Last week, we received the most thoughtful gift ever. Authentic, New Mexican green chile! One of the friends of my sister-in-law who came for brunch last month is living in New Mexico. Over brunch, Scot and I told her all about our love for NM green chile. And she so kindly shared her batch with us.
We lived in New Mexico for a summer and go back often for our research. That first summer, we fell in love with New Mexican food. I tried to make various dishes. Talked to all the old New Mexican women about the tricks to making good, authentic New Mexican food. It is very heavy food. But, it also pretty much always has green chile in it. And in New Mexico, they like it hot. Like so hot it makes you sweat. And I think because the food is so spicy, it doesn't feel as heavy. Because you lose half your body weight in sweat. I love it. Scot might love it more.
Even at Subway, they have green chile to put on your sandwich. I mean, it is really more than a condiment. It is like air. Like breathing. Maybe like salt?
When I received these wonderful bags of green chile, I knew immediately I needed to make these green chile enchiladas. This is a very common New Mexican dish. I made it several times while I was in NM, but have also made it several times in CO. They sell some pretty decent frozen green chile at our grocery store. It does not compare to the real stuff. Like at all. But, it is better than nothing. I also have bought other green chiles (not New Mexican), and roasted them myself. So, even if you don't live in NM, there is hope for you! You can make this! But honestly, you just need to go to NM and order this at one of the many amazing family-run restaurants. The ones that have warnings on the menu that say they are not responsible for how hot the green chile is.
See, I am not big into enchiladas. They are fine, but I would not normally make a pan of enchiladas. Not a big fan of casserole-y cheesey pans of food. But, this is one of my favorite dishes. I love the corn, chicken, green chile combo. It is totally different from any other enchilada I have ever had. Sometimes they use blue corn tortillas, which is equally delicious.
I prefer to use a whole roasted chicken for this recipe. Sometimes I will buy it roasted, sometimes I will roast it myself. This time I did roast it myself. I also have an obsession with crispy chicken skin. I have loved it since I was really young. Not the greatest thing to love.
Ok, this is getting long. But, I like to serve these green chile enchiladas with red rice. It is the perfect combo.
Green Chile Enchiladas
from Authentic Southwest Cooking
12 corn tortillas
4 cups cooked, skinned, and boned chicken diced
1 1/2 cups grated Monteray Jack cheese
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 mild long green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Heat just enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to lightly coat each tortilla and turn each tortilla in the hot oil just until soft. Equally divide, the chicken, Monteray Jack cheese, and onion and place on each tortilla. Roll up the tortillas and place in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.
Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet, briskly stir in the flour, and cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring or whisking constantly. Then add the chicken stock and stir well.
Add the milk, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin, and green chile to the pan, bring it to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and cook over low heat until warmed, stirring to blend everything. Taste and season with salt. Pour the sauce over the rolled tortillas. Sprinkle with the grated cheddar cheese and bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly.
Serve at once.
(Servings: 8, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Traditional Red Rice
from Authentic Southwest Cooking
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded, membranes removed, and diced
1 cup medium grain white rice
1 glove garlic, minced
2 ripe, red tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
Heat the oil in a heavy pan, sauté the onion and bell pepper, then stir in the rice and sauté until lightly colored. Add the garlic and stir. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and salt. Cover, turn heat down to a very low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Check the rice 2 or 3 times during the cooking process and stir with a fork each time.
(Servings: 6, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 40 min., Difficulty: Easy)