Sunday, April 17, 2011

As promised - Chicken Enchiladas

To begin, a little while ago I found a blog that has fabulous recipes, amazing photography, and a cute cat.  If you like to cook and are looking for some new gourmet type recipes, you should check out   I have to give them credit for the following meal.  They have a fun recipe for Chicken Enchiladas Verdes.  I've only changed it a little, just to suit our tastes.

Abigail is our international foodie.  She loves all kinds of Asian food, (especially dumplings) Italian food, (of course) and Mexican food.  I made these enchiladas a few weeks ago and she gobbled them up.  The process of making them is very kid friendly, and since she loved them so much, it seemed only appropriate to teach her to make them.  Not only that, but as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, I am beginning to see that getting my kids in to cook dinner with me is not going to be as easy as it has been over the past few months.  This could very well be one of the last dinners we do for awhile.

I feel I should start with a disclaimer -- I don't really like chicken.  It kind of skeeves me out.  I have learned ways to tolerate it, but it's not my favorite.  I have two forces in my life that have been working against chicken consumption in our house.  The first is those horrifying rumors about mutated and blind chickens crammed into boxes and continuously fed until they are ultra fat, only to be inhumanely slaughtered.  Yikes!  The other force is my friend, Tonya.  She is constantly making comments about finding beaks in her chicken.  Seriously, nothing can compete with that image.  That is, nothing except for the "buy one, get one" sale on chicken breasts that my grocery store has been running for the past month.  For the time being, my frugality has won over my squeemishness.

Frugality may have won, but the squeemishness is still there.  Instead of trying to hold my lunch down while teaching my daughter how to handle raw poultry, I just blasted through the process myself while she was playing.  Since chicken has almost no flavor of its own, I poached it with some garlic, onion, salt and crushed red pepper.  Once it had cooled, I quickly shredded it with a fork, dumped it in a bowl and set it aside.  Yeah, even cooked chicken gives me the heebie jeebies.  Now that the chicken part was done, I could relax and get Abby to make the sauce.

The sauce is made almost entirely in the food processor.  Super easy.  First, I showed her how to open up a green pepper with her little kiddie knife, and discard the seeds.  From there all she needed to do was break it into a few chunks and toss it into the Cuisinart.  I've mentioned before that the kiddie knives don't work so well on onions.  That's not entirely true, they just don't work well for things like slivering and fine dicing.  I had thought to have her quarter the onion, but just peeling the garlic made her eyes burn, so I showed a little mercy and did it for her.  I also de-seeded the jalepeno.   Can you imagine the poor girl rubbing her eyes with jalepeno oil on her fingers?  I may have my moments, but I'm not cruel.  When it was all said and done we had 1 1/2 green peppers, 1 jalepeno, 3 cloves of garlic, and one onion ready to be zapped to a pulp.  For good measure we added a big handful of cilantro.  The sound of a blender being assembled or the lid being fastened on a food processor turns my kids into Pavlov's dogs.  They all come running with a slightly crazed look in their eyes and maniacal grins.  There's no such thing as a couple of short pulses in our house.  All three kids took a good long turn at buzzing our sauce.

Once your sauce is well blended or, like ours, liquified, season it with salt and pepper, pour it into a pan with a cup of chicken stock and a cup of salsa and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  We felt it was missing something, so we threw in some cumin.  Abby still thinks stirring stuff on the stovetop is too hot, so I took over at this point.  After the sauce has simmered for 10 minutes or so, turn off the heat and stir in a healthy spoonful of sour cream.  Then, add a cup of the sauce to the shredded chicken as well as a half cup of shredded cheese.  Mix it all up and start filling your tortillas.  I had Abby fill one tortilla, and watched in pain as the whole thing fell apart before she could transfer it to the baking dish.  In the interest of saving a lot of time and sparing myself some frazzled nerves, I rolled up the rest of the tortillas.  I let her finish up by spooning the remaining sauce over the filled tortillas and sprinkling a little more cheese over the whole thing.  Just slip those in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the filling is heated through.  For the final touch, mix a little lime juice with sour cream and drizzle over the top.  Incidentally, the first time I made these I used red bell peppers, and the color of the sauce is a lot more appealing.

If I were to be completely truthful, I would have to say I am really looking forward to summer.  I'm ready to let the grueling school and homework schedule go for a few months.  I'm ready to let my kids play out in the yard all day instead of destroying my house.  But mostly, I'm ready to reclaim my kitchen at dinner time.  This used to be a time of relative solace for me to re-group and prepare myself for bedtime chaos.  I know that may have raised a few eyebrows.  The process of getting three wiggly, giggly kids P.J.'ed, teeth brushed, faces washed, and stories read may be a routine for them, but it's chaos for me!  During the summer we'll most likely concentrate on cooking breakfast and lunch rather than dinner.  I'm sure we'll do a few desserts too.  And yes, by August I'll be ready to reclaim my mornings.

1 comment:

  1. For the record the beaks (and feet I suspect) were found in fast food/restaurant chicken. I agree it takes a looong time to undo chicken skeeves!