Saturday, March 15, 2014

Some like it hot

I mentioned that E has been training for the NYC half marathon for the last few months, which means I have been cooking carbs like crazy. Aside from pasta and pizza, these chicken and black bean enchiladas have made several appearances on the dinner table. We are a little obsessed. It had been ages since I made enchiladas, because they tend to feel like a little indulgent cheese bomb of heat, but they work out great for obsessive runners. Carbs, protein, veggies, boom. I now make a double batch and stick one in the freezer for another day cause I'm crafty like that.

I can't stress enough the difference it makes to have enchilada sauce from scratch. It's easy, cheap, and so much better than the canned stuff! One batch of this sauce easily makes a 9x13 pan of enchiladas (or two smaller pans like I make) and leaves extra for reheating leftovers. Once you make this you will never go back! The same goes for homemade refried black beans (which I'll post later so as not to clog your brain with too much tex-mex-amazement in one post).

Once you make the sauce, you can do anything you like to fill your enchiladas. I like to spoon a bit of sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and then brown the tortillas over an open flame (or the grill) to soften them up and give them a little toasty flavor. Fill each with your choice of fillings and a generous sprinkling of cheese before rolling and placing seam side down in the pan. Pour enchilada sauce over the whole pan and cover with another handful of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top.

Green Enchilada Sauce (two ways)
1 lb. tomatillos
1 1/2 lbs. Cubanelle or Anaheim peppers
1 dried habanero pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbls. cornstarch
salt and pepper

Boil 1 cup of water in small pot. Drop the habanero pepper in and set aside to soak.

Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the remaining peppers in a single layer. Broil, turning as needed, until softened and skin has blistered, about 15 minutes. Once cooled, remove skins, stems, and seeds and set aside. Drain the water from the habanero pepper, remove stem and seeds and set aside.

Peel and wash the tomatillos. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tomatoes and boil 5-7 minutes, until all of the tomatoes float to the surface. Drain and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add peppers and pulse until pureed.

Pour puree into a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add stock, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in a few Tbls. of warm water. Add to the tomatillo sauce, stirring, and return to a boil. Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes until sauce has thickened.

**When I make this sauce, I leave out the habanero until the end. That way most of the sauce is mild, perfect for making enchiladas for those who aren't heat crazed, or for a toddler with developing taste buds.
I reserve 1 1/2 cups of this sauce and then add it back to the food processor along with the habanero pepper. Pulse to combine and you have a nice spicy sauce that is a great accent to add over the top of the cooked enchiladas when serving.

Jude's first foodie photo bomb.

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