Since moving to Chicago, there a few things I simply can't easily find. One of those things is great salsa. I am picky when it comes to salsa. A bowl or raw veggies chopped up and served with chips? not salsa. That's pico de gallo and it is ick. Pureed tomatoes with chunky raw veggies? not good salsa. In the past few years I have perfected a few great salsas that I make on a regular basis (thanks to Mexican food god, Rick Ballis). This weekend, I brought to Chicago a Tex-Mex classic that I love so dearly and have not been able to find, Sopapillas. It's basically, fried dough. The dough it rolled out like this...
Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa:
1 pound tomatillos, husked
1 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered or whole (I used 1/4 onion )
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (1/4 onion, again)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock, store bought
Chopped cilantro leaves
1 deli roasted chicken (about 3 pounds), boned, meat shredded ( I cooked and shredded 4 chicken breasts)
Freshly ground black pepper
10 large flour tortillas (flour?? no. I used corn)
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I used a combo of pepper jack and quesadilla queso)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the salsa:
On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.
Meanwhile heat a 2 count of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized - this should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn't burn then gradually add the chicken stock to make a veloute. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo chile salsa, some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F and begin assembling the dish. Take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Now take the flour tortillas and briefly flash them over the stove-top flame (or put them briefly under the broiler if using an electric stove). Using a shallow bowl, coat each tortilla lightly with the reserved salsa mix. Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix on top of the tortilla followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll like a cigar to enclose it. Using a spatula place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Finally pour over some more of the salsa and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish, cilantro and tomato.
Additional notes: I added about a cup to a cup and a half of my cheese mixture to the enchilada filling- what can I say? I love me some cheese! Also, the salsa is actually really mild. I would probably add an additional pepper next time. Possibly a serano or maybe even a habañero if I could get away with it without killing the hubs!
Here's the finished product:
It was a pretty tasty meal... the only issues I had were 1. it could have been spicier, I love me some heat! and 2. the bottom and sides of the tortillas became a bit mushy. perhaps I squeezed too many in the pan? or maybe they are supposed to be that way. Afterall, since the recipe calls for coating the pan in salsa first, it makes sense that the bottom of the enchiladas won't by crispy.
I'll admit, the recipe took quite a while and required tons of multi-tasking. I ended up having to call my husband into the kitchen and have him help out with things like shredding the chicken and shredding the cheese. It would be one of those dishes that you could prep most of the components beforehand and throw together at dinner time. Also, pretty inexpensive... ingredient-wise.