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SURF ‘N TURF ENCHILADAS, guajillo & ancho salsa


Surf and turf enchiladas with a salsa of guajillo & ancho chilis.  My latest creation!  I’m proud.

The story…

The past couple of days I’ve been busy in the kitchen experimenting with New Years recipes for NOLA, playing with my new giant food processor and trying to clear out the fridge of holiday leftovers.

Rewind back to early December when this amazing couple visiting from California brought me a giant bag of Mexican chilis that I’ve been drooling over ever since.

New food processor + dried chilis = hyper happy Liza frantically buzzing around the kitchen like a mad scientist


I was first introduced to dried chilis during my Southern California days while inhaling bowls of pozole, a pork based Mexican stew that’s cooked with guajillo, ancho and other chilis.  It’s everything a stew ought to be and was the best part of my job in Cali.  Their I got my first glimpse into real Mexican cuisine and learned about guajillo and ancho chilis.  Mild in heat, big earthy flavors, some fruit notes, smoky.

Fast forward to Christmas day walking home from The Hobbit with the boys I announce that I’m making pork pie for dinner.  With no butternut squash in the house and nowhere open to buy groceries I decide to replace the creamy butternut squash puree with a ancho-guajillo chili sauce to add some heat, complexity and moisture.  It was the best pork pie I’ve ever made!!

The following day I look at the leftovers in the fridge-  mango, pork, shrimp, tortillas, avocado, and the salsa.  A couple of onions and limes lie in the basket.  The weather is surprisingly cool meaning using the oven wouldn’t be deadly.

And then surf & turf enchiladas came to be.


Quite a fast meal considering everything was pre-cooked.  Braised pork shoulder just needed to be shredded.  Shrimp was sautéed in garlic and seasoned with chipotle powder and lime.  Salsa was done the evening before which left cutting up fresh produce and heating up the tortillas.

I didn’t share this meal.  I literally made two enchiladas, one pork and one shrimp!  My favorite part was the mango.  Hooray for mixing fruit with meat, something most Argentines can’t wrap their heads around.

I’d like to do them again filling up a whole casserole pan of surf and turf enchiladas and serving black beans on the side.  YES.  That’s the plan for next week when my bestie from NYC is visiting.

Surf & Turf Enchiladas  ::

  • shredded pork
  • cooked shrimp
  • tortillas
  • mango, super ripe and small diced
  • cilantro
  • onion, small diced
  • avocado, diced
  • lime
  • mozzarella cheese, grated
  • guajillo & ancho salsa (recipe below)
  • salt

In a dry pan over medium fire heat up the tortillas.  You want to do this so you can easily roll them without cracking.  Don’t put oil in the pan and don’t let them brown.

While they’re heating add a spoonful of salsa into your baking dish and smear it around the bottom.  Cast iron would be ideal or a glass Pyrex dish.

With the tortilla in one hand add the pork to the center followed by mango then cheese.  Roll into a loose cigar and place it into the baking dish with the open side down.  Repeat with the shrimp adding the cheese and mango and placing it next to the pork enchilada.  Sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese, diced onion and a couple spoonfuls of salsa on top and toss in the oven.

While they’re cooking slice your avocado and shower them with lime and a sprinkle of salt.

The enchiladas will only need about 10-15 in a 400°F/200°C oven.  When you’re removing the enchiladas from the pan you’ll want to be very careful as they soften up while cooking and the last thing you want is for them to fall apart.  I like to use a fish spatula and scoop them up from tip to tip.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado.  Devour while still hot.


Guajillo & Ancho Salsa  ::

  • 2 guajillo chilis
  • 2 ancho chilis
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • lime
  • cilantro
  • honey (optional)
  • salt & pepper

In a dry pan toast the chilis over a medium flame.  They should only need about one minute, don’t allow to burn/blacken.

Transfer the chilis to a bowl and pour the hot water over them and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile quarter the onion, smash the garlic clove and saute them over high heat til they stat to brown.  Transfer to food processor.

Remove the stems and seeds from the chilis and add to food processor along with half of the soaking liquid, juice of one lime, spoonful of honey, few cilantro sprigs, and a big dash of salt.  Pulse til incorporated.  Taste.  Maybe the spice is too earthy/intense and you’ll want to add a bit more of the soaking liquid.  If it seems a bit flat add more lime and another dash of salt.  Just keep adjusting til you find the right balance for your palate.

Store in fridge for up to one week.