Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 3: Red Chili Enchiladas with Turkey and Melted Cheese

I'm not sure words can even express how delicious this was. I was planning to make fajitas or quesadillas or something later this week with the leftover chicken from tonight's roast chicken dinner, but now I'm thinking I might have to whip up another batch of these enchiladas instead. Possibly tomorrow.

SO delicious.

The recipe is from Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday, a cookbook I always intend to cook more from and then run into problems getting ingredients. Fortunately, there's now a Latin food store in downtown Milton that stocks things like the essential dried peppers. I expect over the year quite a few Bayless recipes will be making an appearance in this series.

Start with 1 ounce of dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into flat pieces:

Toast the pieces in a dry hot frying pan, about 10 seconds per side, just until they get fragrent - too long and they might burn, and you don't want that.

Then, pull out the FOOD PROCESSOR your darling husband surprised you with:

Isn't it pretty? I just love KitchenAid. It's powerful and surprisingly quiet, and I never would have tackled this recipe without it.

Put the chiles in the processor along with 2 cloves of peeled garlic, 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes with their juice, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, and 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Blend that up very thoroughly.

The can of tomatoes I used was actually too small (damn grocery store shrinkage), so I wound up with less sauce, which is important later. Next time I will make sure to use the full 28 ounces.

In a large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Put a mesh strainer over the pot, and dump the blended sauce into the strainer. Press through so the sauce hits the hot oil. This took a fair amount of work to get the liquid through (while leaving the solids in the strainer); I actually found it useful to mix in a couple of tablespoons of water as I was forcing the sauce through the strainer.

Cook the sauce until it reaches the consistency of tomato paste (Bayless says 5-7 minutes; possibly because of the added water it was more like 10-15). Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season with 1/2 tsp of sugar and salt to taste (I used about a half teaspoon).

This tastes so incredible. Nothing like canned enchilada sauce, it's a whole different world. It's sweet and smokey with just a hint of heat. Major flavour.

Warm a dozen corn tortillas (Bayless has a complicated method for this - I just sprinkled them with water and stuck the stack in the microwave for 20 seconds, then wrapped in a tea towel). You could do this with flour tortillas instead of corn, although in this dish I think the corn really works nicely (and I say that as someone who spent months perfecting homemade corn tortillas before finally coming to the conclusion that I don't really LIKE corn tortillas. But in this recipe they work well).

Spread a half cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. I'm using a small dish here because I had less sauce than I should have and decided to only make 9 enchiladas rather than 12.

Take 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken (I used turkey instead, because I got a cheap turkey breast when I went shopping) and toss with another 1/2 cup of the sauce.

Fill each tortilla with the chicken (or turkey!) mixture, roll, and place seam side down in the baking dish.

Sprinkle with 1 cup (or more!) of cheese, and top with the remaining sauce.

Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350 oven, until warmed through and the cheese has melted.

Seriously, SO GOOD. Next time I'll make a double batch.

(someone else has typed out the full recipe, you can find it here. also her blog is just very cool.)

I'm probably going to try some variations on the enchilada sauce, like making it with chipotle peppers or ancho peppers instead of the gaujillos. I bet the chipotles in particular would be amazing.

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