Indians tend to
Which, is why I have been rather thrilled with my recent forays into the cuisine. For long, I had been intimidated by the Austin memories until March's challenge finally convinced me to believe in myself and go for it and all that. So, armed with a recipe from the Rick Bayless (who is just adorable, btw), I made Red Mole (hehe.. well, if I am going for it, might as well go with a bang.. either way! :)). It was a raging success!! It's not me saying it, the hub loved it!! The path (like that green line of Fidelity) had been laid for more of the cuisine to feature in my kitchen..Wooohoo!
So, of course, I was very thrilled to see this month's Daring Cooks theme! Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on http://www.finecooking.com/ and written by Robb Walsh.
The mandatory part of the challenge was to make a Mexican sauce from scratch. It didn't have to be the one they suggested. But since, aside from Mole, I had made virtually none other sauce from the cuisine, I decided to go with it.
I made the sauce based on the recipe that the lady running the Mexican grocery store, where I get my supplies, uses to make her enchilada sauce at home. She was sweet to share her family recipe. Her version is spicier as she (as did I) uses Serrano chilies rather than Anaheim peppers. The Serranos up the heat quite a bit and our sauce hot, hot, HOT. But we like it hot!
I loved this challenge because it gave me room to play.. On the first day, we had Beef Enchiladas, the regular way. I rolled tortillas around sauteed beef that was marinated with salt, pepper and Serrano chilies, poured the green sauce over them, generously topped with cheese and baked to melt it.
With the leftovers, I decided to make some finger food and the stacked version. The lady at the store said that she doesn't use the oven at all. She just fries her tortillas, layers the meat and sauce, tops with cheese and zaps it up in the microwave just long enough to melt the cheese.
And, that is what I did with my mini enchilada stacks. I cut little scalloped circles of tortilla, fried them crisp, arranged smoked turkey and sauce and then melted cheese over them...
As to the presentation, I was inspired by the gorgeous color of the lilacs that I picked up on the way home and decided to use their vibrant color as the theme. I was amused that red onions and lilacs were of similar shades. So, I decided to use the sliced onions as garnish to tie in the theme with the flowers.
Verdict: This is a really easy sauce that packs quite a punch in flavor. It makes for a quick everyday meal as also a leisurely Sunday lunch. We loved it! The little mini stacks are cute and are perfect finger food, yet make an elegant choice as cocktail appetizers.
Note: Many people in the forum mentioned difficulties in finding tomatillos. You can substitute with tamarind. It adds the same sweetish tang to the dish but well, you may end up with a browner sauce. For the measures in the recipe below, I would use 1 tablespoon of bottled tamarind paste or 1/3 cup of fresh tamarind water.
1. As I said, this recipe uses serrano which add significant heat even after being deseeded. Please, do add with caution. Start with one and keep adding them to the puree as per your heat tolerance.
2. Grandma's recipe did not include roasting the tomatillos or chilies. She boiled them to cook. I roasted them for added flavor (as for easily deseeding the chilies)
3-4 Serrano chilies
1 cup chicken stock (if you want to keep it vegetarian, you can use vegetable stock)
2 tsp cumin powder
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup cilantro leaves
Roast the tomatillos and chilies until blackened. When cool enough to handle, peel skin off and deseed the chilies. Puree the tomatillos, garlic and chilies. Transfer to a sauce pan, stir in the stock and cumin. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until it thickens to the consistency you want.
Stacked Cocktail Enchiladas
Cut desired shapes out of tortillas. Fry them till lightly golden and crisp. Arrange cooked meat (I used chipotle smoked turkey. It was fabulous!), a teaspoon of sauce. Repeat as many layers as you want, finishing off with the cheese layer.
Enchilada Sauce (above)
1 lb (1/2 kg) beef, cubed into 1/4 inch pieces
2 serrano chillies, finely chopped
salt as needed
Marinate the meat overnight. Saute in a bit of oil until cooked completely. Warm the tortillas, place some meat in the center, roll and place seam side down in a baking dish. Line up as many as the dish can fit. Pour sauce over and top generously with cheese. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or so, until the cheese melts nicely.