The first time that I ever had good enchiladas verdes was in San Pancho, Guanajuato.
I started by searing 5 peeled tomatillos, three jalapenos, and a poblano in a super hot skillet. You want to get nice charring on them, so just turn the heat up to high-medium, wait until the pan is smoky hot, then throw them in and walk away for a few minutes. Then flip them and walk away again. The longer you let them start to break down in the pan the better, but try not to let them totally explode, because the juices of the tomatillo are pretty sugary and will burn if you leave them for a super long time.
In the meantime, put the chicken, pork, or turkey (whatever you want) into a pot of chicken broth or vegetable broth, and start bringing it to a boil. I added a little bit of cumin and a packet of Sazon (which is just cilantro and annatto flavored packets of powder (it isn’t very culinarian of me, but that stuff is awesome, so suck it)). Don’t forget some salt here. This is the only chance that the meat has to start to get some flavor. I basically just boil this for a half an hour. I used 4 chicken legs, because that is what I had in the freezer. You can be all healthy if you want and use breast meat, but the texture is a little off putting, and it is really gross if you over cook it.
Once your vegetables are nice and soft (mine could have gone a little longer), cut the cores out of the tomatillos, and cut the stems off of the chiles. If you are a weenie, you can cut the seeds out of the peppers, but I will think less of you.
Then you need to rough chop everything and throw it in the blender. You don’t need to be a total bad ass with the knife, because you are going to blend everything.
Then do the same thing with the onion. Guys, when you cut up an onion, leave the root end (pictured on the left) intact while you first slice top to bottom on the onion, then across the lateral surface to create dices. There is nothing more telling than seeing a person who chops off both ends of the onion to start dicing. If you do in front of me I will laugh at you, or maybe just inside.
Next, you want to squeeze a whole lime into the blender cup along with everything else. If you don’t have one of these juicers, buy one. They are awesome, especially in the winter when limes are super dry and awful. Don’t buy the one at Crate and Barrel like I did. I was super excited because it had a seperate cup for limes and lemons, but it literally cracked right along the hinge of the green part (I’m replacing it tomorrow) on the second half of the first lime it ever squoze (yep I said it). They are replacing it for free, but still. Oh, I also took this time to add some cilantro, salt and some cumin.
Then just blend everything else up until moderately smooth.
It should look like this when it is done. When that is done, put it in a pot to have it ready to heat up for the assembly process
Next, you want to drain the broth off of your meat, you can save it if you want for some soup or something later, if you want to be ultra crafty. Otherwise, just let your protein cool before you start picking the meat off of the bones. Make sure you pull out all of the tendons, because no one wants a sick tendon in their enchilada.
When you have it all picked, you can then toss it in a little of your salsa verde to season it up a bit. This just helps keep it a little moist. I actually used the salsa roja that I made for chilaquiles earlier this week. See? I’m cheap too.
Next, I grated some Queso Enchilado, which actually crumbles a lot like Queso Fresco, so you don’t even really need to grate it. I sort of expected it to be more like Muenster and more melty, but it was tasty none the less. You can use any cheese. If you want melty, use Chihuahua, or Muenster, but if you like the crumbly look you can use Fresco just as easily.
Ta Da! I used like a 3rd of the wheel.
After that, you want to get some oil in a skillet really hot. Wait until the oil is shimmery, and just before it starts to smoke. You want to shallow fry the tortillas, so don’t be stingy with the oil. Then you take the tortillas one by one and quickly fry both sides. It is a bit tricky at first, because there is a fine line between good and tortilla chip, and you don’t want them to just crumble and fall apart. It is best to have a little assembly line going at this point. Tortillas, frying pan, blotting papertowel, salsa verde heating in a pot, then your baking dish with the chicken and cheese ready to fill and roll them.
Once you have fried one, blot it off on the papertowel, then toss it into the hot salsa verde to sort of soak up the goodness and resoften. I tried to do all of them at once and then just put them in a stack, but they sort of just got soggy. I think the best thing to do is have a friend help assemble while you fry and bathe the tortillas, but if you don’t just take your time. If you tried to skip the frying part, the tortillas will just fall apart. Don’t try to cheat people, deep frying is good for you.
After that you can just start assembling the actual enchiladas, and rolling them up. After that you just have to put them in a baking dish so that you can heat them through one more time.
Notice how I did not show you what mine looked like without the salsa on top? That is because mine looked like doody. That happens when you try to be efficient and make a huge stack of soggy tortillas, but guess what? That is what the salsa and the cheese is for. No worries. It all ends up looking pretty much like something that I won’t mention on a food blog. After that I sprinkled the cheese all over the enchiladas and put them in a 375 degree oven. I finished the cheese with the broiler to get nice golden brown color.
Now scoop that up and eat it with some crema. By the way, I mean CREMA, not sour cream. They are totally different things. You can get crema at Mexican markets and some awesome grocery stores….not Whole Foods though….shame on you WF.
Plate it up and eat it. Yum.