A Southern Grace: mexican food: the amateur photographer's worst enemy

April 28, 2015

mexican food: the amateur photographer's worst enemy


I'm pretty sure I've never taken a good picture of a Mexican dish. Sure, you can add some herbs for a pleasant touch of color, but it ultimately looks like greenery on top of a sloppy mess of what might or might not be edible food.

It's too bad, too, because Mexican foods (and our Americanized versions of their dishes) are DELICIOUS, and it's probably my favorite ethnic cuisine. We eat it a lot in our house, and I often want to blog about the things I make but can't bear the embarrassment of posting the terrible, no good, very bad pictures I've taken.

This is a meal that I was determined to feature, regardless of the quality of the pictures. It's extremely easy and extremely tasty. My slow cooker came out to play again, but only for the first part of this endeavor. I cooked my chicken in it, along with some peppers, onions, black beans, and tomatoes with chiles, as well as a handful of spices. I took the resulting mixture, which was literally dripping with deliciousness, and wrapped it in sauce-soaked tortillas. The last step is to smother the rolled tortillas with more enchilada sauce and plenty of cheese, and then pop the dish into the oven for a quick jaunt to melt the cheese and just meld everything together.

While I do believe it's true that we eat first with our eyes, I think we need to just ignore what our eyes behold when regarding most Mexican food. The looks, they are deceiving.

Enchiladas with Slowly Cooked Chicken and Black Beans
Culled from OH-so-many recipes
Serves 6-8
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 pepper, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles, not drained
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 (10 ounce) can green enchilada sauce
  • 5-10 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
First, spray your slow cooker and put in your chicken breasts.
Add chopped pepper, onion, black beans, tomatoes with chiles, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Pour in the chicken broth and mix.
Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours.
Return and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the lime juice into your chicken mixture.
Spray a large casserole dish or 7x11-inch pan and spoon some enchilada sauce into the bottom.
Pour some more of the sauce into a shallow dish, then dip a tortilla into the sauce and lay it on a baking sheet or plate. Add a healthy portion of the chicken, then roll it up tightly and place it seam-side down in the casserole dish.
Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, or until you run out of chicken.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle on the cheese.
Bake until hot and bubbly, 30 minutes. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before sprinkling with cilantro and serving.


Pam said...

The pics are very good! It looks like a mouthwatering Mexican dish filled with deliciousness! Your photos did the recipe justice, perfectly!

Pam said...

I think the pictures look AMAZING and I now have a sudden craving for enchiladas. A little cilantro always makes Mexican food look prettier.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

They look scrumptious! Mexican food is so amazing.



Marcela said...

Come on! Your photos are great ant the food looks scrumptious!

Unknown said...

Grace, if you can't take a good pic of food....any kind... then no one can. I have not made REAL Mexican food before so this looks like a good place to start..

Unknown said...

Grace - Sometimes it is difficult to get a pic to do justice. You have done a stellar job here! I L-O-V-E Americanized Mexican food, will have to give this recipe a try. Keep up the good work! Cali.

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

I think your photo's look absolutely drool worthy! If you sent me a picture of that and asked me to dinner, I would be there! Well, if you didn't live 5 states away I would be there!

Angie's Recipes said...

This looks scrumptious and those photos did catch the soul of this easy delicious Mexican dish, Grace.

Anonymous said...

every photo is a hit if only we see it is Mexican food in the menu...it is so vibrant,fresh yet cheesy and scrumptious....our eyes close with every mouthful of enchiladas...so worth making it...we have never seen one not in love with delicious Mexican cuisine,thanks :-)

Barbara said...

That made me smile, Grace. I agree...it's difficult to photograph a delicious mess of enchiladas on a plate! Also soups. But still, your photo makes me want to gobble it up.

Sue/the view from great island said...

No kidding, these are the most tempting photos of enchiladas I have ever seen they look so plump! Mine are always shriveled and sunken, but tasty, after they come out of the oven. :)

Joanne said...

I think your photos look great!! At the least...they totally make me want to take a bite of this cheesy goodness.

The Sea Salt said...

Love cilantro. Hate taking photos of cheesy food! Looks amazing:)

Beth said...

I think your enchiladas look great! And don't ever hesitate to post a recipe you love based on pictures you aren't happy with. (It has never stopped me!)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I feel better that it's not just me that can't take pics of Mexican food! This however looks great :D

Juliana said...

I have no idea what you are talking about...the pictures look awesome and very tempting...and makes me want to have some now...
Enjoy the rest of your week Grace :)

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

I think you did a fine job with the pics, but I know what you mean. Things like macarons and cupcakes are photogenic....alas they're not nearly as belly filling for dinner as hearty Mexican food. I'm a Texas girl so tex-mex all the way!

I Wilkerson said...

New best title ever! But I must say I wanted to eat this!

Claire said...

SO true! I can never snap a pretty pic of Mexican. I usually try to cover it up with a poached egg and greek yogurt. :)

This looks incredible!

Carolyn Jung said...

I think you don't give yourself enough credit. That dish looks incredible. Anything with oozy cheese gets to me every time. Actually, of all the things that are difficult to photograph, I think beef stew, uh, takes the cake. ;)

Unknown said...

The pictures really look amazing and Mexican food is like my favorite dish in the world. No matter where I go I always enjoy a good Mexican dish. It is so pleasing to eat. My husband is originally Mexican and he can cook up a storm of deliciousness. Thank you for sharing your talent with us, keep it up, thanks!

Diane Baker @ Alejandra's Restaurant

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

This chili would be a great to warm up to with all the below zero temps we are having up here!