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Best Recipes To Celebrate Mexican Independence Day In Pittsburgh

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Not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th. It commemorates the day that the Mexican War for Independence began in 1810. The day is remembered throughout Mexico with parades, concerts and other patriotic programs. If you are inspired by this patriotic holiday of Mexico, you can commemorate the occasion with a tasty Mexican inspired dish from one of these local Pittsburgh chefs.

Bill Fuller
Mad Mex
2 Robinson Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
(412) 414-5656

Bill Fuller is the executive chef of The Big Burrito Restaurant Group Mad Mex, Eleven, Kaya, Casbah, Soma and Umi. Bill has been named Chef of the Year and Restaurateur of the Yearby Pittsburgh Magazine, and his popular restaurants have received many rewards and accolades. The Big Burrito Group's restaurant menus highlight the benefits of locally farmed and sourced foods and each features fresh local ingredients.Bill also works with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in its mission to help feed Pittsburgh as well as acts as an advisor for the culinary program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Steak And Jalapeno Breakfast Quesadilla
  • 1 Flank steak
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • ½ ea. Stick of butter
  • 1 C. Medium sliced raw onion
  • 1-4 Jalapenos, sliced into rings
  • 1 tbsp. Mexican oregano, dried
  • 2 tsp. cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 10" flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • guacamole
  • sour Cream
  1. Prepare Guacamole. Reserve.
  2. Place steak in a bowl. Add mustard, olive oil, and salt. Allow to marinate.
  3. Heat cast iron skillet over high heat. Sear steak until crusty on the outside and a gentle medium in the center, about 140°. Set aside and allow to rest. Return skillet to heat.
  4. While steak is cooking, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, oregano, cumin and salt. Cook with stirring until onions soften but do not become soggy.
  5. Heat comal (flat cast iron skillet).
  6. Slice beef across the grain. In skillet, add a generous knob of butter. Crack 2 eggs into the pan. If you desire, poke the yolks so that they cook solid.
  7. While eggs are cooking. Place a tortilla on the comal. Sprinkle with cheese. Allow to melt.
  8. Place onion and pepper mixture across half the tortilla. Add some beef. Add two eggs.
  9. Fold and remove from the griddle. Cut into thirds and serve with guacamole and sour cream.
  10. Repeat steps 7 – 10 until everyone is fed. Hopefully, one of these bums will have made you a Tequila Sunrise. Sip it as you cook.
  • 3 avocados
  • juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1 large clove garlic grated on a microplane grater
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • diced ripe tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1.  Peel, seed, and dice avocados
  2. Add everything else. Adjust seasonings.
Chicken In Green Sauce
  • 1 large chicken, cut into thighs, wings, drumsticks, and breasts
  • 4 tsp. Guajillo chili powder
  • 1 tbs. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 Tbs. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin salt and pepper
  • green sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Season chicken on all sides with chili, oregano, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper.
  3. Place skin side up in a roasting pan.
  4. Cook on top rack in oven for approximately 30 minutes until skin is crispy
  5. Reduce heat to 325°F. Cover with green sauce. Return to oven and allow to cook for an hour or more (until chicken is really tender on the thighs).

Green Sauce

  • 2 lbs peeled, washed tomatillos
  • 2-4 whole jalapenos, de-stemmed
  • 1 cup rough chopped white onion
  • 8 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  1. Clean tomatillos by immersing in cold water and removing skins
  2. Place tomatillos in a wide, shallow casserole with whole jalapenos, onion, whole garlic cloves and salt.
  3. Roast in a pre-heated 500° oven for about 45 minutes until soft and lightly browned. (Can also be roasted in a pan over a hot grill with the lid on.)
  4. Pass through a food mill on the medium mesh blade.
  5. Add chopped cilantro to strained sauce and combine thoroughly with whisk.
Tacos 'Al Pastor' With Roasted Pineapple

Tacos "al pastor" refer to tacos made with roasted pork that has been marinated in achiote (ground annatto seed), mild chili powder — Guajillo in this case— Mexican oregano, citrus and roasted. Normally, taquerias that specialize in tacos al pastor marinate thin slices of pork in their secret recipe, skewer them on a spit as above (similar to Greek gyro meat) and slice off the meat as needed for tacos. Since few of us have this device in our homes, this recipe calls for marinating pork shoulder over night and slow roasting it until tender. These tacos are served simply, with chopped onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges and whatever hot sauce turns your engine.

