Monday, September 28, 2015

enchiladas verdes.

September has practically disappeared and I'm not entirely sure how that happened.  I guess when you spend 2 glorious weeks living in a bubble far removed from reality you kind of loose sight of time.  It's a shame that it snuck past me because September is my favorite. Apples are plentiful, it's possible to sleep with the windows open (I sleep like a baby in this weather), plaid and flannel becomes a weekly wardrobe staple, and you can turn on your oven (and not sweat to death!) which means baked dishes have now become a dinner staple.

The baked dishes of September are my favorite because they can incorporate the last remaining summer ingredients in a new way. In August you probably ate a lot of raw tomatoes (ideally paired with burrata and basil) but in September you can roast them and toss them with cubes of mozzarella and rigatoni for an incredibly satisfying summer supper. In August, tomatillos became salsa and dinners consisted of chips, salsa, and margaritas (a completely acceptable dinner when it's 90 degrees), in September, you can't got wrong with enchiladas verdes.

Enchiladas verdes is a simple baked dish that no one can resist.   I prefer making enchiladas at home because they are lighter and brighter.  Not exactly health food, but when you avoid drowning them in cheese they could almost be considered healthy. The salsa verde is bright and tangy and pairs perfectly with leftover roast chicken to make an incredibly delightful meal.  

Enchiladas Verdes 
Recipe adapted from the Homesick Texan

For the Salsa Verde

1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 or 2 serrano chiles, cut in half, stems removed (depending on how hot you want it)
1 cup cilantro, leaves and stems
3 cups chicken stock or water (in a pinch)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste

For the Enchiladas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
16 corn tortillas
2 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Muenster, Asadero or Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream
2 peeled and pitted avocados, cubed

To make the salsa, place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, serrano chiles and cilantro in a large pot. Add 3 cups of stock or water and bring to a boil on high. Continue to boil uncovered for 10 minutes or until the tomatillos go from a bright green to a light, muted green (If the water doesn’t cover them completely, don’t add more water just turn the tomatillos in the pot halfway through the cooking so all sides are exposed to the boiling water). Turn of the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the pot contents to a blender and blend until smooth. (If you don’t let the vegetables cool, the steam will make the blender lid pop off, which makes for a bit of a mess.) Add cumin and salt to taste. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and spread 1 cup of the salsa along the bottom.  Place the rest of the salsa in a large bowl (large enough to dip the tortillas in). In a skillet, heat up the oil on medium-low heat. One at a time, heat up the tortillas in the oil, and then keep them wrapped in a cloth or tortilla warmer until all the tortillas are heated. 

To assemble the enchiladas, take a heated tortilla dip (VERY BRIEFLY) into the salsa, place a couple of tablespoons of chicken down the center, and then roll the tortilla. Place filled tortilla in the baking dish and repeat. 

Pour evenly over the rolled enchiladas the rest of the salsa. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Serve warm topped with sour cream and cubed avocado.   

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