Fact: Mexican food is a delicious thing (or a series of delicious things flung together, to be more accurate). Fajita (or enchilada, or burrito, or taco) kits are readily available in most supermarkets, with easy-to-follow instructions. It’s up to you to add whatever ingredients you like to make those stuffed tortilla wraps even more mouth-watering.
So why do people go to Mexican restaurants? Is it in the hopes of seeing something different on the menu? Or because it might taste better, despite our best efforts at home?
It’s time to gain a little confidence in your own cooking skills, ladies and gentlemen. With a few simple ingredients, it’s very easy to turn your favourite flavours into a dish so “you” that you’ll never feel the need to settle for a mediocre fast-food burrito ever again. The beauty of the country-inspired invention test is that you’re not bound by any rules. You can put exactly what you want into your concoction and no one can criticize you for it, or say it’s not authentic, because that particular dish didn’t exist before you made it and therefore you have full parental authority over it. All you have to do is label it “Mexican-Style”, as I have here, and you can get away with pretty much anything.
This is what happened to me after a few weeks of obsessing over the idea of a delicious cheese-meat-guacamole combo. I decided to make my own. Here it is:
Mexican-Style Chicken, Chorizo and Pepper Nacho Bake
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, chopped
- 1 hard Spanish chorizo (about 220gr), chopped into small pieces
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1 tin of sweetcorn
- 1 packet of fajita spices
- 1-3 tbsp of chipotle chilli sauce (optional, depending on your level of tolerance for spiciness)
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch (optional)
- 1 tin of refried beans
- 1 packet of nacho crisps (flavoured or not – we tried cheese), crumbled
- 100gr grated cheese (Whichever you prefer that melts well: Cheddar, Gruyère, Comté, etc.)
- To serve: guacamole (make your own if you can), sour cream
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Grease a large oven-proof dish.
- Fry your chorizo in the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat until the pieces have crisped up a little (watch that they don’t go black). Transfer the chorizo to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Return the pan with the chorizo fat and oil to the heat and fry the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the chicken and cook until brown, then add the peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix the fajita spices with the amount of water stated on the packet (in my case, this was 100ml, but I ended up putting in about 200ml, to make sure the dish had enough liquid) and add to the pan. If using, stir in the chipotle sauce. Add the sweetcorn. When the sauce starts to seriously bubble, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 7 minutes. Add the chorizo, simmer for 3 more minutes. If you want a slightly thicker sauce, stir in the cornstarch.
- In the meantime, tip the refried beans into a saucepan and heart according to the instructions on the tin.
- Tip the contents of the frying pan into your greased oven dish, spreading them out in a nice even layer. Then spoon over the refried beans, a little at a time, so as to have an even distribution. It doesn’t matter if you can still see the chicken layer in patches, or if the beans sink a bit.
- Sprinkle on the crumbled nacho chips until you have a decent crust, then top with the grated cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tips of some of the nacho chips have started to darken. Serve with guacamole and/or sour cream.
If you do decide to try out this dish (or your own take on it), any feedback on the outcome would be much appreciated.