Entomatadas Con Cangrejo

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“Entomatadas” translates to “enchiladas made with tomato sauce” and “cangrejo” translates to “crab.” Gabriel says this is one of the first dishes he made on his own, around age 12. His grandmother served the tomato-based sauce with beef tongue as well as peanuts and almonds. For this modern-day version, Gabriel adds a Northwestern twist of succulent crab, and a delightful spice combination marries notes of cinnamon with chiles.

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 to 6 dried Chile de arbol, depending on desired heat level 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups water, or enough to just cover the ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • olive oil for cooking tortillas
  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 4 ounces fresh or 6 ounces canned crab meat
  • 3 ounces Menonita, mild cheddar, or Monterey Jack cheese 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnishing



Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, cin- namon, chiles, salt, sugar, and water in a medium pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, lower heat to medium-high and keep at a high simmer for 10 minutes, or until all ingre- dients have softened.

Process mixture in an immersion blender or food processer until it be- comes a smooth sauce. Place a fine- mesh colander inside a bowl, and pour the sauce into the colander. Use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce into the bowl. Discard what is left in the colander.

Add more sugar and salt to taste.

Wipe clean the medium pot and place back on the burner. Add olive oil to the pot. Turn heat to low-medium, pour the sauce into the pot, add the bay leaf, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce comes to a boil.

Turn off the heat and let the sauce rest. While the sauce is resting, prepare the tortillas.

Place a heavy-bottom skillet on a burner and bring to medium heat. Pour enough olive oil in the pan to lightly coat the bottom. Add a tortilla — more if it will fit — and cook each side for about 30 seconds. Repeat until all the tortillas are cooked.

Turn heat down to low. Evenly divide the crab meat and cheese over each tortilla. Fold each tortilla in half. Let cook on low until the cheese melts.

Place the tortillas on a plate, pour some of the chile sauce over each tor- tilla to evenly coat. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top of the tortillas and serve.

Refrigerate remaining sauce.

Recipe courtesy of chef Gabriel Chávez

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