Sunday, July 1, 2012

Enchiladas Verdes From Scratch

I am in love with Cook's Illustrated.  I am not subscribed to their normal magazine (I really should change that soon.) but I usually buy their quarterly specials such as Summer Cooking or the like.  And I was in line at the grocery store yesterday and saw Mexican Favorites and had to buy it.  It is stuffed with recipes for tamales, tacos, fajitas, mole, and, my favorite, enchiladas verdes.

Hot summer days with a nice frosty Cadillac margarita and Mexican food is an absolutely winning combination for me.  Except for that here in the Pacific Northwest we aren't exactly frying right now like the rest of the country.  But our hot weather typically comes August and September so I am sure we have it coming. 

Enchiladas from scratch, meaning making your own sauce and not using something out of a can, can seem a little daunting, but it is well worth the effort.  Their recipe was for chicken enchiladas with Monterey Jack cheese, but I wanted healthier vegetarian and more authentic Cotija cheese.

Enchiladas Verdes
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Mexican Favorites.

cooking spray
3 poblano peppers
1 1/2 lbs fresh tomatillos (if you have to use cannned, fine, well not fine, get yourself to a well stocked market!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 small onions, or 1 large, medium dice
1 cup diced crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 packed cups shredded kale or any other leafy green
8 oz Cotija cheese (Mexican cheese that is pretty easy to find these days. Crumbles well.)
12 6" corn tortillas

For garnish: sliced green onions, extra cilantro, sliced radishes, sour cream

First, heat oven to broil.  Line sheet pan with edges with foil.  Peel papery husk off tomatillos and rinse well.  Pat dry.  Cut large ones in half.  Spread out on sheet pan.  Cut poblanos in half and remove seeds.  Lay cut down on sheet pan.  Spray peppers and tomatillos with cooking spray.  Broil 6" from heat 8-10 minutes, checking every minute after 6 minutes just to make sure you aren't charring them.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before peeling skins off poblanos.  Leave tomatillos with their skins.

Set oven to bake 350.

Place tomatillos and poblanos in food processor.  Add salt and pepper, cilantro and garlic.  Pulse until blended.  You can leave it really chunky or pulse it into a sauce, but I like the sauce a little chunky.  Taste and add more salt or even sugar if tomatillos seem bitter but I thought it was plenty sweet on its own.   Set aside for now. 

Next, gently heat 2 teaspoons oil in dutch oven or other heavy pan.  Add onions and cook until starting to soften, about 7 minutes.  Add mushrooms, kale, and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and gently simmer 10 minutes, stirring every so often to make sure it isn't sticking and to add more water if necessary. 

While mushroom/kale mixture is cooking,  crumble up one 10 oz. cake of cotija cheese.  This is a soft, salty cheese that I think is great because it doesn't get overly gooey or stringy.  The recipe only needs 8 oz. cheese.  I went ahead and used the entire 10 oz. of the cheese.  Oops.  

Once mushroom/kale mixture is cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly while preparing next step.  Set out 2 sheet pans and lay out 12 tortillas.  Warm up in oven 2 minutes, no longer.  This will soften the tortillas so they can be rolled but cook them too long and they will get too tough.

When tortillas are softened, remove from oven and turn oven up to 450 F.

Reserve 1/2 cup cheese and mix remainder crumbled cotija cheese with mushroom/kale mix.  Divide between the 12 tortillas, about a heaping 1/4 cup per tortilla. 
Spread 3/4 cup tomatillo sauce over bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish.  Roll each tortilla tightly and place seam down in baking dish.  Pour remaining tomatillo sauce over top of enchiladas and make sure to get everything covered so nothing dries out during baking.  Sprinkle top with reserved cheese.  Cover tightly in foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with sliced green onions and serve with garnishes on side so guests can adorn the little lovelies themselves.  Serves 6. 

And so much better than any canned sauce!!

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