If you don’t believe that authentic Mexican cookery is “whole” and healthy, you need to take a deep dive into Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon 2014), the first truly comprehensive bible of authentic Mexican home cooking, by living culinary legend Margarita Carrillo Arronte. This volume documents over 30 years of the author’s travels and cooking experiences around the country.

Put aside all you think you know about Mexican food. Forget the chalupas, taquitos and quesadillas you’ve tasted in fast-food establishments. Open your mind and taste buds to 700 abuela recipes passed through generations and showcasing the rich diversity and flavors of Mexican cuisine. It will open a new culinary door for you.

Try this delicious recipe for an authentic taste of the Veracruz region.


16 large jalapeño chiles, dry-roasted

For the picadillo:
1⁄2 C (4 fl oz) olive oil
(divided use)

1 large skinless chicken
breast, sautéed and

1⁄2 white onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

4 tomatoes, chopped

1⁄2 bunch parsley, chopped

3⁄4 C (2 3⁄4 oz) almonds,
blanched and chopped

1⁄2 C raisins, chopped

1⁄2 C (2 oz) green olives,

2 large carrots, finely

5 bay leaves
sea salt and pepper

Recipe Key: C = cup | oz = ounce | T = tablespoon

After roasting, peel the chiles, carefully cut a slit along the length of them and remove the seeds.

To make the picadillo, heat 1 T oil in a frying pan or skillet, add the chicken breast, season with salt and pepper, cook for 7 minutes, and then drain and let cool. Put the chicken in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Heat 3 T oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley, almonds, raisins and olives and cook for 10 minutes, stirring, until fragrant. Add the chicken, then season with salt to taste and remove from the heat.

Using a teaspoon, fill the chiles with the picadillo mixture and arrange on a platter. Serves 6–8.

Source: Adapted from Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte (Phaidon, $49.95), www.phaidon.com/mexico.

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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