Add Latin Spice To Leftovers

CHEF ON A SHOESTRING, mexican food, cinco de mayo
If it seems as if you'll still be eating Thanksgiving turkey when the Spring tulips start blooming, cheer up! We invited Ivy Stark, corporate chef for the three Rosa Mexicano restaurants in New York City, to show us some ways to spice up your leftovers with seasonal ingredients.

Her simple recipes are designed for people who have spent quite enough time in the kitchen lately.

The menu includes Spicy Pumpkin Soup, Turkey Enchiladas Suizas, and Sweet Potato & Cranberry Capirotada. The dessert is a Mexican version of bread pudding.

Latin cuisine is a passion for this rising young chef, who has honed her skills in high-profile restaurants on both coasts and did a stint as private chef to designer Ralph Lauren.

Food Facts
Chef Stark's ingredients include chorizo, a highly-seasoned, coarsely ground pork sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder and other spices. It's widely used in both Mexican and Spanish cooking.

Enchiladas Suizas is the southern Mexican style of enchilada. The sauce is enriched with cream, and cheese is added on top.

Chihuahua cheese, named for the region in which it's made, is a pale yellow cheese that can vary from mild to cheddar-like sharpness. Monterey Jack is a good substitute.

Capirotada, the Mexican version of bread pudding, was originally created to use up leftovers from the Lenten feast.

Queso Fresco is a spongy white cheese which is often crumbled over tacos and enchiladas. If you can't find it locally, cream cheese is a good substitute.

The Recipes
Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle Chile Croutons and Crema
This creamy soup with its unique combination of mellow pumpkin and spicy Mexican chorizo is a great way to use up leftover pumpkin puree, mashed potatoes and bread.

1 small white onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 pound chorizo, removed from casing and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano, ground between the palms of the hands
5 cups chicken stock
2 potatoes peeled and diced (or 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes)
3 cups pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche

2 cups day old bread, cubed
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile or any chile powder
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt


  1. 1. Combine onion, garlic, chorizo, cumin and oregano in large pot over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Drain any extra fat from the chorizo.
    2. Add chicken stock, diced or mashed potatoes and pumpkin puree. Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes.
    3. Add cream and simmer 10 more minutes, season to taste with salt.
    4. Remove from heat and carefully blend in small batches in a blender until smooth, only filling blender cup half full for each batch.
    5. While soup is simmering, make croutons: Heat oven to 375°. Toss bread cubes, olive oil, chile powder, and salt in a bowl until bread is thoroughly coated with the oil and spices.
    6. Spread the bread cubes out on a sheet pan and bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy.
    7. To serve the soup, pour into warm bowls and garnish with the croutons, chopped cilantro and a drizzle of sour cream or crème fraiche.

Click on page 2 for Turkey Enchiladas Suizas; page 3 for Sweet Potato and Cranberry Capirotada