cover image The Enchilada Queen Cookbook

The Enchilada Queen Cookbook

Sylvia Casares with Dotty Griffith. St. Martin’s Griffin, $27.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-08291-6

Casares shares her culinary secrets for her signature enchiladas and many other popular Tex-Mex dishes in this outstanding resource. She began cooking at the age of 10 but it remained a hobby until she left the corporate world behind in her 40s and opened a small Mexican restaurant, which has since grown into three locations throughout the Houston metro area. Stating that Tex-Mex isn’t true Mexican food (though it’s often referred to as such), Casares makes a sound argument for its legitimacy, backing up her assertions with solid recipes for standards such as tortilla soup, basic tacos, fajitas, chile rellenos, and tres leches cake, in addition to showstopping enchiladas that range from simple cheese and beef to chicken with a creamy tomatillo sauce and stewed chicken breast with salsa mole puebla. The book’s real payoff is in the details: her simple secret chile sauce for tortillas that infuses extra flavor into those signature enchiladas, the mashup of pico de gallo and traditional guacamole that she calls Picamole, and the red wine garlic butter she applies to her grilled red snapper Veracruz. The closest Casares comes to cutting corners is employing Knorr chicken bouillon in soups and stews and Velveeta in chile con queso (both of which she happily defends). The book isn’t the easiest road to deeply satisfying a craving for real Tex-Mex, but it’s one of the best resources on the subject, and is sure to satisfy home cooks in any location. This is the only Tex-Mex cookbook you’ll ever need. (Nov.)

This review has been corrected--the co-author's name has been added.