Sunday, January 17, 2010

Red Chicken Enchiladas with Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans (see picture above)
4-5 qts. cold water in dutch oven

12 oz. bag of Pinto beans
2 garlic cloves
2 tsps. onion power
2 tsps. red chili powder
2 tsps. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Start early in the day.  Pour bag of beans in kitchen strainer and rinse under cold water.  Place beans in pot with cold water.  Cook until it boils and then cover and simmer.  Add the garlic, onion powder, red chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper.  Simmer for around 4-6 hours making sure water does not get below the level of the beans.  Stir every so often.  Replenish with water making sure water is always at least 2 inches above beans.  Serve with favorite Mexican dish.

Basic Chile Sauce
2 qts. salted boiling water (reserve about 1/2 cup)
7-10 Dried Guajillo Chiles
Blender or Food Processor
Kitchen gloves - optional
Metal strainer
Large deep bowl
Spatula or large spoon

Wear kitchen gloves during this process (I never wear gloves as having seen all the women in the family do it with bare hands ~ I cannot disappoint them so I just make sure not to touch my eyes or lips.  Remove stems and shake out seeds, if desired.  Place chiles in boiling water; blanch for 2-3 minutes until soft.  Scoop out with tongs and place all chiles in a blender along with half of cup of chile water (see picture above).  Add salt and then puree.  Place strainer on bowl and carefully pour sauce through until it fills the strainer 2/3 full.  Use spatula or spoon and press carefully to strain through (being carefully not to splash the sauce about because this sauce stains!!).  This is a tedious step but not too bad.  Strain enough of the sauce so that all that's left is a pasty consistency, empty pasty stuff into the trash and repeat this step until all the sauce is strained.  Yields about 1 to 1 1/2 cups sauce.  Rinse blender.  

Start cooking chicken at this point ~ See ingredients and directions under Red Chicken Enchiladas.

Enchilada Sauce
5 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 - 1 1/2 cups above Chile Sauce
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup beef or chicken broth or water
1 1/2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp. gr. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Place garlic and oil in a small baking dish; cover.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until tender.  Peel garlic.  In a blender or food processor bowl, place garlic, chile sauce, onion, tomatoes, broth, oregano, cumin and salt.  Cover and mix until pureed (see picture above).  Add more broth if necessary, until mixture has a sauce-like consistency.  Place sauce in dutch oven with the chicken remnants and simmer until you're ready to use for next step.  Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered glass container (this will stain plastic).   Makes about 2 - 2 2/3 cups.  

Red Chicken Enchiladas

4 Boneless chicken breasts

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsps. onion powder
2 tsps. chili powder
2 tsps. garlic powder
2 tsps. pepper
2 cups ch. cheese
2 cups monterrey or taco style cheese

large frying pan
20-30 corn tortillas
1-2 cups vegetable or canola oil
Large plate with paper towels to soak up extra oil.
2-3 qt. casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, set aside.

To cook chicken:  Heat olive oil in dutch oven or stove top grill.  Pat dry chicken breasts and dry rub with cumin, salt, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper.  Brown chicken on both sides (7-1o minutes each side - see picture).  Set chicken on a platter and cover.  Reserve dutch oven with chicken remnants for Enchilada Sauce.  Shred chicken when cool.

To fry tortillas:  Head 1-2 cups cooking oil, place two tortillas at a time, move around to immerse the whole tortialla.  Deep fry 10 seconds on each side (see picture).  Use tongs to flip over but be very careful not to tear the tortilla.  Make sure not to overcook tortilla to where it hardens, they need to be pliable in order to roll.  Place on toweled platter.

FINALLY - Making the Enchiladas:  Working from left to right, place platter of tortillas on left, then the Enchilada sauce, the casserole dish,  the shredded chicken platter, and then the cheeses.  Take a tortilla, dip in the enchilada sauce, place it inside the casserole dish.  Take about a two tablespoons of chicken and the cheeses in the tortilla, lining the chicken and cheese up from top to bottom of tortilla.  Roll tortilla carefully and place in casserole dish, seam side down up again edge and corner.  Repeat steps until you can fit them all in from left to right and on the bottom side if there's room.  Double layer if you need to.  Pour whats left of the Enchilada sauce over all the rolls.  Sprinkle with a cup of cheese.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Let stand 1o minutes (see picture).  Serve with Pinto Beans and Mexican Rice.

Partakers: Don, Grandma and I
Approval:  Yes, yes and OK
My comments:   Grandma said it was delicious and mind you, she's in her 80's and just moved down here six months ago from upstate NY so I'm surprised she did like it especially since it has so many spices she's not used to.  It's ALWAYS nice to please the mother-in-law :)  I did not start cooking Mexican food until around 10 years ago.  When Don and I first got married  26 years ago, he didn't like it because it "messed up his stomach". So, little by little throughout the years I made a taco here and a burrito and he ate it all.  He began to really like it and I guess I was getting better at cooking it.  So it's not surprising that he now loves Mexican food and always looks forward to going to a Mexican restaurant.  As usual he enjoyed this dish.  He has also grown to tolerate "spicy" foods so he doesn't mind when it's a little "picoso" (spicy hot).  This dish was not picoso enough and it's because the Guajillo Chiles were mild.  So Grandma can handle it without problem although Don and I would prefer it be a little more picoso.  The tortillas weren't the best kind and unfortunately you just can't buy good quality corn tortillas up here in Virginia like you can in south El Paso, TX.   The ones I used were too flimsy and tore easily ans that's why they don't look divided in the casserole dish ~ it just looks like a mish-mash of something.   I believe that maybe I didn't fry them long enough to get a little tougher??  I don't know, maybe somebody reading this may be able to tell me.   The beans are not what you usually see at Mexican restaurants.  What they usually do is re-fry them but I rarely do.  I like mine straight out of the pot which is how we grew up eating them for the most part.  My mom would refry the beans every now and then, maybe it all depended if she had the cheese or not.  This dish is a lot of work and I don't make it enough to get it done is two hours but I'm sure it's possible not counting the beans of course as they need to simmer all morning and ohhhhhh, what a wonderful aroma.

If it looks like my plate is a bit empty you may think that something's missing and you're right.  I usually will make a pan of Mexican rice (similar to Spanish) but I was running out of time as we had plans to go out (to a double header basketball games at Liberty) and I was already running 45 minutes behind.  So next time I make my Mexican Rice, I will post the recipe here.  

You may have figured out that I root for the Cowboys and today, they disappointed :(  The Vikings were the elite team on the field, their defense was superb and Favre just couldn't be stopped as old as he is.  I still love my Cowboys and as Diana Krall sings, "Don't you remember the famous men, who had to fall, to rise again.  They picked themselves up, dust themselves off and started all over again.." *whimper*.  ~i Still Savored the weekend.  

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