Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mi Gusta Enchiladas!

I initially made this recipe for a work potluck a couple of years ago- it was my test to see if the recipe was a keeper. Living in LA has really exposed me to great Mexican food but I have never felt apt to tackle the cuisine in my own kitchen and let alone, try to make it as authentic as possible. I went out of my comfort zone; I felt that the bevy of taste buds my coworkers provided would be a good gauge. The enchiladas were a major hit! I’ve made them time and time again, they are good for parties (transport well) and great to just have in the fridge for the next couple days or so after making them. They aren’t difficult to make, are unique from the “typical” chicken enchilada one would expect and I try to convince myself they have some desirable nutritional elements. The below, are an adaptation from the king of authentic Mexican cooking, Rick Bayless. Ole!






Adapted from Rick Bayless - Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style

Makes about 12 enchiladas


One whole fryer chicken – raw
2 bottles of beer
2 fresh poblano chilies
1 cup roughly chopped fresh spinach leaves
2 cups chicken broth (reserved)
2 cups milk
1 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup flour
3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken
12 corn tortillas
A little bit of oil for brushing
About 1 cup Mexican melting cheese (Chihuahua)
A small handful of chopped cilantro for garnish

Remove innards of chicken (I like to take them, add them to a saucepan with about a cup of water and make gravy for the dog, of course let it cool before feeding it to them).  Place the chicken in slow cooker, pour two bottles of beer and fill the rest of the pot with water until chicken is cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove chicken and let cool. To save time, you can use precooked chicken but I find it to be more dry and salty than cooking it yourself. Reserve 2 cups of the broth for the sauce.
Roast the poblanos in the broiler, turning when the skins blacken, do this to all sides. Place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes.  Rinse to remove seeds and the thick “plasticy” part of the skin. Chop into large pieces and add to the blender.  Add the spinach.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and broth, warm at medium low heat.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium- low heat.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute while stirring lightly, then add the flour and stir quicker for a minute.  Pour in the warm broth mixture and whisk constantly, raise heat, whisk until the sauce boils.  Reduce the heat to low medium and simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Remove from the heat.
Pour half of the sauce into the blender with the chilies and spinach. Blend until smooth with blender lid on and center part removed.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce.  Taste and season with salt, expect it to need salt.  
Pull apart the chicken, the meat should fall off the bone and shred naturally, feel to make sure you remove any pieces of cartilage, bone, skin and fat.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish.  Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the chicken and mix, season to taste.
This is important: Lay 6 tortillas out on a baking sheet and lightly brush both sides of the tortillas with oil; top each tortilla with another one and brush with oil.  Bake until warm but not brown, about 3 minutes.  Stack the tortillas, keep warm wrapped up in a towel.  
While tortillas are still warm, lay in the baking dish, in sauce, spoon chicken into center of tortilla, roll up chicken up in each tortilla, line them up, touching, until baking dish is full.  Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake until the enchiladas are hot, about 20 minutes, the cheese will brown.  Garnish with the cilantro.

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