Monday, April 28, 2008

Got leftovers? Not anymore: Tomatillo Verde Enchiladas

Sorry for the long hiatus from posting. Blame it on my MacBook Pro whose hard drive was grinding and clicking, and is now back to blessed silence after a vacation at MacForce here in PDX. Even with five days off of blogland, you can rest assured I've not gone hungry, so lots of enjoyable edibles are backed up.

The first thing that has to be shared though, are the best use of meaty leftovers I've had in a long time. In this case it was about two pounds of pernil...a crazily delicious Puerto Rican slow-roasted pork shoulder...from our dinner party a couple of Sundays ago that, thanks to our friend Shauneen's recipe sharing tendencies, were transformed into maybe the most awesome homemade enchiladas I have ever had. I have to say for enchiladas there was a fair amount of prep involved, but the reward is SO worth it. Plus like any new recipe, the second time through always goes so much faster. Meaning I can't wait for another chance to make these killer roll-ups. The roasted tomatillo verde sauce was freakishly good, coming together incredibly easily and so fresh and complex. The original recipe called for a store bought rotisserie chicken, but you could use any leftover meat, or for those of you of the vegetarian persuasion, a big pile of char-grilled veggies. It isn't about the meat/veggie part as it is the out-of-this-world verde sauce. Oh, and the leftovers reheated were about the best lunchtime treat, too. This great grub that I would serve to guests in a heartbeat!
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Chicken (or pork, or beef, or veggie, or.....) Verde Enchiladas

Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa:
1 pound tomatillos, husked
1 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered or whole
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock, store bought
Chopped cilantro leaves
1 deli roasted chicken (about 3 pounds), boned, meat shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 large flour tortillas
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups sour cream
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, for garnish
Guacamole, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the salsa: On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.

Enchiladas: Meanwhile heat a 2 count of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized - this should take 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 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, some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F and begin assembling the dish. Take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Now take the flour tortillas and briefly flash them over the stove-top flame (or put them briefly under the broiler if using an electric stove). Using a shallow bowl, 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. Using a spatula place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Finally pour over some more of the salsa and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish, cilantro and tomato.

Serve hot with the remaining tomatillo salsa, sour cream and fresh guacamole, if desired.

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