Sunday, July 18, 2010

Green Enchiladas!

These are the heavenly vegetables that make up one of the most delicious dishes I know how to make. I will be eternally grateful to my friend, Jeni, for teaching me how to make Green Enchiladas. I usually make these once every year, in the spring, and I always think of Jeni when I do.

Queso Fresco and Crema are the very necessary toppings. They can usually be found in the refrigerated cheese section of a grocery store.

Let the drooling commence!

I just wanted to add in a picture of my munchkin eating lettuce. Not many little munchkins eat like he does. Not many adults eat the way he does. He will eat almost anything!

On to the recipe!

Enchiladas Verdes or Green Enchiladas.

3 cooked chicken breasts (boiled, broiled, baked, pre-cooked from the deli, cooked any way you like)
2.5 - 3 lbs tomatillos
2 (or more) serrano peppers
2-3 garlic cloves
1 bunch of cilantro
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
30 corn tortillos
olive oil

1 chopped white onion
Queso Fresco
Lettuce, cut into strips

Shred the chicken in a food processor. Set aside.

Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse thoroughly. The tomatillos do not need to be hulled. Put the tomatillos, serrano peppers, and garlic in a dutch oven and fill with enough water to cover the tomatillos by about 2 inches. Heat over high heat, boiling about 10 minutes. The tomatillos will turn a less vibrant green and soften. Don't let the tomatillos boil so long they burst and fall apart.

Rinse the cilantro. Cut off most of the leaves and a small part of the stems and put them in a blender. Put the cooked tomatillos, garlic, and serrano peppers in the blender as well. Reserve the cooking water. Grind the mixture, taking care not to turn it into mush. You want a few small chunks of tomatillos left.

If your name is Amanda, let the plastic lid fall into the blender and grind the whole mixture a few more times. Realize what you've done. Throw out the whole thing because there are now chips of clear plastic hiding in your beautiful tomatillo salsa. Go to the grocery store and get more tomatillos, cilantro, and serrano peppers. Make the tomatillo salsa again. Decide while the vegetables are boiling that you need a glass of wine. Taste every open bottle in your refrigerator. Gag as you get a mouthful of vinegar with each taste. Open a new bottle of wine and pour a very large glass of wine for yourself.

Add about a cup of the tomatillo salsa into the reserved shredded chicken and stir to incorporate. It should be the consistency of a dry chicken salad.

Get out 2 pans and 2-3 baking dishes. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees F. In the first pan, heat 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. In the second pan, heat about 1/2 cup of the tomatillo salsa and thin it with about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water or chicken broth. Spread a thin layer of the tomatillo salsa in the first baking dish. (I used 13x9 baking dishes.) Now is the time to put munchkins who are old enough to be trusted in the kitchen to work, using an assembly line approach. Put a corn tortilla in the olive oil and then flip it over to coat both sides of the tortilla, then let it fry on one side for about 30 seconds. The olive oil will bubble around the edges and then the tortilla will bubble up in spots. (There is no need to fry the torilla on the other side.) Transfer the tortilla (with tongs!) to the next pan with the thinned tomatillo salsa. Transfer the tortilla to the baking dish. Fill the tortilla with about 1/4 cup of the chicken/salsa and roll into an enchilada. The tortilla will be very hot at this point. Be careful not to burn your fingers. Repeat until the chicken is all used.

Sprinkle the baking pans of enchiladas with some chopped white onion and 1-2 Tbsp of the Queso fresco. Bake the enchiladas for 15 minutes at 350 F. This is really just to warm the enchiladas through.

To serve, put desired number of enchiladas on a plate and top with the lettuce of your choice (I used green leaf lettuce), chopped onion, queso fresco, and crema, all to taste.

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