This month was an especially fun challenge to make – enchiladas! My mom always made the best enchiladas when I was younger, and it was one of a number of dishes called “California style” – though I’m not quite sure what that means in terms of enchiladas. We would have enough to feed an army – not that any of us minded, my mom’s enchiladas were one of those dishes that you looked forward to eating leftovers every night that week for dinner.
Until this Daring Cooks challenge came around I am ashamed to say I had never actually made them before, only been merely someone who enjoyed their cheesy gooey flavorful wonderfulness – ha, surely more than one past English teacher of mine would cringe at that particular selection of adjectives, but I think that description is actually pretty accurate. I usually pride myself on having some ability to articulate, but then there are just those times that call for half made-up words like wonderfulness. Enchiladas embrace the concept of “wonderfulness” completely. Even my spellchecker must realize that about enchiladas because it has no problem with my description
I think they seem intimidating to many to prepare but in principle they are really rather simple. Their only issue is that they have several parts – roast the chiles, make the sauce, cook the meat, fry the tortillas, fill them, and bake. But no one part is particularly difficult or time consuming – unless of course you have my kitchen, which involves about an 8″ x 10″ sized counter-space, two tiny burners and a toaster oven. Preparing these enchiladas took me the better part of 4 hrs, and I only got about 4 servings out of them because I had to make such small portions given the space I had. I just can’t fit a larger dish in that toaster oven no matter how much I want to.
Living in my parents’ house I probably could have cut at least 30% of the time out, and made a good 20 servings. Ah, the joys of apartment living….one day, hopefully sooner than later, I dream of having a kitchen with a real oven, 4 full burners, and an actual counter instead of trying to slice veggies on my cutting board placed on a rolly cart that moves causing me to slip and slice part of my finger off. Did I mention that yet? I have a sizable dent in my index finger now. Safety note to self – don’t do your cutting on a rolly cart. And thank goodness for Neosporin. My husband then continued the chopping on the rolly cart. He didn’t injure himself
Ok, onto the food! Truth be told, when it came time to actually make the enchiladas, I really wasn’t feeling like eating Mexican at all, nor anything cheesy. I still roasted a bunch of chiles, but instead blended them with some homemade Thai green curry paste and made a Thai version instead. Chicken was marinated and then sautéed in roasted chiles/green curry, and a sauce was made with the rest of the chiles, curry paste, and coconut milk.
My husband quickly fried corn tortillas that we got from our favorite gluten-free shop while I then raced to fill them with the chicken, some greens, bamboo shoots and sauce before they cooled so much that they risked cracking. I LOVE the flavor of corn tortillas, but they are hard to bend once they are fried. I elected to do the filling of the enchiladas because I am more heat tolerant than my husband, so I could arrange them and fill and roll them while they were still hot enough to manipulate, literally right out of the frying pan. I squished as many as I could all in a row in our little baking dish, topped with more sauce, and baked for about 30 minutes until everything melded together and the aromas of the chiles and fresh lemongrass permeated our entire apartment.
I didn’t use a timer, I just waited until it smelled right. That’s often how I cook. It’s almost an instinctual feeling, like a sixth sense sometimes. I just let them be in the oven and then a while later said to myself, “Hmm, they smell like they’re ready to eat.” Turns out I was right, they were ready. So there you have it. Thai enchiladas, gluten and dairy free. And they were full of wonderfullness
Blog Checking Lines: Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Foodhave 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 onwww.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.