Saturday, June 18, 2005

Saturday Recipe Blogging

I don't have any cat or dog recipes, so this will have to suffice. Feedback (heh!) is welcome.


Green Chicken Enchiladas

These are rich but light. Heat will depend on your choice of canned sauce and how much pepper jack cheese you include - it gives a nice bite, but front-end - the other ingredients are quite mellow.
1 large roasting chicken (at least 5 lbs)
1 large yellow onion
1 medium carrot
4-5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems trimmed, tied with string
8 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves garlic
Water to cover
1 large can green enchilada sauce
Flour tortillas - 8 inch size
1 lb. (or so) quesa fresca (Mexican cheese somewhat like feta in texture, but milder)
Sliced pepper jack cheese
2 poblano chiles (the very dark green big ones) - roasted over a gas flame and peeled
1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 - 2 tsp. roasted cumin seeds, ground
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream and guacamole as garnish
Poach the chicken in a big pot with the onion (very coarsely sliced), the carrot (peeled and chunked), the parsley, peppercorns, bay leaf and garlic. Wash the chicken thoroughly, then salt in the cavity and the skin. If the pot is deep, it can go in as is - if not, smash the chicken with your fist or a mallet so it can be covered by the water. Include the neck and giblets (but not the liver) if you have them. Put everything in the pot, add water to cover the chicken (just), and heat to the simmer. It should NOT boil hard - just check the heat from time to time. Do not cover.
I turned the bird a few times to ensure even poaching, and when it started to get tender, split it with tongs so it would stay down (they stiffen up and don't want to stay submerged otherwise). Once the water is simmering, allow about 20 minutes per pound. When done, the chicken should be very tender - off the bone tender; turn off the heat and let it cool in the stock until you can handle it comfortably.
Lift out the chicken (it will now have disjointed itself!), and carefully remove all the meat from the bones, discarding skin and bones and cartilage. Unless you are making a couple of platters, there will be plenty left for a lovely chicken salad or anything else you want to do with it, but it's important to have a big bird for the flavor.
Strain the stock, pressing out the juices from the vegetables and herbs. Return the strained stock to the pot, and allow to cool further - either refrigerate when it has reached room temp, or let it sit overnight (if your kitchen is cool). The fat will rise and congeal, after which you can skim it off easily. Reduce the de-fatted stock gently until it has good flavor and body - I got 2 quarts from about 7 quarts of original water. Use for anything!!! :-))
For the poblanos - roast over a gas burner, naked, turning with tongs so they get black and blistered all over. Put in a paper bag and let them sit for a while until cool enough to handle. Take off the skin, cut them open and remove the seeds and the stems. Cut into strips or dice and reserve for the filling.
The Filling!
Shred the poached chicken into a big bowl. Half the meat will make 6-7 enchiladas. Crumble the quesa fresca and add that. Add the sliced/diced poblanos. Chop some fresh cilantro fine and add that (this is sort of to taste, but it needs to be in there).
For the cumin, put a tbs whole seeds in a cast iron pan, heat until they start to darken and release their aroma, then grind in a spice grinder. Add to filling mixture.
Season with salt and pepper to taste - it should have a light texture and complex but gentle flavor.
Assembly -
Need a sizable baking dish for this. Spread a thin layer of the canned green sauce on the bottom of the dish. For each tortilla, put a couple of generous spoonfuls (big spoon!) down the center. Slice the pepper jack cheese and lay the pieces over the line of filling - roll up the tortilla around the filling and put seam-side down in the dish. Quite OK to put the jack cheese down first and then the filling - experiment! Fill the dish closely with the rolled and filled tortillas, then pour over the remaining enchilada sauce.
Bake in a 375 deg oven (preheated), for 30 mins, or until bubbly and just begining to color around the edges - the filling is all precooked, so you are after the melt and marrying of flavors. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 20 mins - they need to pull themselves together.
Serve with sour cream and your favorite quacamole. Or salsa, green or red - or all of them!

Variations and Additions:
The jalapeno bits in the jack cheese are the principal source of heat here, but if you like more, I'd recommend a couple of very finely chopped serranos - bright, hot in a different way, and a good fresh green flavor that will go will with the rest. I made a garlicky quacamole to accompany, and the garlic was very harmonious with the rest. Remember, this had to please the Old Lady Palate (and did), so if you don't have one of those around, let 'er rip. I should also note that most of the enchilada recipes I looked at for reference and comparison included corn - not sure how I'd add that, but I'd cut it off the cob and prep it a bit so as not to extend the baking time too much. Be nice cooked up with the serranos, I think - dash of cream in there???
And, of course, for the hardcore, your very own enchilada sauce would be great!


Lance Mannion said...

I'm going to try it. I have my doubts about my ability to pull it off, but I'm going to try.

Cooking cats is easy. Just heat up a large vat of vegetable oil and dunk.

grishaxxx said...

There is almost no technique called for in this (I mean, no hovering, no special knife skills, &c.). About the limit is staying with the chiles over the gas flame so they don't actually incinerate. [O yeah, if you don't have gas, you can char them under a broiler, but it's more of a pain - or use a blowtorch!]
It's actually better to use your hands sorting out the chicken - you can feel the stray bone chip and the other non-meaty parts.
When the cumin, roasting, smells really good, it's done.
It's not a 30-minute dish, but you end up with dividends of stock, of (very likely) beautiful extra chicken, eminently suitable for many other things.
Obviously, I love to cook, but I have my range. I don't do sweets (can, but don't), and I like to bake bread but not much else. In my extended family, one of my sisters is brilliant at all of that patisserie, so I leave it to her.
Give me a hunk of cheese and some fruit and a really good wine and I'm happy at the end of a meal.

grishaxxx said...

Forgot - your comment suggests familiarity with deep-frying; what's the ideal temp for Kitty?
[Dare I add, "You brute!"?]