  • 4 pork butt, bone-in
  • 2 tbs. achiote
  • 3 tbs. Guajillo chili powder
  • 3 tbs. dried Mexican oregano
  • 3-4 tbs. salt
  • 2 tbs. black pepper
  • ½ cups orange juice
  • 1 ea. Mexican beer (light, like Corona)
  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 16 fresh corn tortillas
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion (but not pureed or food processed)
  • Lime Wedges

1.Place pork butt in an oven-safe dish fat side down.
2. Mix together achiote, chili powder, oregano, salt and black pepper. Rub 1/3 of the mixture on the exposed side of the butt.
3. Turn meat over so fat side is facing up. Rub remaining spice mixture evenly over fat. Cover and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Pre-heat oven to 275°. Uncover pork and pour orange juice and beer around meat. Do not pour it over or the spices will get rinsed off.
5. Place in oven. Cook uncovered for 3-3 ½ hours. If the liquid dries up, add a little water. Do not swim the pork but don't let it dry all the way out either. The fat cap may become dark during this cooking time, don't worry. Pork is done when the shoulder bone becomes loose throughout.
6. Remove pork from oven. Allow to stand for 15 minutes to cool.
7. While waiting for the pork to cool a little. Turn broiler on high. Spread pineapple chunks in a single layer on a sheet pan. Brown under the broiler. Turn and brown the other sides. The pineapple should be cooked, not mushy, and sweet.
8. Remove the browned fat cap from the pork butt. This is your special treat; eat it in secret in the kitchen. Drain off remaining cooking liquid and skim most of the fat.
9. Gently pull pork. Pour cooking liquid over pulled pork.
10. A traditional way to serve tacos al pastor is pictured below. Four little tortillas are spread out on a plate and topped with meat, onions, chopped cilantro, and chunks of pineapple. Lime wedges are served on the side.

Related: Best Fish Tacos In Pittsburgh

Brad Cannon
IKEA Pittsburgh
2001 Park Manor Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
(412) 747-0440

Brad Cannon leads the kitchen team at the IKEA Pittsburgh Restaurant where famous Swedish dishes such as Swedish meatballs, salmon plates and princess cakes are prepared daily. Brad recently prepared a tasting menu for Savor Pittsburgh and his creations can be enjoyed at special events in the store. Brad enjoys adding an interesting flare to the Swedish staples available at IKEA in order to bring the food to a wider audience.

Hot Smoked Salmon Tacos
  • IKEA Hot Smoked Salmon
  • 1 cup picante sauce
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 pkg taco rub or seasoning
  • 10 soft taco tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded taco blend cheese
  • Salsa for topping


  1. Melt together cream cheese and picante sauce in a large skillet until mixture is smooth
  2. Stir in taco seasoning until well blended
  3. Remove skin and combine flaked hot smoked salmon into the mixture until blended
  4. Spoon filling into taco tortillas
  5. Top with lettuce, shredded cheese and salsa as desired
Cayenne Pepper Fudge
  • 5 bars IKEA milk chocolate
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Break up chocolate into small pieces in medium, microwave safe dish
  2. Add condensed milk and microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted according to your microwave wattage
  3. Blend melted chocolate and condensed milk well
  4. Add in vanilla and cayenne pepper and blend well
  5. Pour into a well greased or wax paper lined glass 5x7 dish and refrigerate overnight
  6. Cut into small squares and enjoy

Related: Best Chicken Wings In Pittsburgh

Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at
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