The kid is a persuasive human being. She knows how to make me do things.
“Aunt San?” she says. (That’s what she calls me.) “Can we have that awesome chicken like the other night?”
How do you say no to that? And then James was kind of hoping for enchiladas, so the awesome chicken morphs into an enchilada filling, and everyone’s happy. Never mind that making enchiladas involves standing over a hot stove and frying tortillas, and heating up the house by using the oven. Never mind all that. My kid wants yummy chicken enchiladas, so that’s what she’ll get. And Rick Bayless will get an enthusiastic Follow Friday mention from me, because he’s been sort of omnipresent on our menus lately. The man can write a really tasty recipe, I’ll tell you that. Go check out his blog or his Twitter feed (@Rick_Bayless); if you like Mexican food at all, you’ll thank me.
As I’ve often said, when people don’t like the food I make, I don’t mind at all. I have managed to break myself of the old messages that rejecting food is equivalent to rejecting the cook. Still, when someone does like the food I make, it makes me happy. So I make it again.
That’s one crafty kid.
We call these the “Bayless” enchiladas because the filling is based on Rick Bayless‘s recipe for Creamy Chicken and Greens with Roasted Poblano and Caramelized Onion. That chicken’s the kid’s current favorite thing to eat.
2 poblano chiles
1 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 lbs. boneless chicken leg meat (or about 3 boneless breasts)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces fresh spinach (I use pre-washed baby spinach; otherwise, clean and chop)
1 cup whipping cream (or Mexican crema or crème fraiche)
10-12 corn tortillas
oil for frying
1/2 lb. cheese (Mexican queso or Monterey Jack, or whatever you prefer), crumbled or grated
Roast chiles under broiler or over open flame until blackened fully, turning as necessary. Put chiles into a small paper bag and set aside until cool enough to handle and turn the oven down to 350F. Meanwhile, salt the chicken meat. Heat the skillet on medium-high, then add olive oil and sear meat for a few minutes on each side.
When chicken is seared but not cooked through, remove to a plate to cool, then add the onions to the same pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook the onions until browned but not burnt, about 8 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook a minute or two more.
Add the spinach to the onions and garlic and continue cooking on medium, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is gone.
While the spinach is cooking down, chop the chicken into cubes, around 1 inch or so. Also, peel the blackened skin off the poblanos, remove the stem and seeds (rinsing if necessary), and chop the peppers. Add them to the vegetable mixture along with 1 cup of whipping cream. Stir and let cook another 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Add the chicken and cook another couple of minutes, until everything is heated through. Set chicken mixture aside. If you want to use the same pan to fry the tortillas in, remove the mixture and give the pan a quick wash and dry.
One at a time, fry the tortillas lightly in a little oil (maybe 1/4 inch), just to soften them. Fill each tortilla with a generous scoop of filling and place, seam side down, into a 13″ by 9″ baking dish. When all the enchiladas are in the pan (there’s enough filling for 10 or 12 of them), sprinkle all the cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly.
6 large roma tomatoes, sliced
1 large firm-ripe peach, chopped
3 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all in a bowl and serve at room temperature or chilled.
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