add enough water so they are just covered. Bring water to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes turn the chiles over with tongs to make sure the chiles soften evenly. Drain cooked pods and allow time to cool down before blending. Discard water. 

3. Fill blender with 3 cups of water, half of the cooled chile pods, 3 tablespoons flour, 2 cloves garlic, and half of the salt. Blend until smooth. Strain sauce through a fine sieve to remove skins and seeds; discard skins and seeds. Repeat blending and straining process with remaining water, pods, flour, garlic, and salt. If necessary, season with more salt.

4. This sauce can be made in advance and kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Red chile sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to six months.

Directions (for the Red Stacked Enchiladas):
1. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Pour chile sauce into skillet and stir. Taste and season with salt if needed. If the sauce is too spicy, add a small can of tomato sauce and stir. If the sauce is too thick, add water until desired consistency is reached, making sure to add more salt if necessary.

2. In a non-stick frying pan heat canola oil. Drop 1 tortilla at a time into the hot oil and fry until softened, turning once during frying. Drain on paper towels.

3. Assemble enchiladas: Place lightly fried tortillas into the skillet of warm red sauce, one at a time. Coat the tortillas with the red enchilada sauce and place coated tortillas on a plate with a large slotted spoon.

4. Layer a chile-coated tortilla with some shredded cheese and chopped onion. Put another coated tortilla on top and repeat the layers until you have a stack of 3 to 4 tortillas. Continue to make stacks of tortillas until all ingredients are used.

5. Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Fry the eggs over-easy and place one on each stack of enchiladas—optional, but oh so worth the try.

Image via Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor 

Topics: traditional latin recipes  mexican recipes  mexican food  latin cookbook