Recipes With An Ancient Southwestern Flair

Desert Lil's Delicacies - A DesertUSA Food Feature

We have three simple and yet delicious recipes with an ancient southwestern flair. Chicken, beef, pork and scallops are the basis for these three entrée's inspired by prehistoric cultures of Mexico, Yucatan and southern coastal California.

Aztec Chowder
Serves 6

  • 1 lb aztec or black beans
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts, 1-inch dice
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 2 Anaheim or New Mexico chiles, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Jack cheese
  • 2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
  • Salt, pepper
  • Tortilla chips

Rinse beans and soak with chicken stock in large pot for 8 hours. Bring beans and stock to boil, reduce heat and simmer 1-1/2 hours until beans are tender. Melt butter in saucepan, and add chicken and sauté over medium-high heat turning pieces until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion, chile and garlic and sauté another 5 minutes. Add yogurt, stirring well and when homogenous, add entire contents to the beanpot, simmering for another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cheese and cilantro sprinkled on top and chips on the side.

Chichinitza Chimichangas
Serves 4

  • 2 cups shredded beef or pork
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup red salsa (Mexicana)
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup grated Jack
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup Oil

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Combine chicken, salsa, cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup fresh corn and cilantro in large bowl. Spoon 1/4 of mixture onto 1 flour tortilla, roll up tuck ends burrito-style. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling then fry in oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with additional salsa and sour cream and hominy, if you like

Piñon Scallops San Diegueto
Serves 4

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb Bay scallops; or large sea scallops, halved
  • 4 Tbs pine nuts
  • 1 Tbs shallots, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup green salsa (Verde)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbs cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and red pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add the scallops and cook for 1 minute without stirring, then stir and cook another minute. Remove scallops with slotted spoon and place on plate. Discard the oil from the skillet then add the shallots, garlic, wine, lemon juice and salsa. Boil, and when till wine is reduced wine by half, reduce the heat to low. Add the pine nuts and cilantro, then whisk in sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm corn tortillas and rice.

Complete Index of Desert Lil's Delicacies


Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms



The Saguaro Video
The Saguaro often begins life in the shelter of a "nurse" tree or shrub which can provide a shaded, moister habitat for the germination of life. The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet.

The Desert Food ChainDesert Food Chain Video
A food chain constitutes a complex network of organisms, from plants to animals, through which energy, derived from the sun, flows in the form of organic matter and dissipates in the form of waste heat.

Prickly pear cactus Video
Prickly pear cactus are found in all of the deserts of the American Southwest. Most prickly pears have large spines on their stems and vary in height from less than a foot to 6 or 7 feet.

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.

Copyright © 1996- and Digital West Media, Inc. - -