OUR 20 BEST MEXICAN COMFORT FOOD RECIPES FOR AN AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FEAST

Kay 'n Dave's Huevos Rancheros

Can’t make it to Mexico this year? No worries, just spend a few weeks cooking authentic Mexican comfort food for dinner. Cool salsas and creamy guacamole help make Mexican food a warm-weather staple, but the country’s homey stews and flavorful braised meats are among our favorites when the days get cooler. Add in satisfying Tex-Mex classics like nachos and quesadillas and you’ve got some of the best comfort food around. We’ve rounded up our best Mexican and Tex-Mex comfort food recipes.

Barbacoa

Barbacoa is a popular weekend breakfast in Oaxaca and the traditional meaty stew is available from multiple vendors at the Tlacolula marketplace food hall. Doña Adolfa has been serving this version, which many locals consider the best, for over 50 years.

Yucatán-Style Shredded Pork Tacos with Achiote (Cochinita Pibil Tacos)

Yucatán-Style Shredded Pork Tacos with Achiote (Cochinita Pibil Tacos)

This pibil recipe, inspired by one used at Chando’s in Sacramento and prepared in a Dutch oven, pops with earthy achiote paste and citrus juices, yielding a luscious, spicy pulled pork.

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos Recipe

Adding beer to the batter helps the fish for these tacos fry up golden brown and lightly crispy.

Puffy Chicken Tacos

Corn or flour tortillas that are deep-fried until they puff are a specialty of San Antonio’s Tex-Mex cuisine. This recipe for puffy tacos filled with spicy chicken and guacamole comes from Rolando’s Super Tacos. This recipe first appeared in the 2012 SAVEUR 100, with the article San Antonio Tex-Mex.

Chicken Quesadillas

A homemade Mexican spice rub adds a gentle heat to the chicken and peppers in this uncomplicated dish.

Carnitas Tacos (Michoacán-Style Braised Pork Tacos)

At the Viva Taco bus in Turlock, Silvestre Valencia adds jalapeño pickling liquid to the pork braise, which tenderizes the meat and keeps it from drying out.

Chile con Queso

This classic Tex-Mex dip comes from Lisa Fain (a.k.a. The Homesick Texan). With both serrano chiles and jalapeños, the dip has a bright spiciness that cuts through the richness of two cheeses. The tangy sour cream added at the end brings it over the top.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca)

This simple pasilla chile- and tomato-based soup is ladled onto tortilla chips and topped with creamy avocado, jack cheese, and tangy Mexican crema.

Jalisco-Style Goat Stew (Goat Birria)

A low-and-slow cooking technique used for this birria, which colloquially means “a mess,” ensures that the meat is fork-tender and the tomatillo broth infused with a rich, meaty flavor. Swap pork for goat, if you prefer.

Classic Guacamole

Mexico-born chef Roberto Santibañez makes his chunky, creamy guacamole in the traditional manner: by first grinding the flavoring agents to a paste using a mortar and pestle, then gently mixing in chopped avocados. With light heat from serrano chile and acidity from a hit of lime juice, this classic dip is a surefire crowd-pleaser.

Potato Tacos (Tacos de Papa)

Inspired by the potato tacos at Loncheria Otro Rollo in Bakersfield, these Tacolicious versions are stuffed with fluffy mashed potatoes and pan-fried until crisp. The accompanying smoky ranchero sauce also would be great as an accompaniment for meat or fish or spooned over eggs.

Kay ‘n Dave’s Huevos Rancheros

The recipe for this take on the classic Mexican egg, bean, and tortilla dish comes from chef Alejo Grijalva of Brentwood, California’s Kay ‘n Dave’s restaurant.

Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo-Cream Sauce (Enchiladas Suizas)

This cheesy, creamy dish originated at a Sanborns cafe in Mexico City in 1950. Its name, “Swiss enchiladas,” alludes to its copious use of dairy.

Nachos

In the 1950s, pickled jalapeños were sold whole or in strips; the now-familiar rings became available, not coincidentally, after nachos gained national popularity. Today, supermarkets offer an array of tortilla chips, shredded cheeses, and salsas, all intended to ease preparation of this Tex-Mex classic. This recipe brings us back to the joys of a simpler nacho.

Cadillac Nachos

A dead-simple, three-ingredient queso sauce is the secret to these nachos, which strike the perfect balance between rich, crunchy, spicy, and bright.

Pork in Red Chile Sauce (Asado de Bodas)

This sumptuous stew makes a satisfying supper when paired with Mexican rice, pinto beans, and tortillas.

Grilled Mexican-Style Street Corn

Chef Chris Shepherd’s take on Mexican-style street corn is served off the cob and comes together easily for a side dish that is especially great for summer entertaining, when corn is in season.

Posole Rojo

Traditionally this dish is part of many celebrations of life in Mexico as well as US border towns from birthdays to weddings to large family gatherings. When it’s made at home or for a party it is best to serve it family style. Posole can remain in the stockpot and be served directly from it with the accompaniments at the table where guests, friends and family can add as much or as little of the ingredients as they please.

Posole Verde

This is a dish common to parts of southern Mexico. Posole is something of a Mexican analogue to ramen; but instead of noodles, posole uses hominy.

Corn Tamales with Tomatillo Salsa

The key to moist, flavorful tamales is not being shy about adding fat. Lard is traditional in Mexico, but you can use softened butter for vegetarian versions. Tamales are best eaten doused in salsa or hot sauce. This salsa verde has a fresh, tangy sourness (and kick of heat if you like) that helps cut through the richness of the masa.

Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas

Roasted Hatch chiles are the most important ingredient for this recipe. You can purchase green chiles fresh or frozen online (find our favorite Hatch chile sources here), available in mild, medium and hot varieties. From July to October, some produce shops and farmers markets carry them fresh. As a substitute, use roasted Anaheim or other green chiles (but don’t tell anyone from New Mexico).

Masa Ball and Tomato Soup

What do you make with a lot of leftover tortillas? Not just tortilla soup, but how about tortilla dumplings? These dumplings, from Mexican cooking sage Josefina Velázquez de León, get pan-seared, then simmered in a rich cream of tomato soup.

Mexican Braised Spare Ribs with Squash and Corn

Braise pork ribs with a homey, vegetable-rich sauce with a touch of heat, and use the leftovers for tacos. This is a classic recipe from Mexican cooking sage Josefina Velázquez de León.

Fried Shredded Beef Empanadas

These crunchy empanadas, featuring shells made with masa, lard, and salt, are filled with tender shredded beef tossed in a spicy salsa. You can prepare the masa and filling in advance, but don’t fill or fry the empanadas until just before eating. Adding baking powder and using an electric mixer are two secrets to light, puffy empanada pastry.

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