Over the course of nearly 30 years, Mexico Cooks! has visited Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, one of the most beautiful small colonial cities of Mexico, more times than we can count. Every visit is memorable for 16th and 17th Century architecture, fantastic decorative arts, and food. Food! The regional Michoacán kitchen is incomparably rich and delicious.
Great quantities of enormous pechugas (chicken breast halves, each large enough to satisfy two people) and piernas (leg/thigh quarters) are simmered early in the day until they're just done. A bit later, preparation continues with vats of tender potatoes and fresh carrots.
The cook fans four tortillas at a time between his fingers and dips them into this enormous pot of house- made salsa para enchiladas (enchilada sauce). The recipe? Mexico Cooks! has wheedled and whined, but Super Pollo Emilio won't give it up.
The cook spreads the salsa-doused tortillas evenly into the sizzling grease in the industrial-strength comal (griddle), flipping them rapidly from one side to the other. The tortillas need to be cooked till they are hot and soft, but not crisp.
He gives each tortilla a dollop of freshly mashed potato. The tortillas are then folded in half: voilá, enchiladas ready for your platter. Each order contains eight enchiladas as well as--well, we'll see in a minute.
- eight potato-filled enchiladas
- freshly sautéed potatoes and carrots, enough for two or more people
- the amount and kind of chicken you prefer--we normally order a breast portion, which was more than enough for the two of us
- a sprinkle of thinly sliced onion
- large shreds of queso Oaxaca (Oaxaca cheese)
- shredded fresh cabbage
- crumbled queso fresco (fresh farmer-style cheese)
- fresh salsa roja (red sauce, different from the enchilada sauce)
- a base of fresh romaine lettuce
- chile perón en escabeche (locally grown and pickled yellow chile: HOT), as much as you want
Mexico Cooks! has never seen one person finish an entire platter of enchiladas placeras as prepared by Super Pollo Emilio. We were hard pressed, but in the interest of pure research we managed to eat most of this order. We accompanied the order with a glass of agua fresca de jamaica and a bottle of LIFT, an apple soda. Our total bill was 110 pesos.
Super Pollo Emilio sets up every evening except Tuesdays, just around dusk on Pátzcuaro's Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra (the plaza chica). It's the booth closest to the portal (covered walkway) on the market side of the square. The booth is open till the food runs out.
If you're still hungry after your platter of enchiladas is gone, there are buñuelos for dessert. You can order a buñuelo broken and softened in a bowl of syrup or still-crispy and dusted with sugar.
When you're visiting Pátzcuaro, don't miss the enchiladas placeras at Super Pollo Emilio. If nothing else about this marvelous city brings you back again and again, you'll be pulled in by these addictive enchiladas, eaten on a chilly night under the stars, just by the market-side portales.
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