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Friday, August 28, 2009


Today we are going south of the border. Ole! (South of the American border rather, not the Canadian border). Mexican/Tex-Mex is rather scarce here in Montreal, let me put it this way, there isn't even a Taco Bell here and you probably couldn't find 5 people within a 5 mile radius of my house who can properly pronounce the word "jalapeno". Given this dearth, I've started to make my own Tex-Mex at home.

Recently my supermarket has expanded its "ethnic" aisle beyond Asian food and has gotten a Latin American section. When they started selling enchilada sauce I almost did a happy dance of joy in the middle of the grocery and ran home to make my version of enchiladas.

The partial cast of characters:

-Cheese and lots of it.

-Enchilada sauce. In a fit of inspiration I decided to buy one each of the green and the red version. You will rarely see me using pre-prepared sauces but since I don't have access to all the chiles I would need to make them from scratch I make exceptions.

-Cooked chicken strips.

The chicken gets mixed with:

-Spinach (yes, might seem a bit weird but tastes good in this recipe)
-Green onions
-Sour cream (don't use low-fat because it makes the filling watery)
-Salt and pepper
-A tablespoon of salsa. I had five chile salsa in the fridge.
-About half of the grated cheese which I added after I took this picture.

This all gets mixed up until everything is incorporated. I always end up using more sour cream than I think I will need; it helps bind the filling.

I use flour tortillas to make enchiladas. They don't sell corn tortillas here and I don't have a tortilla press to make them. Above is the pan with the filled, rolled tortillas doused with the two enchilada sauces and covered with the rest of the cheese. This goes in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 Fahrenheit. It doesn't technically need to cook this long since the chicken is already cooked but when you leave it longer the texture vastly improves. The flavours have time to marry and the cheese becomes bubbly and the edges get nice and crispy.

With this I always make red rice which is dead easy. I just cook my rice as normal but replace half of the water with chicken broth and the other half with pureed tomatoes. I then add ancho powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. The picky Husband doesn't like bits of onion in his rice *sigh*, hence why I used onion powder instead of actual onions, ditto for the garlic.

These are my enchiladas after 45 minutes in the oven. Check out the blanket of bubbling cheese.

My final dinner plate. I had some guacamole and fresh salsa in the fridge and had made patacones (a.k.a. fried plantains) so I served them with my enchiladas. I don't live anywhere close to an authentic Tex-Mex/Mexican food restaurant so my home made version is 100 times better than anything I can find here. It makes a ton of leftovers which warm up really well so you get a lot of meals for your efforts. I really should write my supermarket a letter thanking them for carrying enchilada sauce and threatening a picket line if they ever stop.
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