Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A definite 'wow' for me
Fiesta Southwest Entertaining with Jane Butel Copyright 1987
3 chicken thighs and legs, or 2 chicken breasts I used the thighs and legs
1 large carrot, cut into thirds
1 celery rib, quartered
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sweet butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups rich chicken stock from cooking the chicken
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped green chiles (3 to 4 parched and peeled)
12 corn tortillas
The cooked chicken removed from the bones and pulled or shredded
2 cups coarsely grated Monterey Jack and sharp full cream Cheddar, tossed together
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup finely chopped purple Spanish onion I left it out
1. Place all the chicken ingredients in a large pot, add water to barely cover over the tips of the meat, cover, and simmer until chicken is tender. The bones should wiggle and the meat should be very tender to the touch of a fork.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. (Meanwhile? You need the broth from the chicken, how can you make the sauce while you're still making the chicken.) Melt the butter, add the flour, and stir together until slightly brown. Then slowly stir in the chicken stock, a little at a time, until a rich, thick sauce develops. Stir in the cilantro and the green chiles. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. Heat about an inch of oil and lightly fry the tortillas. Drain well. Then dip each tortilla in to the sauce, place a strip of the cooked chicken and a sprinkle of the cheeses in the center, and roll, placing them seam side down in a casserole, preferably an authentic Mexican one.
4. When all are rolled, distribute the remaining sauce and cheeses evenly over the tortillas. Pour the cream evenly over the entire casserole. Top with a ribbon of the ¼ cup coarsely chopped onion.
5. Either freeze for up to 3 months, well covered in moisture-proof packaging, or bake immediately in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.
Note: If frozen, bake 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbling hot.
My original plan was to make my own tortillas using the tortilla press that I picked up for $1 at a yard sale. The press works great but I couldn't find masa anywhere. I should have gone to Wegman's. I tried corn flour but it wasn't working and frankly, I wasn't in the mood to struggle with it, especially when corn tortillas are so inexpensive to buy.
These were different than the spicier enchiladas I've made but oh man were they good. The dark chicken meat added so much flavor. I used really good cheese - Cabot Monterey Jack and their Extra Sharp Cheddar. The cream put this over the top but I think it would still be a good dish without the cream or with a lesser amount.
These were part of an 'Apres Ski' menu so I guess it was assumed that you would burn a lot of calories while skiing before eating these. The menu also included Hot Buttered Rum, Chile meatballs and an apple crisp.
These are a bit too decadent to make on a regular basis but I will make them again someday. I am sure of that.
This is one of my oldest cookbooks, well one that I've owned the longest. I have no idea why I've been ignoring it. I think I might have mentally lumped it in with Diana Kennedy's Mexican cookbooks, which I could find no use for. This book is nothing like that book. While it may have been a challenge to find some of the ingredients in most areas of America when this book was published in the late 80s, now you could find them just about anywhere. There are a lot of recipes in this book that I'm looking forward to trying.
Question of the Day: White or dark meat? Lately I've been choosing dark meat more often. For some reason, I haven't been in the mood for chicken breasts for a while. I think I just needed a break since they were a regular staple for so long.