Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Truly Verde Enchiladas

Apologies to Al Gore, but reducing your carbon footprint is so last year. Anyone who's been even vaguely listening in the last few months is hearing the growing chorus of voices from the likes of Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver and, most recently, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman about bringing green to the table. And they're not just talking parsley.

The chicken mixture with extra roasted tomatillos (at top in photo) for a future batch!

Even Monsanto is trying to (falsely) jump on the bandwagon with a new tagline that trumpets the giant agrichemical, GMO-promoting corporation as "committed to sustainable agriculture." Though I almost threw an (organically grown) tomato at the radio when I heard that on NPR's business show, Marketplace, yesterday. (Don't they vet those sponsor taglines for accuracy?)

But I digress. The point of this post is to share a recipe for chicken verde enchiladas that I stitched together, Frankenstein-like, from a recipe from my brother's friend Shauneen (about 75%), a recent batch of tomatillo salsa from Mark Bittman (15%) and my own messing around (10%, if that).

Assembled and ready to go in the oven.

And yes, nearly all of the ingredients are organically grown (though not necessary certified). The brilliant thing about Shauneen's recipe was that it called for a roasted deli chicken instead of a) roasting it just for this recipe, way too much trouble for me, and b) using leftovers, still a good idea but we often don't have enough remaining.

To make it Dave-safe, I used extra-sharp cheddar (a serious transgression, I know, but fake cheese is worse) and tofu sour cream (from Tofutti, my fave fake product) for garnish. Otherwise, like I said, totally green!

Chicken Verde Enchiladas
From a variety of sources (see above)

For the roasted tomatillo chile salsa:

1 lb. tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 yellow onion, peeled, sliced and quartered
4 garlic cloves
2 ancho chiles, roasted, skins removed, stemmed and seeded
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 c. chopped cilantro leaves
1 lime, juiced

For the enchiladas:
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 med. onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. chicken stock
1 roasted chicken (from the deli, about 3 pounds), boned, meat shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 lg. (approx. 8" diam.) flour tortillas
1/2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 c. sour cream
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, for garnish
Guacamole, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, quartered onion and garlic for 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the roasted chiles, cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still a little chunky. Add more salt to taste.

Meanwhile heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn't burn, then very gradually add the chicken stock to make a veloute. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo chile salsa and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lower the temperature of the oven to 350° and begin assembling the dish. Take a 9" by 12" baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Take the flour tortillas and coat each tortilla lightly with the reserved salsa mix. Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix on top of the tortilla followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll like a cigar to enclose it. Line up the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Finally pour over the remaining salsa, spread evenly and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30-45 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish with cilantro and tomato.

Serve hot with sour cream and fresh guacamole, if desired. (Chipotle sauce also adds a nice smokiness.)


The Cooking Photographer said...

That looks so good!

bb said...

I LOVES me some chile verde enchiladas! Mmmm, makes me want to roast a chix so I'll have some leftovers....

Kathleen Bauer said...

Believe me, it is deeeeee-LISH-us!

And bb, it is your recipe (with Shauneen, of course) so thanks to both of you! And why buying a roaster at the store never occurred to me, I'll never know, but it was a head-slapper for sure! D'oh!

Kim said...

:::happy dance::: I planted SIX tomatillos this year for the sole purpose of attracting bees into my garden for better pollinization. Now I have recipe to enjoy them with.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Oh, wow, I'm jealous! Use the sauce by itself, too, as a dip with chips, or as a salsa on tacos.

Anyone else have a favorite tomatillo recipe to share?

jmhannan said...

Yum, sounds and looks great...only thing I see missing is some heat. (Personal preference, I know.) I'll roast a jalapeño and chop a serrano and toss them into the blender with the rest of the ingredients when I make a chile verde. We like it spicy in SF ;-)

Kathleen Bauer said...

In the first batch I made, the anchos had enough heat that more wasn't necessary. Coincidentally, I made some last night for salmon tacos (delicious!) and the anchos were mild, requiring the addition of serranos. (I've run into jalapenos with wildly varying degrees of heat, so serranos are my current pepper of choice since they seem to have a more consistent heat profile.)