Spring Break Panuchos

by Kathryn Baldwin

Considering it’s Spring Break, I decided I had time to dedicate an entire evening to learning to cook something. I am the craziest person I know.

Why Panuchos?… you ask…

–       I prefer to make things that people have never heard of before. That way, when my boyfriend eats it, there is no way in heck he can compare it to his mom’s similar, yet far superior, dish.

–       I was craving black beans because they remind me of Cuernavaca, Mexico. (Plus I wanted to practice making refried beans from scratch and black beans can’t be compared to our usual pinto beans, which the pros in our families always make).

–       In the spirit of Easter, I was searching egg recipes but I didn’t feel like constructing some lame morning scramble.

–       I had way too much time on my hands because the entire point of Spring Break is to pretend you have no homework.

Once I decided to make Panuchos, I read up on those Yucatan medallions in the handful of old school, faded Mexican cookbooks we have around the house. Apparently, travelers passing through the Yucatan area during the 1800s stopped at “Don Hucho’s” food stand where they bought a unique on-the-go snack. Don Hucho basically created a sandwich by slitting open a fried corn tortilla and tucking beans and an egg inside. Hence the name: Pan-Hucho (aka: Bread-ooch-oh). I swear, when humans get in a hurry, we wrap a layer of grains around some protein and then munch on the run. The Grilled Cheese, the Pita Pocket, the Sushi Roll, the Burger, the Crunch-Wrap Supreme, the Panucho… psh, they’re all related.

So, after over three hours of a Mexican Monsoon swirling in my kitchen, I had constructed something you could more or less call a Panucho. A fried, homemade corn tortilla was slit open with refried black beans and a hard-boiled egg tucked inside. On top, I’d piled a layer of chipotle mayonnaise, chicken, and a mixture of lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cilantro.

(Granted, slitting open the tortilla was well above my skill level so the rest ended up being tostadas. Psh. Don’t hate.)

Let me clarify one thing: DON’T TRY TO MAKE THIS ENTIRE THING FROM SCRATCH IN ONE SINGLE EVENING unless you had a long string of “hey-I-have-a-good-idea” moments and an endless amount of time.

What you should do is this:

Go to the Mexican market and find dried chipotle peppers. Put a bunch of the shriveled little guys in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit about a half hour or three (while you cook whatever you’re cooking). Then remove the reconstituted chiles. With a fork and knife, cut off the stem side, scrape out the seeds, and put what’s left (the outer layer) in the blender. Puree them and mix in either mayonnaise or sour cream.

I’m pretty sure this simple nonsense is exactly what made the entire Panucho dish “one of the best ever.” I will soon be making burgers with this runny goodness.

Happy Spring Break everyone 🙂


3 Comments to “Spring Break Panuchos”

  1. Love chipotle mayo – especially on Jack’s sweet potato fries 🙂

  2. Now to try making the mayo from scratch!

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