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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

WCC #5 - Cinco de Mayo!

I was so excited when Ali announced this month's theme for the Weekend Cookbook Challenge! Next to Italian, Mexican food is my 2nd favorite, hands down. We're lucky, we have an authentic Mexican restaurant nearby.. and when I say it's authentic, it's authentic right down to the home made dishes and mariachi band that walks through the dining room the whole evening. It's a great place to go when you are really feeling like having some fun at dinner time!

As soon as I saw the theme, I knew exactly what I was going to make. Chicken Enchiladas - mmmm mmmm good! This is actually one of my signature dishes that I make for a lot of parties I hold or attend. Although there are quite a few ingredients in it, it's a snap to make and it always turns out delish. This time around, for some odd reason, my grocery store didn't have corn tortillas in stock, so I used flour tortillas and really? They worked just as well and I got to save some time by skipping the step of soaking and heating the corn tortillas before filling them, so that was nice. =)

I found this recipe many years ago in a cookbook simply called "Mexico" it's a paperback cookbook that holds Mexican delights that are rustic and the recipes are simple to understand, which is why I like this book so much. There isn't a lot of fussing to make the dishes they offer, but I do find some ingredients are hard to find in these parts, so I usually have to improvise. Not their fault.. just the joys of living in the Armpit of the Midwest :D

I usually top these with guacamole and sour cream. I got the guacamole recipe from my friend Mindy and the recipe will be included at the bottom of this post.


5-10-06 (1)
Chicken Enchiladas

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or the meat from 1 medium sized roasted chicken
1 cup. marinade of your choice (I take a shortcut here and simply use Wishbone Italian Robusto salad dressing)
If you are using the roasted chicken, you can skip the marinade step.
2 TBS. olive oil
1 large spanish onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly, halved
10 6" corn tortillas (you can also use flour tortillas)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar or mexican blend cheese, halved

Toppings: sour cream, chives, more green onions, guacamole* or salsa.

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Slice chicken breasts into large strips. Place the cut chicken into your favorite marinade and sit aside for at least 30 minutes, although you can do this step the morning of or the night before.

In a large skillet, brown the chicken and spanish onion in the oil. Once browned, add the diced tomato w/chilies, soup, stock and stewed tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take chicken out and place in shallow bowl. Continue simmering the sauce until it's reduced by half - about 20 to 30 minutes longer. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, using a fork or your hands, shred the meat. Then cover it loosely with foil to keep warm. After the sauce has reduced, pour it into the bottom of a 9" x 13" x 2" baking dish, reserving approximately 1/2 cup.

Combine the reserved 1/2 cup of the sauce and 1/2 of the sliced green onions with the shredded chicken. You don't want a soupy mixture so adjust the amount of sauce to whatever it takes to make the chicken mixture almost paste like. Set aside. In a small skillet, warm the cream, but do not bring it to a boil. Place one corn tortilla in the warm cream and let sit for about 20 seconds. Using tongs, flip it over and let sit for another 20 seconds. What you are doing is softening the tortillas so when you roll them they won't break. Skip this process if you are using flour tortillas, they are pliable enough the way they are out of the package to roll easily without breaking. Allow the excess cream to drip off the tortilla and place on a flat dish or tray. Immediately place about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in the middle of the tortilla, top with cheese and wrap tightly. Place it seam down on the sauce in the baking dish. Repeat this process, one by one, until you've used up all the chicken mixture. You should get at least 8 enchiladas.

Once your enchiladas are rolled and in the baking dish, top with remaining green onions and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, or until the cheese has melted and is goldeny brown and delicious.

Plate your enchiladas and top them with whatever topping that floats your boat :D


5-10-06 (5)

A note about the guacamole - I'm including this recipe even though I don't know exactly where it came from. I got the recipe from my friend Mindy, who got it from a friend, who got it from a friend and so on and so on.. So I'm probably breaking the rules here? Also, I didn't have the ingredients to make it with the enchiladas so there is no picture, which might not be a bad thing because well.. let's just say this guacamole is not smooth, it has chunks of good stuff in it and uhmm.. if you didn't know what kind of tasty goodness it holds, you could mistake it for something you might find in a diaper. :S Now, do I win the prize for an outstanding description of this dish? Yeah, my guess is the avocado farmers' PR firm won't be looking to hire me any time soon. heeee!

guacamole5-15-06
Mindy's Guacamole

4 Avocados (peeled) (Make sure they are ripe not hard)
4 TBS. lime juice
4 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
3 TBS. red onion, chopped small - not quite a mince.
1 tsp red chili sauce (I use Shirachi sauce found in the Chinese aisle)
Few dashes of chipotle Tabasco sauce
4 tsp. tomato Concase (I just use about 10 grape tomatoes chopped fine)
4 tsp. olive oil
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste.

If you own a food processor, you don't have to finely chop all the ingredients, just chunk them and throw all ingredients except the avocado in and pulse a couple times. Do not puree. You want a rough chop for a great texture and so that you can identify all the vegetables. Once you have them mixed, in a seperate bowl, smash the avocado with a fork and then combine the mash into the other ingredients. Place in refidgerator for a couple hours to let the flavors meld. This guacamole does not have good "staying" power, so it should be used immediately as the avocado will turn brown after a day or so. This is also a wonderful dip for tortilla chips and Mindy says it's fabulous on turkey wraps as well. =)

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Comments on "WCC #5 - Cinco de Mayo!"

 

Anonymous Ellie said ... (5/11/2006 9:12 AM) : 

I love living in Melbourne and it's cosmopolitan environment - a walk through the city reveals restaurants which host almost every kind of cuisine you can imagine, from nepalese to classic italian...

but unfortunately, mexican restaurants are lacking, there's only one that I can get to, and with a few friends who work there and tell me that they don't trust the food, I'm not terribly inclined to eat there :(

I need a good mexican cookbook - any suggestions? (btw, those enchiladas look lovely and saucy!)

 

Blogger Lis said ... (5/11/2006 11:21 AM) : 

Aww that sucks about the mexican restaurant. =(

And yes.. I do have a recommendation! Although that Mexico book is great, I really recommend La Comida Del Barrio by Aarón Sanchez. The recipes are fantastic and he covers a wide range of different latin dishes. The recipes are easy to follow and the handful I've tried are wonderful in taste, texture and looks! There's an added bonus too.. there are pictures of him throughout the book.. that in itself is DELISH :)~~~~ <-- drool

 

Anonymous Ivonne said ... (5/11/2006 4:22 PM) : 

Wow, Lis!

Those look fantastic ... goodness I wish I could have some chicken enchiladas right now.

Happy (belated) Cinco de Mayo!

 

Anonymous emily said ... (5/11/2006 10:28 PM) : 

My family loves Mexican food.I just know this will be a dish that I make over and over.

 

Blogger Alicat said ... (5/12/2006 1:02 AM) : 

YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMY. drooling...

 

Blogger Lis said ... (5/12/2006 6:40 AM) : 

Ivonne - If I had your addie and could figure out a way to send them up to you while still sizzling warm and gooey, I would! :D

Emily - Please let me know how you like them.. I love hearing if the things I make and love are just as good for the people that try them :)

Ali sweetie - heheee I've sent you a napkin, dear :D

 

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