Wednesday, September 15, 2010

0 Recipe #173: Enchiladas Suizas

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Enchiladas Suizas
, or "Swiss-Style Enchiladas," is a dish common to southern Mexican cuisine. The name of this entrée refers to its white, creamy sauce & melted cheese topping, & is a nod to the Swiss immigrant farmers who came to Mexico & established dairies to produce cream & cheese. :)

Enchiladas Suizas can be served atop a salad or underneath a bed of shredded lettuce with a side of Mexican rice &/or refried beans. This dish goes well with a tall glass of skim milk. Or, if you're in the mood for an alcoholic beverage, try pairing it with a dry white wine, margaritas, or beer.


Enchiladas Suizas

Ingredients For Homemade Crema (makes about 1/2 c.):
1/4 c. light nondairy creamer (or nonfat buttermilk or 1% low-fat milk)
1/4 c. nonfat, plain Greek yoghurt (or low-fat sour cream)
2 Tbsp. whole scallions (including greens), sliced crosswise into small rounds (about 2 small scallions)
1/2 Tbsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/16 tsp. (a pinch) salt (optional)
1/16 tsp. (a pinch) ground white pepper (optional)

Salsa Verde Ingredients (makes about 2 c.):
8 oz. (1/2 lb.) whole tomatillos, husked & thoroughly washed (about 8 small tomatillos) (makes 1 c. roasted)
2 large whole garlic cloves, unpeeled (makes about 1 Tbsp. roasted)
1/2 small yellow onion, unpeeled (makes about 1 c. roasted)
1 whole poblano pepper, destemmed, halved, & then seeded & ribbed (makes about 1/4 c. roasted)
1 whole jalapeño (or serrano, for more heat), destemmed, halved, & then seeded & ribbed (makes about 2 Tbsp. roasted)
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, tightly packed & roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried (Mexican) oregano leaves
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of about 1 medium-sized lime)

Enchilada Ingredients:
8 soft corn tortillas, 5-6" in diameter
4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, or 1 tsp. per 2 tortillas
1/2 c. Monterey Jack (or queso manchego, asedero, or sharp cheddar), shredded (about 2 Tbsp. per enchilada)

Toppings/Garnish:
1/2 c. Monterey Jack (or queso manchego, asedero, or sharp cheddar), shredded (about 2 Tbsp. per enchilada)
1/2 c. green (&/or red) bell pepper, ribbed, seeded, & finely minced (about 1/4 large pepper)
1/2 c. fresh vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1/2 medium-sized tomato)
2 c. shredded iceberg lettuce (or green Napa cabbage) (optional) (1/2 c. per person/serving)
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro sprigs, loosely packed & roughly chopped

Directions: Make crema & salsa verde first, a day or two ahead of time if possible, covering with plastic/Saran wrap & refrigerating until ready to serve.

Make crema: In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients for crema. Set aside.

Make salsa verde: Place tomatillos, unpeeled whole garlic & 1/2 onion, & both halves of the poblano & jalapeño peppers on a baking sheet & roast at 500°F on the bottom rack of the broiler, about 4" below the heat source, turning occasionally until softened & slightly charred. This takes about 6-8 minutes. Be sure to carefully watch broiler pan while vegetables are roasting. (If you have access to a grill, this would be even better/faster!) Let cool. Peel onions & garlic skins. Also, be sure to pull off & discard any particularly blacked bits of the tomatillos & pepper skins. Transfer to a blender (or food processor), along with remaining salsa ingredients (i.e., cilantro, salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, & lime juice), & purée until smooth. Add 1/4 c. crema (i.e., 1/2 of the homemade crema sauce) & blend until well combined. (Reserve remaining half of crema to use later as a topping for the enchiladas.) Set aside.

Sauté tortillas: In a large (12-13") sauté pan, sauté tortillas, 2 at a time, using 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil per 2 tortillas. Using tongs, flip them back & forth a few times, about 10 seconds per side, until they begin to soften & puff up slightly, & then turn a light, golden brown. Then remove, transfer onto paper towels, pat lightly, & drain. Let stand until they are cool enough to handle. Don't wait too long or tortillas will start to harden. ;)

Important: Be sure to sauté the first batch of tortillas, 2 at a time, & assemble them into enchiladas before beginning to sauté the next batch. This way, tortillas will remain pliable & be easier to assemble.

Assemble the enchiladas: Starting from the end of the tortilla that's closest to you, sprinkle a line of shredded cheese along the edge of each tortilla & roll tightly into a tube (i.e., rolling tortilla away from you). Quickly cover the bottom of a 7" x 11" rectangular Pyrex glass baking dish with a little of the salsa verde (about 1/4 c. or so), spreading it out into a thin layer. (This will prevent the enchiladas from sticking to the bottom of the baking dish.) Then place each enchilada into the dish, seam-side down, with each one wedged in tightly next to the other; the dish should hold all enchiladas snugly in a single layer.

Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas and cheese. Pour remaining salsa verde over enchiladas, followed by 1/2 c. cheese, evenly distributing the toppings across the dish. Cover with aluminium foil & bake in preheated 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until piping hot. Remove foil & continue to bake for another 8-10 minutes, until cheese has completely melted & has started to brown. Remove from oven & let cool slightly. Top with remaining crema & garnish with green & red bell peppers, diced tomatoes, & cilantro sprigs.  Place enchiladas onto a bed of shredded lettuce (or Napa cabbage), if desired, & serve immediately. This dish can either be served on its own, or accompanied by a side of refried beans &/or Mexican rice.

Yield: Serves 3-4, about 2-3 enchiladas per person.

Chef's Notes: While it's preferably to eat enchiladas on the same day they're assembled, it's also possible to freeze them & reheat them later. They can either be refrigerated up to 72 hours, or frozen for up to 1 month. Chill or freeze remaining cheese separately in resealable plastic bags or freezer bags. If frozen, thaw enchiladas in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Bake, covered, in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese & then bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes more or until cheese has melted.

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