04 January 2011

Family recipe Monday: enchiladas

Sign photo courtesy of our friend Pat. It describes the past few days very well.

It's been a non-stop beginning to 2011, dealing with the aftermath of the water in the new building. In the midst of the hectic day yesterday, I received an envelope confirming my appointment as Interim Director of the museum. I had so hoped to be called Czarina, but I guess that's not on the state position roster.

To celebrate both the job title change and the fact that we survived three days of post-water aftermath with very little damage, our friend Pat made crayfish gumbo and I made pineapple upside-down skillet cake. They were both great comfort foods. The night before, we made venison chili stew, so our leftovers currently are unbelievable. Pat has headed back for Colorado and I am contemplating making a big pan of enchiladas to have on hand for the next few days.

Enchiladas are wonderful and as simple or as complicated as you want them to be. The Mexican saying "estas no son enchiladas" (these are not enchiladas) is used to describe anything that is not easy. As noted in the great discussion here, "enchilada" simply means "dipped in chili."

It seems as if every Texan has a version of this recipe. Because it is Texan, the enchiladas are rolled. In New Mexico, they are stacked. You can get into endless discussions about the pros and cons of each approach, which I will not do here. These are Texan. They are rolled. Not up for discussion.

Kerrville jalapeño chicken enchiladas
1 large stewing chicken
1 quart water
2 stalks celery, cut into 4” chunks
1 T salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. poultry seasoning

Put the chicken in a pan with the water, celery, and seasonings. Boil the chicken until tender. Remove chicken and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, Remove the meat from the bones and shred. Keep the dark and light meat separated. Make the sauce:

Jalapeño sauce

2 T salad oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 fresh green jalapeños, finely chopped
1 cup cooked shredded dark chicken meat
3/4 cup water
½ tsp. salt
Dash of pepper

Sauté the onion and jalapeños in the salad oil until tender (5-6 minutes). Add chicken and stir for about 2 minutes. Add water, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Assemble the enchiladas using the following:

2 cups cooking oil
12 corn tortillas
3 cups of the remaining chicken
4-5 cups jalapeño sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a skillet. One at a time, dip the tortillas into the oil for a few seconds, just enough to soften. Set each aside on a paper towel or platter. Spoon about 2 T of shredded chicken into the center of each tortilla. Cover the chicken with about 1 T of the sauce. Roll and place the enchiladas seam side down. When all the tortillas have been filled, place them in a baking pan, pour the remaining sauce over them, and top with cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 475* F oven or until the cheese has melted. Serve at once. Serves 6.

You can expand the recipe as needed, but don't forget the casserole law: one to have, one to share. This is a one-pot meal in itself and freezes beautifully.

Happy recipe Monday Tuesday. We're a bit late, but we got here, and it looks like we have survived the water crisis just fine.

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