Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Charred Tomatillo and Ancho Chile Salsa

This, my friends, is the mother of all salsas. This is something great. It's smoky, sweet, spicy, and packed full of flavor. Frankly, Tostitos tastes like canned tomatoes compared to this. It's not a very difficult process, and it is SO worth it. Have a go!


-4-5 good sized, firm tomatillos, husks removed
-1 bunch of cherry tomatoes, removed from vine
-4 dried ancho chiles
-a mix of 5-6 dried guajillo chiles and chiles de arbol (I would do half and half, the chiles de arbol are spicy, the guajillos are sweet and smoky)
-2 large cloves of garlic, husks intact
-1 small bunch of cilantro
-1 tsp. salt
-olive oil
-juice of 1/2 lime (optional)

Lay the tomatoes and tomatillos out on a foil-covered (for your own good) baking sheet. Turn the oven to broil and set the tray inside. Check every few minutes, and once the tomatoes begin to char on top, turn them. Continue to turn every few minutes until the skins start to pull away and crack. Set Aside.

Place a pan over medium-high heat. Pull the stems out from the dried chiles and shake out all of the seeds inside. Put all of the peppers in the hot pan, along with the garlic. Toast until fragrant and the garlic begins to brown.

Peel the husks from the garlic, then add it along with the chiles. Blend until finely chopped.

Next, add your tomatoes and tomatillos (with the skins still attached), cilantro, 1 tsp. salt, and 2 tbsp. olive oil to the blender. Blend until its as smooth as you want. Add salt to taste. For an extra little kick, add a squeeze of lime juice.

Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Jalapeno Cream Sauce

There are a lot of enchilada recipes floating around out there, but most of them involve something canned...eww. My recipe is very rich and creamy, and there's the added flavor kick from the caramelized onion--not something you'd find in your average Mexican restaurant. Of course, there is always the tomato-based enchilada version, but I really prefer the creamy richness from this sauce.


-1 yellow onion, finely diced
-1 package flour tortillas (I used the medium sized ones, bigger than the taco ones)
-2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast (I rubbed 2 chicken breasts with paprika, salt, and a pinch of cayenne before pan-searing it)
-1/4 cup butter
-1/4 cup flour
-1 cup chicken stock
-1 cup cream
-1/4 cup sour cream
-1 jalapeno or serrano, minced
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-1 cup of Monterrey-jack cheese, shredded
-2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (buy the block and shred it, the pre-shredded stuff doesn't melt well)
-1 bunch of finely chopped green onion (optional)

Set a pan over medium heat, once hot, add 2 tbsp. butter. Add in the onion and cook over medium-low until caramelized, stirring occasionally. This should take about 20-25 minutes. It should be a deep golden color. Set aside.

Butter a 9 by 13 baking dish and preheat your oven to 400F.

Combine the shredded chicken, caramelized onion, and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Place about 1/3 cup of this filling mixture into each tortilla, roll, and place seam side down into the baking dish.

Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the butter. Once it's bubbling, add in the flour and garlic. whisk and continue cooking until it turns the color of peanut butter. Pour in the stock and cream. Lower heat to medium-low and continue whisking until thickened and creamy. Take off of the heat and pour in sour cream and chili pepper (start with half, and taste it to make sure it's not too spicy for you). Add salt to taste.

Pour the sauce directly over the enchiladas. Sprinkle over the cheeses, and place in the oven for 20 minutes, until cheese melted and everything is golden brown and bubbly. Serve with salsa and rice!

I recommend serving these with a homemade ancho-chile salsa!