"I know this picture looks muted and gloppy but that sauce is all pumpkin seeds, haunted with epazote, with just a tinge of heat."
When I kind of trash talked chimichangas last week I did so because I wanted to stick up for underdogs like this one. You know, they don't look the best at first, but really are far more complex and tasty. I realize it was not quite fair, and that there is a cheesy, greasy part of my heart that Tex-Mex delight.
But there's also a time for complex and layered dishes like this one from The Spicy Food Lover's Bible. The Yucatecan dish isn't exactly simple, but it can be made in less than an hour, and it has everything I love in Mexican cuisine.
I know this picture looks muted and gloppy but that sauce is all pumpkin seeds, haunted with epazote, with just a tinge of heat. Oddly, the dish comes out tasting almost cheesy, which must come from the hard-boiled eggs. It's fascinating. The pumpkin seed sauce is there to cover every inch, but the tomato sauce is almost like a salsa. Just a bit in each forkful wakes up your taste buds.
Oh, and about those red onions. They're not necessary, but totally worth it if you have the time. Follow this Rick Bayless recipe—it's the second item on the page.
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 3 serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh epazote
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and finely ground
- 8 corn tortillas
- 6 hard-boiled eggs (follow these steps)
- Pickled red onions (optional)
Add the tomatoes, chiles, epazote, and broth to a medium-sized saucepan. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, strain mixture saving the liquid and the contents. Discard the epazote.
Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Transfer onions and garlic to a blender along with the tomatoes and serranos. Blend until smooth.
Pour the other tablespoon of oil into the large skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high. When hot, add the sauce and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
Pour the stock into a sauce pot set over medium heat. Slowly stir in the pumpkin seeds. Cook until the mixture is very thick, about the same as cream.
Warm the tortillas slightly on a clean skillet set over medium-high heat for a few seconds on each side. Dip each in the pumpkin seed sauce, and then transfer to a platter. Divide the chopped eggs between them. Top with the rest of the sauce. Spoon some of the tomato mixture on top. Serve with pickled red onions, if you have them.