Last night we invited our friends Jess and Curtis over to enjoy dinner with us. Isn't it such fun cooking for friends and feasting in the accomplishments of a job well done?! I just love it, and last night was no exception. Being it that is was so cold and blustery I wanted to bring a bit of warmth at least to our meal and what works better for that then a little spicy Mexican! Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce, Black Beans and Guacamole to be exact.
About a month ago I had my girlfriends Bonnie and Dawn over for a cooking night and we created this dish. I wanted to share it with you all right away because we really enjoyed it. But alas we forgot to take pictures! Oops.... I blame it on being too busy laughing, gabbing and maybe a little bit of wine too. I much prefer cookbooks with wonderful pictures to look at, don't you? You want to know what in the world whatever it is you are making is supposed to look like when it is finished! So I thought I would wait to showcase it until I made it again. This seemed like the perfect night for it!
The Chicken Enchilada with Red Sauce Recipe comes from Steve Raichlen's Healthy Latin Cooking. I usually associate Steve with BBQ, but this cookbook is outstanding. He takes traditional Mexican and other Latin cooking and gets rid of all the excess fat and such and turns the meals into ones you could actually eat and thoroughly enjoy on a regular basis (without feeling like you need to go to the gym right after!)
Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce
Enchiladas de pollo con salsa roja
For the Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of all visible fat
1 sprig fresh cilantro
4- 4 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
For the Sauce
15 dried New Mexico red chile peppers, ancho chilis or chile colorados (found in the produce department)
1/2 tomato, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
1/4 medium onion, cut into 1" pieces
1 clove garlic
1 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and ground black pepper to taste
12 corn tortillas (6" diameter)
1/4 cup minced white onions
3 tablespoons grated white Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
To Make the Chicken:,
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the chicken, onion, tomato, cilantro, and 4 cups of the stock. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool to room temperature. When cool, shred or cut the chicken into thin slivers. Strain the cooking liquid into a measuring cup and reserve for the sauce (you should have about 3 1/2 cups).
Meanwhile, coat a 13"x9" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
To Make the Sauce:
Stem the chile peppers, tear open, and remove and discard the ribs and seeds (Steve advises wearing rubber gloves when handling, but I didn't either time and was fine. These aren't very spicy at all. But do as you like.) In the same saucepan you cooked the chicken in, combine the chile peppers and 3 cups of the reserved chicken cooking liquid. Let soak for 5 minutes. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, or until softened. (we somehow missed this soaking step the first time I made this and although it turned out wonderful, comparing the two I like the soaked version better. It brought out all of the wonderful flavor of the chili's).
Transfer the chile peppers and 2 3/4 cups of the cooking liquid to a blender. Add the tomatoes, onion pieces, garlic, cilantro, and oregano. Puree until smooth. The sauce should be thick but pourable; add a little more stock if necessary. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the prepared baking dish.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring the remaining chicken liquid to a boil in the same saucepan over high heat. Add the tortillas, one at a time, and cook for 10 seconds, or until soft and pliable. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken on each tortilla. Top with 1 teaspoon of the minced onions and roll into a tube. (If the tortilla splits don't worry about it. You won't even noticed after they are baked.) Arrange the enchiladas seam side down, in the prepared baking dish and spoon the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake the enchiladas for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling hot.
**those yummy looking Mexican Jalepenos are homemade, care of Kathleen Jordan. They were a perfect condiment to go along with the enchiladas. Thanks again!
Classic Black Beans
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15.5 oz. can Black Beans
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. oregano
1 packet Sazon Goya without Annatto (found in the Mexican isle of your grocery store. I see it everywhere. You will have lots of this left for future recipes.)
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. peppers and garlic; cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
I have tried quite a few black bean recipes, but this one found on the back label of the Goya brand black beans is our most favorite. It is super easy and full of flavor. These are great served over white rice!
2 ripe Haas Avocados
1/2 red onion, chopped into medium sized chunks
1 tomato, seeded and chopped into medium sized chunks
1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 lime, juiced
corse salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
a few dashes Tabasco
Half and seed your avocado. Scoop out flesh and mash with fork. I like to leave mine chunky. Add onion, lime juice, salt and pepper and mix well. Add your jalapeno slowly, starting with half, tasting every now and then to make sure you get it to the temperature you are happy with. Same with the Tobasco sauce. Once you get the flavor you like, add the tomatoes and carefully stir.
Serve as a dip with chips or on the side as a dip for your enchiladas. We did both. This is one of my guilty pleasures in life. I could easily eat an entire bowl if not careful!
Thanks again Jess and Curtis for a lovely evening. We had a wonderful time and we hope you did too. Let's do it again soon! And thanks for bringing the delicious dessert. Yummmmmm.