Monday, April 6, 2015

Enchiladas Verdes & Cilantro Lime Rice

This is one for the "Possibly-Even-Better-the-Next-Day" section of the cookbook in my head...Leftovers to Love or something like that...but these enchiladas (and the rice) are so good that leftovers may be a wild dream.
I frequently make big batches of enchiladas along with rice and beans to get myself set up for a week of quick & easy dinners. I love enchiladas and I've been making and refining my recipe since Jr. High Home Ec. Yes, I'm that old.
Many months back I was inspired by a staff meal concoction our chef made of leftover enchiladas verdes that he'd chopped up and tossed with rice and kidney beans. It was so delicious and all I could think about for the next few days was how to recreate this ASAP. I planned the majority of my weekend around it.
First up was a first-Enchiladas Verdes. I've been cooking Mexican dishes all my life and have never ventured toward the tomatillo. Green sauce? no thanks. That was then.
I pulled out my trusty Big Book of Cooks Illustrated and found exactly what I was looking for. True to form, I still spent an hour+ in a Google-thon, looking for the next best thing. Turns out there wasn't, but I already knew that didn't I? All I wanted was for it to be tomorrow already with enchiladas a done deal, cold and congealed sitting in my fridge.
While the chicken was poaching, I made a up the batch of tomatillo sauce and then prepared about a dozen enchiladas, enough to fit the pan and mistakenly made burritos with the rest of the chicken. Burritos are another great make ahead meal and though I was happy to have them later, I should have made more enchiladas. They looked amazing fresh out of the oven (I took pics but night time photography in my kitchen is pointless). I ate two right away and they tasted even better than they looked. I love, love, loved them. The tangy/spicy tomatillo sauce was beautifully balanced by the pepper jack cheese. I used Vella pepper jack, hand-made locally in Sonoma. It's super moist, flavorful and sinfully spicy, something you just can't get in a supermarket block cheese.
I reheated the enchiladas again the next day, which is what I photographed here so the tomatillo sauce isn't as bright as it was when I first pulled it out of the oven. The mess of a drizzle is a crema made with sour cream, lime juice, salt and cayenne pepper.
I don't know what I was thinking, but I re-heated the cilantro lime rice and some black beans I had in the freezer. I cut up the rest of the enchiladas and tossed everything together while it was warm. What a trainwreck. It all turned to mush, but man-o-man it was tasty. I ended up using it as a burrito filling, but in retrospect it would have made pretty awesome fritters.

Note to self: triple this recipe next time and be lovin' on leftovers all week long!
Enchiladas Verdes
Cooks Illustrated

4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves minced
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ pounds tomatillos
3 poblano peppers
1 – 2 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ cup fresh cilantro
8 ounces pepper jack cheese 
12 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil spray

½  cup Sour cream
Juice from one whole lime
Cayenne pepper

1.   Turn on the broiler. In a large skillet, heat oil and add the onion, tossing to coat with oil and cook until they begin to soften about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and 2/3 of the garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Add the chicken broth and the chicken breasts cover and cook until the broth starts to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked to 160 degrees, 15-20 minutes. Reserve the broth and let the chicken cool.
2.   Roast the poblanos either in the broiler by slicing down one side and spreading open. Scrape out the seeds and veins if you want less heat, otherwise leave them be. Lay the peppers on a sheet pan or the broiler pan and roast until the skin is blackened. You can also do this over the open flame of the stove top leaving the peppers whole and turning with tongs. Either way, once blackened place the peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them steam and cool down a bit. Then scrape the blackened skin off.
3.   Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the tomatillos: remove the papery skin and stem, slice in half across the widest part (the equator). Lay the tomatillos, cut side up on a parchment covered sheet pan and brush them across the top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatillos are soft and begin to brown, about 20 minutes.
4.   In the food processor add the cooked vegetables, sugar, salt, remaining garlic and ¼ cup of the reserved broth. Pulse until the sauce is still a little chunky.
5.   In a medium bowl, shred the chicken with two forks. Stir in the cilantro, grated pepper jack and salt to taste.
6.   Transfer the sauce into the skillet and heat. One at a time, dip a tortilla into the sauce so it softens enough to roll. Lay the tortilla on a plate, place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle and roll up. Lay the enchilada seam side down into a casserole dish and repeat. Pour the remaining tomatillo sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese over the sauce and cover tightly with foil.

7.   Bake the enchiladas until heated through and the cheese is melted and serve. Drizzle with crema and sprinkle sliced scallions on top 

Cilantro Lime Rice
Martha Stewart

Prepare white rice:
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Into the blender:
½ cup cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water

Toss into cooked rice

1 comment:

  1. Dear lord, woman! Can we cook together please? Hubby and I love Mexican food but I know virtually nothing about cooking it. (Old Italians from Chicago never did Mexican). Salsa verde is my absolute favorite but I have never bought any of those lovely tomatillos in the grocery. You have inspired me!