Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Swear There are Enchiladas Under All That Sauce!

Rick Bayless has another name for these enchiladas, but I nicknamed them "deconstructed enchiladas" since the tortillas are folded at the bottom and all the fillings are dumped on top.  I'm sure my use of "deconstructed" isn't entirely correct, but that's what I've been calling them forever.

This recipe is great if you like spicy tomato sauce and have some leftover chicken laying around.  I always tell myself that I'm going to buy a rotisserie chicken and use it as a source of shredded chicken and then I never do.  So, for this batch of enchiladas, I sliced some chicken breast, seasoned it with adobo, and cooked it in a nonstick pan.

This sauce is very flavorful, and it can be spicy if you use a whole jalapeno (or more!).  Definitely let it reduce enough, otherwise you'll have watery enchiladas.  I add less broth than the recipe calls for and eyeball it from there.  I use both the sour cream + milk mixture and cilantro as garnishes, I think they're both necessary to complete the dish.  The sour cream mixture has a nice cooling effect and the cilantro adds some green to the dish. 

This recipe is mostly for the sauce.  The toppings can be used in whatever combination is preferred.  If you use vegetable broth, this dish can be vegetarian without the chicken.  Although I normally halve the recipe for two people, I use a whole jalapeno because I like spicy sauce.  I fold four tortillas in quarters and then use them to fill the bowl like a pie chart.  Sometimes, if I'm especially hungry, I fold a fifth tortilla and place it in the middle. 

Tomato and Jalapeno Sauced Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 2
From Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday

1 garlic clove, peeled
1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
One 14oz can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
1 Tbsp TB vegetable oil plus some for the tortillas (or some cooking spray for the tortillas, I use Wegmans brand)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
8 corn tortillas, preferably store-bought
Salt to taste

1 cup coarsely shredded cooked chicken  (I cooked a boneless skinless chicken breast seasoned with adobo)
1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream, thinned with 1 TB of milk
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup loosely packed, chopped cilantro
1/8 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other garnishing cheese such as grana padano (I used grana padano, it's always in my fridge and I don't want to spend the money for Mexican cheese unless I know I'm going to use it all). 

1) Prepare to heat the tortillas.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
2) Make the sauce.  With a food processor or blender running, drop in the garlic and chilies one piece at a time, letting each piece get finely chopped before adding the next. Drain the tomatoes, reserving their juice. Add the tomatoes and process until smooth.  I used a blender for this, I find it purees much more efficiently than a food processor. 
3)  Cook the sauce.  Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high.  Add the puree and cook, stirring nearly constantly until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick tomato sauce, about 7 minutes.  Add the reserved tomato juice and the broth.  I use 1/2 cup of the broth and then add extra if it looks like I need to, to avoid watery sauce. Simmer over medium-low for 10 minutes.
4)  Cook the tortillas.  While the sauce is simmering, lay out the tortillas on a baking sheet and spray or brush lightly on both sides with oil, then stack them in pairs.  Cook in the oven and bake long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and stack them in a single pile: cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
5)  Finish the sauce.  Taste and season the sauce with salt, usually about 1/2 tsp or less. Holding a warm tortilla by one edge, dip most of it into the hot sauce, then lay it in a shallow bowl (or large dinner plate if you don't have a shallow bowl handy) and fold it in quarters.  Do the same with three more tortillas, arranging them into a circle. Ladle a generous 1/4 cup of sauce over the tortillas, letting it pool around them.  Add more sauce if it doesn't look right to you.  Top with shredded chicken and white onion, then top with more sauce.  Drizzle with sour cream mixture and sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.  If you have any sauce left, add it now if you want. 

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