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Spice up your table with familiar Mexican favorites

“The Best Mexican Recipes” features familiar favorites and traditional, regional fare from south of the border.

The latest offering from America’s Test Kitchen ($26.95) breaks down Mexican cooking techniques into easy-to-follow steps and uses ingredients that are readily available north of the border. This well-organized guide offers illustrated charts identifying fresh and dried peppers, corn, and popular herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables used in Mexican cooking. Recipes are divided by entrées and ingredients: beef and pork, poultry, seafood, vegetarian mains, eggs, sides, and tacos, tostadas, tamales and more.

There’s a variety of chicken dishes, such as chicken posole verde, chicken chimichangas, and chicken mole poblano. Appetizers include slow-roasted tomato salsa, pumpkin seed dip and empanadas.

Photographs – there are 85 full-page images – are bright and vibrant. Some recipes also include step-by-step illustrations for particular processes.

Here are a couple of recipes, just in time for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Mexican Street Corn

From “The Best Mexican Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen

1/2 cup queso fresco or Cotija cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

4 teaspoons lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 large ears corn, husks and silk removed

Combine cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, ¼ teaspoon chili powder, pepper and cayenne, if using, in large bowl. In a second bowl, combine oil, salt and remaining chili powder, then add corn and toss to coat. Place corn on grill. Cook until corn is slightly charred on all sides, 7 to 12 minutes. Transfer corn to bowl with mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat. Serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Easy Chipotle Chicken Tacos

From “The Best Mexican Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Salt and pepper

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

Lime wedges

Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chipotle and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in ½ cup cilantro, orange juice and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Nestle chicken into sauce. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to plate and cover.

Increase heat to medium-high and cook liquid left in skillet until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in mustard. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces and return to skillet. Add remaining ¼ cup cilantro and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm tortillas and lime wedges.

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