Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A definite 'wow' for me

Enchiladas Suizas
Fiesta Southwest Entertaining with Jane Butel Copyright 1987

The Chicken:
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

The Sauce:
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)

The Casserole:
12 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
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.


Annie Jones said...

I prefer dark meat in both chicken and turkey. I like both the darker and lighter meat when it comes to pork.

Do you have Aldi where you live? I am able to find masa at both Aldi and Wal-Mart here, as well as most other grocery stores.

MommyProf said...

FWIW, Alton Brown's masa show suggested that if you have Mexican restaurants in your town, you have a tortilleria and you can buy the Masa from them. I checked here in Mid-sized City and it was true, and they also make the fresh salsa that a lot of the Mexican places have, which you can buy from them in quantity for cheap.

Angie's Recipes said...

Have yet tried this, it looks and sounds like a great comforting food.

Angie's Recipes

#1SAHM said...

I love chicken suiza!!! Anyway, I'm more of a light meat girl myself but dark meat has more iron and other good nutrients that light meat doesn't have (at least not as much).

Heather said...

Dark meat for sure, especially from the Thanksgiving turkey. I am usually surrounded by white-meat people, so more for me I guess! I think dark meat is a lot more forgiving when it comes to overcooking and dryness, not that it would ever happen to me of course ;-)

I love enchiladas suiza, I will definitely be trying this recipe sometime.

Anonymous said...

I love enchiladas suiza, but I am a white meat chicken breast person. I just can't warm up to the dark meat. I also love fresh homemade corn tortillas, but they are too labor intense for me.

Chocolaty Lifestyle said...

Oh what a nice recipe! I have to bookmark this one! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh....this looks and sounds so delicious. I'll definitely try it. I've become more of a dark meat person the last few years.


Hope little Dan is over the trauma of his thrill ride on the slide. :)

Randi said...

always white. I can't stand dark. I dont even like to touch it!!

Anonymous said...

Generally white meat, but I've fallen in love with chicken thighs, which are a nice in-between. Also - Aldi carries corn masa. There are 75 locations in PA (I live in the Lancaster area), and it's a FANTASTIC place to cut your grocery bill (which I see you, too, are trying to do). If you're not familiar with Aldi, It's a German chain that carries only their store brands, and you bring your own bags, so everything is much cheaper. Take a quarter to get a cart - you get it back when you return the cart. I've liked everything I've bought there (weekly shopping stop).