The “Super” Mercado

Four carnita tacos for 99 cents a piece is our standing order at this taqueria parked outside the supermercado.

This Mexican vendor was selling Mexican corn on the cob (elote) and fresh mango in the parking lot.

With what seems to happen with regular frequency these days, my daughter and  I got sidetracked on our way to  Home Depot this weekend. On a  quick trip for mulch and a couple tacos along the way, we ended up in one of the many supermercados (Mexican supermarket) that dot Charlotte Boulevard in Nashville. With a buzzing taquieria and elote vendor in the parking lot, it was quite the gathering place. Once inside the market, we ended up with grilled quesadillas made with fresh corn tortillas, and some delicious beef braised in “guisa” sauce, made by a lovely mother/daughter team from Panama peddling their home-made sauces.  Along with a tub of the guisa, we bought some fresh corn tortillas,  cilantro, plantains, Mexican cheese and sour cream from Honduras. Although almost full, we stopped  at the  Elote (corn coated with mayo,lime and cojita cheese) vendor, who was also selling icey cold cups of mango, cantaloupe and pineapple wedges. We ate the cold fruit while we waited for some tacos (couldn’t resist).  I love ethnic markets–the selection of certain foods is great, there’s always something new and inspirational, and my daughter gets  to use her Spanish along the way. With all this great food in hand, who needed mulch.

In the mercado (next to the Special K), this lovely mother/daughter team from Panama were selling their fresh, vibrant homemade sauces.

Fresh homemade corn tortillas and fresh corn make this enchilada bake terrific.

Here is a recipe for simple chicken enchiladas that are fabulous with the fresh corn tortillas, Mexican cheese and some fresh roasted hatch chiles a friend brought me back from New Mexico a couple weeks ago. But, alas I’ve made it many times with canned chiles, regular Monterey jack cheese and supermarket tortillas, to great acclaim. For good measure, I tossed in the last of the farmer’s market “Peaches and Cream” corn. Yum.

Chicken and Fresh Corn Enchilada Bake

You can toss this together about any way. The recipe I adapted it from called for coating flour tortillas in the green sauce, then rolling them up with the chicken, but I find layering everything is far easier and tastes identical. Use corn tortillas, which stand up to the sauce, and don’t turn gummy like flour tortillas do.

1 cup roasted green chiles or 3 (4-ounce) cans green chiles

1/2 cup fresh  cilantro

3 large green onions or 1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves

juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup heavy cream or cream cheese

8 corn tortillas, warmed

2 cups pulled chicken meat

1 cup fresh corn kernels

4 ounces shredded melting Mexican cheese (such as Queso Quesadilla) or Monterey Jack

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Combine chiles, cilantro, green onions, garlic and lime juice in food processor and puree until almost smooth. Place in a skillet and heat until warmed. Add cream (or cream cheese) and whisk until smooth. Place a small amount of sauce in bottom of 9×13 pan or shallow gratin dish. Layer tortillas, chicken, cheese, sauce and corn, ending with sauce and cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and salsa or fresh tomatoes, and rice.

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