I've been craving Mexican food in the most serious way lately. So, I was thrilled to learn that the May Daring Cooks Challenge was "Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas." Enchiladas are just about my favorite thing ever (it probably has everything to do with them being smothered in cheese). Anyway, as I'm wont to do when I'm excited about something, I went overboard. I made my own tortillas (totally unnecessary, but I didn't find roasting chiles or making sauce to be challenging), grilled vegetables instead of chicken (which is more time consuming, unfortunately), made margaritas from scratch, and made those Besos and Curtido you saw in previous posts. That was too much work, and not something I'm likely to repeat--but it was all well worth it.
(Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh).
Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Vegetable Enchiladas:
-1½ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams - roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely. Other green chiles (NOT bell peppers) could probably be substituted but be conscious of heat and size!)
-7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium)212 grams - peel, remove stems
-4 cups Chicken broth (32 ounces/920 grams) (**NOTE: I used vegetable broth).
-1 clove Garlic, minced
-2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
-¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
-2 tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolve in 2 tablespoons water, for thickening)
-Hot sauce, your favorite, optional (**NOTE: I added a couple dashes of cayenne. My sauce was *really* spicy. So, beware!)
-Hearty vegetables of your choosing, quartered
-Adobo seasoning and cumin for sprinkling (Technically optional, but really recommended!)
-3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
-Kosher salt and pepper
-12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm). (you can also use wheat tortillas or other wraps)
-6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled optional.
Roasting Fresh Chiles
1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.
5. DO NOT RINSE!
Green Chile Sauce
1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.
6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.
Corn Tortillas (from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen)
-Makes about 15
-1 3/4 cups masa harina
-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water
1. Pour hot water over masa harina, cover and let sit 30 minutes. Add (additional) cool water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is soft but not sticky. Divide the dough into 15 balls and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Heat a large (two burner) ungreased griddle or two large skillets, one on medium-low and one on medium-high.
3. Put a ball of dough between two sheets of plastic. If you don’t have a tortilla press, press to a 5-6” circle using a heavy frying pan or bread board or other heavy, flat object.
4. Put the tortilla into the cooler pan or cooler end of the griddle. The tortilla will probably stick, but within 15 seconds, if the temperature is correct, it will release. Flip it at that point onto the hotter skillet/griddle section. In 30-45 seconds, it should be dotted with brown underneath. Flip it over, still on the hot surface and brown another 30 seconds or so. A good tortilla will balloon up at this point. Remove from heat and let them rest while cooking the remaining tortillas. Use quickly.
1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal. Cut vegetables into quarters (or large chunks), coat with olive or vegetable oil, and a sprinkling of Adobo seasoning and cumin.
2. Grill the vegetables until just cooked through. Time will vary depending on the vegetable. **NOTE: The quickest for me were the mushrooms and peppers. The slowest was the chayote squash.**
3. Cool and then slice into strips.
4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the vegetables among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the vegetables, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.