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Chef Eric Ripert teaches us how to make vegetables the star of the plate.
Some versions of Oaxacan chileajo contain meat, but in chileajo de verduras (also known as chileajo de legumbres), vegetables are the main attraction, along with the earthy, garlicky red chili sauce that coats them (chileajo translates from the Spanish as chili-garlic). Garnet-toned guajillo chilies are mild and fruity; we toast them in a little oil to draw out their rich flavors before softening them in hot water, then we use some of the soaking water when blending the sauce. We especially like the trio of potatoes, cauliflower and green beans, but feel free to substitute your favorites, adjusting for different cooking times. Vegetable chileajo isn’t usually served as a main. But sandwiched in telera rolls to make tortas or spooned onto crisp tostadas and topped with a few—or all—of the optional garnishes (see below), we think it’s wholly satisfying.
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