On November 23rd, the James Beard Award-winning and Emmy-nominated Mexican chef and television host Pati Jinich — who has dedicated her career to building a shared understanding between her two home countries of Mexico and the United States — releases her third cookbook, Treasures of the Mexican Table: Classic Recipes, Local Secrets. The years-in-the-making book aims to shed light on some of Mexico’s lesser known regional dishes, and is the culmination of Pati’s decade-long quest to share the best of her home country’s culinary treasures, as well as the people and stories behind them. With its wide range of recipes, historical context, and how-to cooking guides, Treasures of the Mexican Table is a versatile cookbook made for home cooks of all skill levels and culinary ambition.
While most are familiar with Mexico’s most celebrated classics like carne asada, mole poblano and tres leches cake, Treasures of the Mexican Table shows that those beloved dishes only scratch the surface of the country’s cuisine, which is as complex and varied as its terrain. Having spent years traveling across her birth country (from a small Mayan hut in the Yucatán jungle to the bustling, labyrinthine Centro de Abastos market in the city of Oaxaca, to the food stands of Nogales) Pati shows how Mexico’s foodscape is influenced not just by its specific regions and sub-regions, but also by its history and people. The recipes in Treasures of the Mexican Table show how native ingredients like chiles, beans, squash and tomatoes, combine with new staples brought by the Spanish in the 16th century, such as pork, cattle, rice and olive oil, in addition to how cultural influences from various immigrant groups impact the cuisine. Together, these recipes help paint a vivid picture of the richness of Mexico.
Recipe examples from the book include:
- Sopa De Hongos Con Guajillo / Guajillo Mushroom Soup — found in Mexico year round, mushroom soup is particularly popular in the summer months in the central part of the country where mushroom foragers bring wild mushrooms to local markets. Guajillo chiles give the broth a red hue and smoky taste to the rustic mountain soup.
- Guacamole Ahumado / Smoky Guacamole — made using mashed and charred fresh chiles, this guacamole is popular in Mexico City and throughout central Mexico.
- Enchiladas De Pollo Con Chile Colorado Y Tres Quesos / Three-Cheese Enchiladas — true to the northern Mexican style of cooking, these enchiladas are generously sauced with the region’s favorite red salsa, stuffed with three cheeses and Mexican crema and nestled into baking dishes before being baked.
- Fideo Seco A Los Tres Chiles / Mexican-Style Pasta with Tomato and Three-Chile Sauce — In Mexico, fideo seco is set on the table much like rice and beans, especially in the central part of the country. First fried then simmered in broth or tomato sauce, the pasta of Mexico is in fact not saucey at all, much like the name fideo seco (or dry noodles) implies.
- Pavo De Fiesta Con Chorizo Y Nuez De La India / Fiesta Turkey with Chorizo and Cashew Stuffing — Modeled after the traditions of coastal Veracruz, the bird is marinated in pineapple, orange and adobo then stuffed with bread + chorizo for a tart, caramelized and addictive addition to any table, especially at a Thanksgiving table.
- Flan Napolitano de Queso / Classic Creamy Flan — a traditional Mexican version of flan that Pati says “your aunt brings to potluck,” this recipe is called “Napolitano” because it includes cream cheese and uses sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk instead of whole milk.
ABOUT PATI JINICH
Pati Jinich is a James Beard Award-winning Mexican chef who has dedicated her career to building a shared understanding between her two home countries: Mexico, where she was born, and the United States, where she currently lives and is raising her family. Her long-running PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table has brought Mexican flavors, colors and textures into American homes and kitchens, as viewers have watched Pati thoughtfully and enthusiastically guide them through the various geographic regions of the country. Named one of the “100 Greatest Cooks of All-Time,” Pati has won a Gracie Award for her television work, is the resident chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute, has been named one of the “Top 5 Border Ambassadors” by The Council of Americas, and has authored two cookbooks highlighting Mexican cuisine. This October, Pati is releasing her first ever PBS Primetime special, La Frontera, which highlights the unique foods and culture along the Texas-Mexico border.
Treasures of the Mexican Table releases on November 23, 2021. For additional information, visit PatiJinich.com. Follow Pati on Instagram @PatiJinich.