Jan 12, 2009

Cooks Illustrated Enchiladas Verdes

Help I live in up-state NY and there isn't any good Mexican food close by!  Do you ever feel this way, where ever you live? I come with hope today that you too can make a delicious Mexican dish that will knock your socks off! It is not as easy as 1-2-3 (oh please DO NOT open a can of El Passo Enchilada sauce, just don't), but it well worth the effort. Someone gave me this recipe and it is from a source I trust well (that is an understatement). If any of you foodies out there love to cook, you MUST get a subscription to Cooks Illustrated or Cooks Country Kitchen (same people). They are great. Best of all they are free of adds so there isn't anything to interrupt your reading enjoyment! They walk you through the recipe step by step, show you why they choose what they did, and do product reviews. It is really a great magazine. So with out further ado...

Enchiladas Verdes

4 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, pressed (about 1 TBS)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 LBS boneless, skinless chicken breast (2-3 breasts, trimmed of excess fat)
1 1/2 LBS tomatillos (see picture below), 16-20 medium size, husks and stems removed, rinsed well and dried
3 medium poblano chiles, halved lengthwise, stemmed, and seeded
1-2 1/2 tsp sugar
table salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 oz pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (2 cups)
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (I tried these and regular flour and actually like the flour better)

Garnish (optional)
2 medium scallions, sliced thin
Thinly sliced radishes
sour cream

1. Adjust oven racks to middle and highest positions and heat broiler. Heat 2 tsp oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering; add onion and cook, stirring frequently until golden, 6-8 minutes. Add 2 tsp garlic and cumin; cook stirring frequently until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Decrease heat to low and stir in broth. Add chicken breast, cover, and simmer until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees (ok I didn't use the thermometer, I just cut open a breast to see if the pink was gone. Mine were done faster - 10 minutes), 15 - 20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to large bowl; place in refrigerator to cool. Remove 1/4 cup liquid from saucepan and set aside; discard remaining liquid.

2. Meanwhile, toss tomatillos and poblanos with remaining 2 tsp oil; arrange on rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, with poblanos skin-side up. Broil until vegetables blacken and start to softened, 5-10 minutes (mine took longer - just keep you eye on them) , rotating pan halfway through cooking. Cool 10 minutes then remove skin from poblanos (leave tomatillo skin intact). Transfer tomatillos and chiles to a food processor. Decrease oven temperature to 350. Discard foil from baking sheet and set baking sheet aside for warming tortillas.

3. Add 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, remaining tsp garlic, and reserved cooking liquid to food processor; process until sauce is somewhat chunky, about 8 1-second pulses (again mine took more). Taste sauce; season with salt and pepper and adjust tartness by stirring in remaining sugar, 1/2 tsp at a time. Set aside sauce (you should have 3 cups).

4. When chicken is cool, pull into shreds using hands or 2 forks (hands are the easiest). Combine chicken with cilantro and 1 1/2 cups cheese, season with salt.

5. Smear bottom of a 13x9 baking dish with 3/4 cup tomatillo sauce. Place tortillas on 2 baking sheets. Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Bake until tortillas are soft and pliable, 2-4 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place warm tortillas on counter top and spread 1/3 cup filling down the center of each tortillas. Roll each tortillas tightly and place in baking dish, seam side down. Pour remaining tomatillo sauce over top of enchiladas. Use the back of a spoon to spread sauce so that it coats the top of each tortilla. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese (or more!!). Cover baking dish with foil.

6. Bake enchiladas on middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with scallions (I skipped this but I'm sure it would be good) and serve immediately, passing radishes and sour cream separately.

Tomitillos and poblanos are NOT hard to find. I found mine at Walmart!

This is a tomitillo in its husk, which you will peel off. Look for husks that are tight fitting around the vegetable, a little of green veggie poking out of the bottom of the husk.

These poblano peppers came a long way to be in Up-state NY, so the quality lacked a little bit. If you can find them before they look wrinkled, that is best. In some grocery stores, you can request items. If you can't find these items, request them!

Peeled the tomitillo looks like a small green tomato, although they are NOT interchangeable!

To the left are perfect tomitillos, dark green in color. To the right are NOT so good tomitillos, light green/yellow.

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