WATCH: Singer Cuco Is Teaching Fans How To Make Authentic Enchiladas Verdes From His Abuelita
Cuco may have become synonymous with dreamy Spanish indie bedroom pop, but he can also make some mean enchiladas verdes just like his abuelita used to make. In a recent recipe video by Tasty, Cuco explains how he got his name. “Cuco came from my mom saying I was crazy, like “coocoo,” cause I was a goofy kid. My grandparents speak Spanish, so they would say I was el Cuco,” he tells Tasty. The 21-year-old singer wanted to show us how to make proper enchiladas verdes because it’s the food he grew up eating, thanks to his mom, and has become one of his favorite dishes.
Here’s Cuco’s recipe, and all the other Mexicanos telling him that their abuela makes it different.
Start with fresh tomatillos, serrano peppers, and garlic.
I repeat. Cuco does not buy canned or jarred enchilada verde salsa. He makes them like a true abuela.
“If you want your salsa to be spicy, you can up the number of serrano peppers. If you like it more mild, I recommend using maybe like one or just like half a serrano pepper. You can also remove the seeds,” Cuco advises his Tasty viewers. “I personally like spicy, so I put serrano peppers to make it hot.”
Cuco isn’t about seedless salsa verde, y’all. He also reveals that he knows more than just how to make good enchilada verde salsa. He knows the why of it all.
“The reason we boil the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and the serrano peppers, is because we want to maintain the green color. If we were to roast the ingredients, we’d get more of a browner salsa,” he says in the video, casually blowing our uneducated minds.
After boiling everything to your liking, you just blend it all up in a blender, adding water until it becomes the consistency you want in a good enchilada salsa. Then, add the mixture to a pan and saute to bring out the flavors even more. Voila! You’ve made salsa verde. Now, add a thin layer at the bottom of your baking dish.
Don’t be lazy. Fry your tortillas for Cuco-approved enchiladas.
“It’s definitely worth taking extra time to fry tortillas. A crispier tortilla is more likely to hold its shape while baking and the enchiladas will be less mushy,” Cuco sagely offers like an abuelita would. “After you finish frying your tortillas, you’ll dip them in the remaining salsa. This will make them easier to roll and ensure they won’t dry out while baking,” he added, proving tradition runs deep in this indie artist.
Once you dip the fried tortillas in the salsa, you just to add shredded rotisserie chicken (or the vegan meat of your choice) to the center of the tortilla, and roll.
“We’re using rotisserie chicken here but this recipe is also good if you have any kind of leftover chicken you’re trying to get rid of,” Cuco says, reaching full hay-comida-en-la-casa status at the mention of leftovers.
After you’ve rolled the tortillas, you’ll want to take Cuco’s advice and “be sure to arrange them seam-side down” in the baking dish, so that “they’ll continue to hold its shape and filling during baking.” Top the enchiladas with the remaining salsa verde, and heap plenty of cheese on top. “I go crazy with the cheese. It’s just fire,” Cuco confesses to the outlet. Put it in the oven and broil for 3 minutes. Top off the cooked dish with cilantro and crema to help balance the spices of the salsa verde, and you’ve got yourself Cuco-approved enchiladas verdes.
Cuco thinks its “crucial” for people to try real Mexican food.
“I think it’s just really crucial to go try Mexican food if you haven’t tried it before because it expands beyond tacos,” he urged Tasty fans. “Tacos are good but there’s a lot more really good dishes in the culture – enchiladas verdes, chilaquiles, tortas, pozole. There’s good food everywhere. It’s good to know where the good food spots are at in your city.”
Cuco has proven to be a master of both English-language and Spanish-language indie pop music, often gifting us Latino-American Spanglish speakers the gift of Spanglish love songs. We’re even more in love with you, Cuco, given the way to our collective heart is good abuelita food. “I think food really connects people. Music and food are both like art,” Cuco himself said in the Tasty video. That makes Cuco a Renaissance Abuelo.