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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo...Enchiladas with Homemade chiplotle red sauce

New Mexican chile pepper pods have a pungent, earthy flavor, and slightly sweet flavor…. which you might find quite addicting. These chiles are also known as California or Anaheim peppers, before they are dried. These are the chiles that I prefer for my enchiladas, but to be honest there are millions of different sauces and variations of chiles that can be used to make a red enchilada sauce.

For instance, my friend’s mother swear by Guajillo, the work horse of Mexican chiles, they are slightly spicier then the New Mexico chile and have an almost smoky flavor. Then there are the Passila and the Ancho, the combination of all the various chiles mentioned. You can mix and match till you find the sauce that is just right for you.

I know that many people love their Mexican food spicy, and for that I call upon the Chipotle in Adobo!! This is my favorite way to add a kick to any Mexican and Southwestern flavored dish (and sometimes I just puree them with Mayonnaise and lime juice to put on anything- from shrimp to a turkey sandwich). Just take one of these beauties out if the can, I never recommend using more than one (I also suggest you start small and work your way up- chop off a small piece of the chile and add it to the sauce and keep adding till you get the heat you like), and puree it into the my enchilada sauce. This makes my roommate very happy!!!!

Cheese Enchiladas with Red Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

7 New Mexico chilies, whipped clean, seeded, stemmed and torn into small pieces
1 ½ cups Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
2 ½ cups Chicken broth
1 ½ cups Water
1 tbsp Chipotle in adobo(optional), chopped
2 tsp Coriander
½ tsp Garlic salt
½ tsp Oregano
¼ cup Lime juice

1/3 cup Vegetable oil
12 Corn tortillas
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterrey Jack or Oaxacan, shredded

¼ cup Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
Crema or sour cream

In a sauté pan, over medium heat, add onions, garlic, and chile. Cook till onions and garlic are lightly toasted.
Add chicken broth and water.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and place in a blender, add chipotle, coriander, garlic salt, oregano and lime juice. Blend till smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl mix together cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese, reserving ¼ cup of cheese mixture.
Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, add 1 tortilla and cook until softened, turning once, about 15 to 30 seconds for each side.
Transfer tortilla to paper towel lined plate and drain well. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spoon 1/3 enchilada sauce into a baking dish, and spread to coat.
Spoon cheese into slightly off center of the tortilla, roll up tortilla and place seam side down in prepared dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas, making sure they do not touch each other.
Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Cover with foil.
Bake enchiladas, covered, until sauce bubbles and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.
Remove foil and add remaining cheese, cook till cheese melts.
Serve hot, drizzled with crema or sour cream.

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