Using local ingredients and recipes learned from his mother and grandmother, Chef Aarón Sánchez of New Orleans' famed Mexican restaurant, Johnny Sánchez, reinterprets his family's dishes through a modern lens. Sponsored by Cacique.
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients except the onions in a heavy medium saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the onion slices, separating them into individual rings. Let the mixture come back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until onions soften and wilt, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let the mixture cool completely. Transfer the onions and their pickling liquid to a quart-size glass jar or divide among Tupperware. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
1 cup canola oil
12 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons canned chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour the oil into a heavy ovenproof medium saucepan and add the garlic. Cover the pot with foil, put it in the oven, and cook until the garlic turns a nutty brown and is really soft (like cream cheese), about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and let the garlic and oil cool to room temperature. Put the garlic and the garlic-infused oil in a food processor or blender. Add the chipotles and sauce, cilantro, lime zest, and salt and puree until smooth. Store in the fridge in a tightly covered container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to a month.
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup fennel seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
2 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces
2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces
1/2 cup dried whole oregano (preferably Mexican)
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/4 cup Spanish paprika (pimento)
Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the cumin, coriander, fennel and mustard seeds along with the pieces of pasilla and ancho chiles. Toast, stirring constantly, until aromatic and just begins to smoke, about 3 minutes.
Dump the mixture onto a plate and let it cool to room temperature. Grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Transfer powder to a large bowl and add the oregano, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Stir well to combine. Store the adobo in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in a cool, dark place for up to a month.
18 to 24
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup Aarón’s Adobo (see recipe below)
1/2 cup Garlic Chipotle Love (see recipe below)
24 (4-inch) corn tortillas
Canola oil, for frying
Valentina hot sauce
Cacique Crema Mexicana
Pickled onions (see recipe below)
Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled
3 limes, halved
Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper and Aarón’s adobo. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove from heat and let cool.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the Garlic Chipotle Love. Season with salt to taste.
Place approximately 2 ounces of the shredded chicken into each tortilla, tightly roll and skewer through the middle. Continue to stack more flautas on each skewer until you have 3 to 4 on a single skewer.
In a fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees. One at a time, carefully lower the skewered flautas into the oil and fry for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, until they are crispy and golden brown. Remove from fryer and let rest on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil.
To plate, spread guacamole on the bottom of the plate, carefully remove the flautas from the skewers and place on top of the guacamole. Drizzle the flautas with hot sauce, followed by Cacique Crema Mexicana and pickled onions. Top with crumbled Cacique Queso Fresco and garnish with cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice.