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Pati's Mexican Table - A Day in Sinaloa’s Countryside (811)


Makes 8 - 10 servings       INGREDIENTS

For the Birria:

  • 4 to 5 pounds goat meat, bone-in, cut into about 3-inch pieces (you may substitute lamb)
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 6 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 3 quarts water, plus more to soak the meat
  • 4 to 5 large dried avocado leaves
  • 3 ounces (about 10) guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

For serving:

  • Warm corn tortillas
  • 2 cups finely chopped white onion
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 to 3 limes, quartered


  • Place the meat in a large bowl and cover with cool water. Add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse well with cold water.

  • Place the rinsed meat in a large casserole, cover with at least 3 quarts water, add 4 teaspoons salt, and stir. Set over high heat and let it come to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, remove whatever foam may have come to the surface, cover, and cook for 2 hours.

  • Set a comal or small saute pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, toast the avocado leaves, flipping as they cook, for about a minute until fragrant.

  • Place the chiles in a small saucepan, cover with water, and set over medium-high heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the chiles are completely rehydrated and plumped up. Place the chiles in the jar of a blender, along with a cup of the cooking liquid, and puree until completely smooth.

  • Uncover the meat, add the guajillo chile puree, stir, and drop in the toasted avocado leaves. Cover again and continue cooking for another 2 hours, or until the meat is succulent, juicy, tender, and falling apart when a fork is inserted.

  • Serve the meat in bowls along with the broth. At the table, have warm corn tortillas, chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, and quartered limes for people to assemble their birria tacos and to season the broth. You can also chase the tacos with the broth.

Mango, Tomato, Tomatillo, Basil and Jalapeño Salad

Makes 6 - 8 servings

    INGREDIENTS For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup slivered red onion
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, halved and thinly sliced

For assembling the salad:

  • 2 large mangoes, peeled and sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into segment slices
  • 3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, cut into thin segment slices
  • 15 basil leaves, thinly sliced


To make the vinaigrette:

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Add the red onion and jalapeños, mix, and let sit and macerate for at least 5 minutes.

To assemble the salad:

  • Assemble the mangoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, and basil on a platter. Dress with the vinaigrette and macerated onions and jalapeños. Serve.

Flan Napolitano

Makes 8 individual flans


  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12- ounce can evaporated milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (or 1/2 cup) cream cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350°Position rack in the middle of the oven.

  • Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Swirl occasionally, but do not stir. Cook until the sugar is melted and turns to caramel, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the caramel evenly into eight 6-ounce ramekins. Let the caramel cool slightly while you make the batter.

  • Add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs, vanilla, and cream cheese to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into the ramekins with the caramel, dividing it evenly among them.

  • Place the filled ramekins into a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan filling to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins — making sure not to get any water in them. Cover the whole pan tightly with aluminum foil and very carefully and evenly lower into the oven, as to not splash the water. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the flan has set.

  • Very carefully take the baking pan out of the oven to not splash the water. Also, be careful removing the foil as there will be hot steam escaping. Use tongs or an oven mitt to remove the flans from the roasting pan (the ramekins will be hoand allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least a couple hours. They will keep for up to 1 week.

  • Once the flan has chilled, run a wet knife around the rim to loosen it from the ramekin. Invert the ramekin onto a plate and let the flan slide out onto the plate, caramel side up. Repeat with remaining flans. Serve cold.