May 14, 2010

May Daring Cooks Challenge: Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce

After recently cooking Mexican food for the first time from The Tortilla Book, I was excited to try this month's "Cinco di Mayo" inspired Daring Cooks Challenge.

Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food chose a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in honour of Cinco de Mayo.  The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce, was found on Fine Cooking and written by Robb Walsh.

Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce
serves four

For Green Chile Sauce:
1½ lb. fresh Anaheim or poblano chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles)
Vegetable oil
8 oz. tomatillos (about 4-5 medium), stems removed
4 c. chicken broth
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp kosher salt (add more to taste)
¼ tsp black pepper (add more to taste)
2 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tbsp water
Dash hot sauce, your favorite, optional

For enchiladas:
5 or 6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
12 small corn tortillas, 5-6 inch diameter
6 oz grated Monterey Jack cheese
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled (optional)

Green Chile Sauce

yields about 4 c.

1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or lined baking sheet. Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.  As they char, remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rest until they are cool.
Spraying the foil with non-stick spray prevents the peppers from sticking

2. Gently pull on the stem to remove the seed core.  Peel away as much skin as possible, cut the chile in half and scrape out any remaining seeds.  Cut chiles into strips and chop roughly.  Set aside.

3. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.*

*I grilled the tomatillos and the chicken for the enchiladas at the same time that the chiles were roasting in the oven.  Multitasking at its best!

4. Cool tomatillos and  puree in a blender or food processor.  Put the pureed tomatillos in a medium saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced shallots, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.

5. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.

6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal.  Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through.  Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.

3. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.

4.  Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).  Drain on paper towels.  Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.

5.  In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.  Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup of sauce over the tortillas.

6.  Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.  Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.  Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.

 7.  Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.

8.  To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.