Monday, January 21, 2008

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken & Melted Cheese

We don't make Mexican food all that often though every time we do its so good I think we should do it more. We received Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday for Christmas so maybe that will inspire us. It did inspire Matt to make these enchiladas Saturday night.
Red Chili Enchiladas with Chicken & Melted Cheese

4 med dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into flat pieces (we replaced most of the guajillos with anchos because I am a wimp about heat)
2 garlic cloves, peeled & quartered
1 28-oz can fired roasted diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 T vegetable or olive oil, plus a little extra for the tortillas
2 c chicken broth, plus a little extra if necessary
12 corn tortillas (we could not find anything but tiny corn tortillas so we used flour)
salt 1/2 t sugar
2 c coarsely shredded cooked chicken
1 c shredded Mexican melting cheese
1 small white onion cut into rings
cilantro for garnish (yeah we skipped this)

Turn on oven to 350. Set a medium skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, toast the chile pieces a few at a time, pressing them against the hot surface with a spatula until aromatic & lightened in color underneath, about 10 seconds per side. Transfer the roasted to a blender jar. Add the garlic, tomatoes with their juice, cumin & black pepper. blend until as smooth a consistency as possible.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over med-high heat. Set a medium-mesh strainer over the pan & pour in the sauce. Press through the strainer to remove bits of chile skin. Then cook, stirring until the sauce is reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to med-low and let simmer 10 minutes while you prepare the tortilla, filling & toppings.
Lay out the tortillas on a baking sheet & spray or brush lightly on both sides with oil, then stack them in twos. Slide the tortillas into the oven & bake just long enough to make them soft & pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven & stack them in a single pile; cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
Taste the sauce & season with salt, usually about 1 1/2 t, and the sugar. Stir in additional broth is the sauce has thickened beyond the consistency of light cream soup.
Spread about 1/2 c sauce over the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish. Stir another 1/2 cup sauce into the chicken. Lay out a warm tortilla, top with a portion of chicken & roll up. Lay seam side down in the baking dish. Continue filling & rolling the rest of the tortillas, then ladle the remaining sauce over the enchiladas & sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is starting to brown. Sprinkle with the onion rings & cilantro.

Matt said this went together very easily since the sauce is the thing that really takes the most work. This was really good & I liked the sauce a lot. I think if we had used all guajillos though I wouldn't have enjoyed it because of the heat. This mix of chiles gave just a hint of heat without burning. Also I liked the taste of the raw onion with the dish but would dice it to sprinkle on top next time rather than have to cut it as I ate.

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T = Tablespoon
t = teaspoon
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