Week 4 Cookbook Challenge – Mexican Food Made Simple


This was another of MGG’s choices, a book we love, from a writer and chef I love and with memories of many happy meals MGG and I have had at Wahaca. And a few I’ve had there without her, that have involved considerably more tequila!


Mexican Food Made Simple


I’ve made quite a few things from this before, and always consult it when making guacamole, and have poached a few chickens and done mole poblano a few times too. But we chose to make a two course meal, one a Wahaca favourite, and one that is surely a favourite on many household menus.


Quesadillas with chorizo


First up, we made chorizo, potato and thyme quesadillas, something we’ve often ordered at Wahaca, where our order usually comes straight off the street food menu. These are quick and easy, incredibly tasty, slightly indulgent and a snack that I think I may well rustle up quite a few times more! Delicious!

Complete opposite of this is the “easy, speedy chile con carne”. Thomasina does say that it’s not a Mexican recipe but with it being such a favourite she wanted to include a version. I’d had this before at a friend’s house (we try not to mention the fortune her husband spent on a courier to get the right chillies there on time to cook for said event) and it is delicious.


Getting our spice on for slow cooked chilli


The spicing in this is amazing, and is about flavours, not necessarily heat. The recipe calls for ancho chillies and chiles de arbol, which I’d recommend sourcing (in a timely fashion) from Cool Chile Co. But the chillies are only part of the story, as there’s also cumin, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay and oregano, which makes for such amazing contrasts.


Silverside and chorizo ready for slow cooked chilli


The other big surprise might be that there is no mince involved, but slow cooking of something like stewing steak, or silverside. I used a 1kg joint of Aberdeen Angus silverside, as you need this to start out in fairly big slices. The 3 hours cooking renders it to gorgeous tenderness, although in my case I cooked it for 8 hours in my slow cooker, to much the same effect. The 1kg made about 9 portions, so very economical, even given that it was good meat to start with.

I don’t make enough from this book, but every time I do make something then I really do enjoy the flavours, as they are varied and suprising. Maybe I’ll do a few more in time for Dia Los Mortes starting November 1st. Even if not, this book is still a keeper in my eyes.


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

2 thoughts on “Week 4 Cookbook Challenge – Mexican Food Made Simple”

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    Mary says:

    Sounds like another one to look out for for my Teen.

  2. Mary, I love this book although not cooked huge amounts from it. That said, they are all very clear recipes and everything I’ve cooked has tasted fabulous. It’s a keeper for me!

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