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The Two Captains



Volume XX - Chiles Colache

Not long after my trip to Oaxaca, several of the cruisers on the dock at Marina Mazatlán sponsored a cooking class by Juli of the “Mi Cocina” taco stand. Although it sounds unprepossessing, this stand, located on a side street leading inland, one block north of the Dairy Queen (a major landmark!) in the Gold Zone, turned out affordable and interesting dishes consitently enough to keep a loyal cruiser clientele. The sponsors of the class were motivated by a long-standing friendship with the Mi Cocina family and by a particular dish – Chiles Colache -- they were making on Fridays. Chiles Colachi, we were told, is a traditional dish from the Mazatlán area served during Lent. I was particularly excited because it sounded very much like the special “secret” stuffed chiles I’d had at El Naranjo in Oaxaca.

Reflecting cruisers’ interest in food, the cooking class swelled to about thirty people! Juli was a little overwhelmed, but she (and the sponsors, who, it turned out, found their boat galleys to be the site of all the pre-class prep!) were very organized. Not only was the demonstration a success, but all participants got two chiles per person to take home for dinner. They were “muy rico” as the Mexican’s say for “yummy”, and they were indeed very similar to the Oaxacan dish, which, as far as I could tell and remember contained only flor de calabaza (squash blossoms which you can buy fresh or canned in Mexico!) in addition.

Chiles Colache by Juli of Mi Cocina

4 Poblano chiles (substitute Anaheims if necessary; choose long, straight chiles)
1 lb Zuccini (or any similar squash)
1 lb plum tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small can whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup queso fresco, diced (fresh cheese, eg farmers cheese, possibly cottage cheese?)
fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon caldo de pollo (a cube of chicken bouillon, crushed, will do)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crema or sour cream
½ -3/4 cup grated Chihuahua cheese (Something that melts; Monterey jack or even mozzarella would substitute)

Prepare chiles for stuffing (Outside of Mexico it is not easy to find Poblano chiles, but California Anaheim chiles will do. Always choose the longest straightest chiles for easy handling and presentation. Fresh chiles must be peeled. There are two ways to do this. You can roast them over a gas burner until the skin blackens and blisters or you can achieve the same thing by frying the chiles in oil instead of roasting them. The blistering effect is more even, and there are no calories added as the chiles are to be peeled! After roasting or frying, put the hot chiles in a paper or plastic bag to cool. When cool enough to handle (You might want to wear gloves, as these chiles can have irritating oils) clean peels from chiles under running water (or in a bowl of water if water is limited). Make a slit in the side of the chile, leaving stem intact and remove the seeds and pitch leaving insides clean.
• Put squash, tomatoes, onions, corn, and queso fresco cheese into pot with 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine and the chicken stock granules. Cover and cook over low heat until squash is soft. Allow mixture to cool.
• Fill each chile with ¼ of the colache mixture and place in a baking dish.
• Spoon a heaping tablespoon full of sour cream on top of each filled chile.
• Sprinkle grated cheese on top of each. If any excess liquid has pooled in pan from colache mixture, carefully pour it off before baking.
• Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes until cheese is melted.



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