(Family Features) Many families constantly search for meal inspiration, and one of the best ways is to look toward trendy tastes for new options to add to the menu.
One of the country’s top Hispanic food brands, Cacique, tapped culinary experts and chefs Aarón Sánchez, Bricia Lopez and Santiago Gomez to curate the third annual “What’s Next in Mexican Cuisine” trends forecast uncovering popular flavors, techniques and dishes to expect in the coming year.
“One way we can all honor the impact of Latin culture in America is through food,” Sánchez said. “One easy step you can take to connect with a culture is by using authentic ingredients, like in this Chorizo Ragu with Cheesy Toast, which uses three staple Mexican ingredients – queso fresco, crema Mexicana and chorizo. It’s inspired by my prediction that Mexican comfort foods and deep, rich sauces made from scratch will rise in popularity.”
Consider these top Mexican food trends for 2021 according to Sánchez, Lopez and Gomez along with findings from a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Cacique:
- The bread baking craze of 2020 will now include homemade corn and flour tortillas with 55% of Americans reaching for masa harina, flour and tortilla presses to make their own.
- Americans have a thirst for dehydrated chiles with varieties ranging from pasillas to anchos set to become more popular in American kitchens.
- Dried chiles, beans and cheeses such as queso fresco will find their way into more American kitchens as people adopt a “from scratch” approach and back-to-basics techniques.
- Coziness, meet Cozumel as Mexican comfort foods reign supreme and people gravitate toward nostalgic “homemade” style favorites like enchiladas.
- Get ready to dive into deep, rich sauces, including mole, which will continue to grow in popularity.
- Salsa macha will share the spotlight thanks to exploration of the breadth of salsa varieties that exist within Mexican cuisine.
- Food exploration will satisfy Americans’ wanderlust as 55% plan to travel less in 2021, and the same percentage report they’re looking to learn the stories behind famous Mexican recipes.
To find more trend-inspired recipes, visit caciqueinc.com.
Chorizo Ragu with Cheesy Toast
Recipe courtesy of chef Aarón Sánchez
- 3 bolillo-style rolls or 1 long baguette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 1?2 teaspoon salt
- 6 cloves garlic, divided
- 8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1?4 pounds ground beef
- 1 package (9 ounces) Cacique Pork Chorizo
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed or pureed tomatoes
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 9 tablespoons Cacique Crema Mexicana, plus additional for serving
- 1 1?2 cups crumbled Cacique Ranchero Queso Fresco
Preheat oven to 400 F. Halve bread lengthwise.
In heavy-bottomed pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and salt then cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables just start to soften, 3-4 minutes. Mince 2 garlic cloves and add to pot with mushrooms; cook about 3 minutes.
Use spoon to push vegetables to edges of pan then add tomato paste, oregano and cumin to center of pan; saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Increase heat to high and add beef and pork chorizo. Break meat up with spoon but don’t over-stir. When beef is no longer pink, pour in tomatoes and bring to simmer. Decrease heat to medium-high and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
While ragu simmers, use fork to mash or whip butter with crema until smooth. Mince or finely grate remaining garlic cloves then stir into crema mixture.
Spread crema mixture evenly over bread, trying to cover as much area as possible. Sprinkle crumbled queso fresco all over and place bread on rimmed baking sheet, cheese side up. Toast 4-5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling. Finish under broiler 30-60 seconds for deeper browning, if desired. Cut bread into individual portions.
After about 20 minutes of simmering, ragu should thicken and flavors meld. Swirl in additional crema then serve ragu in bowls with cheesy toast or ladle over pieces of toast.