Friday, February 17, 2012

Grandma Tita's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

It occurred to me the other day that it's been a while since I've "bared my soul" if you will.  It got to be a somewhat regular occurrence here on the blog for a while.  I was wondering why for the past few months I haven't felt the need to emotionally vomit on here, and I guess simply put, life is good.  Oh sure, I'm still neurotic and worry about many of the same things I used to, but many of the things that were weighing on me have either been resolved or I just don't feel the need to write about them anymore.  I turn to my husband, or my friends and talk about things.  Ask for advice, discuss things that I have questions about.  This blog and all of you guys will always be a great source of encouragement to me, but in this season of my life I, for the most part, feel content, and if I'm not feeling content, I've been praying or talking it through instead of writing I guess.  There are so many wonderful narrative, personal blogs out there that do a much more beautiful job of penning out the everyday that we all struggle with, you don't really need to hear me wax on about the stresses of parenting, or how I still after almost a year, feel torn about my decision to quit my job.

I don't really know why I'm saying all this, and I realize that this is most likely the most random and longest introduction to a recipe post ever.  But I guess I just wanted to let you all know, especially those that have been reading for a long time and have always inspired and encouraged me, that I'm still here, and I'm still me, just a little better adjusted than I was a year ago.  But have no doubt, I'm still a bit crazy, still emotional, still cry at the drop of a hat.  In fact as I write this I'm crying, and as I look at the pictures of me and my mom making enchiladas, the ones my dear beloved Grandma used to make, huge crocodile tears are streaming down my face.

Ah, enough!  Here's the recipe for my Grandma Tita's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.  They are quite honestly amazing.  Let me give you all some advice.  If there is someone in your life, a mother or grandma, that has special recipes that she makes on a routine basis, learn to make those recipes.  When they are gone, it will save you, and encourage you.  I promise you that.  Here in Southern California, green chile chicken enchiladas are a dime a dozen.  I can think of at least 6 restaurants within a 5 mile radius that serves them.  But NONE of them taste like these, these taste like home to me.  They taste like Grandma and Mom and my sister and my aunt and all the women on my mom's side of the family that I love.  That's what homemade food can do to you, for you.  So no matter how simple or ordinary or common a loved one's recipe may seem, LEARN IT!  You will never, ever regret it.

Grandma Tita's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
1 whole 3-4 lb chicken
1 whole onion
1 3 dozen package of corn tortillas
vegetable oil (several tablespoons to fry tortillas in)
2 lbs of shredded cheese
2 32 oz cans of Las Palmas green chile sauce

Start by boiling the chicken in a large pot filled with water, 1 cut up onion, 1 bay leaf and salt and pepper.  Depending on the size of your chicken, boil from 35-45 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from pot and let cool before shredding.  I usually put it in a large bowl in the fridge for an hour to get it nice and cool.  Once cool, shred the chicken into small bite size pieces.  Set shredded chicken aside.
 Heat up 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium heat, and begin to fry your tortillas.  Working with one at a time, set tortilla in oil and let fry for about 15-20 seconds, just enough time to soften the tortillas up, but you do not want them to get hard at all.  Watch out for this.  You want them to just soak up the flavor yet still be pliable enough to fold up.  I usually do 3-4 tortillas, then lay them out in the pan to start rolling, turn off the heat, and go back when done rolling.  A tedious process, but well worth it.  You want the tortillas to still be nice and warm when working with them, which is why you don't fry all the tortillas all at once.  Of course you could always work in an assembly line with another person and make your life a whole hell of a lot easier ;)
Place a small handful of shredded cheese into a tortilla, then some chicken, then a bit more cheese.  Roll up nice and tight, and repeat the process.  Depending on how generous you are with your cheese and chicken, you will get anywhere from 24-32 enchiladas out of one chicken (enough to fill 2 baking pans).
Once you've finished rolling your enchiladas, get your Las Palmas ready.  Now I know what you may be thinking here; canned enchilada sauce, really?  I know, I know, but hear me out.  Have you ever made your own chile sauce?  It's a pain, and this stuff just has the best flavor.  My grandma made most everything from scratch including her tamales and beans, but sauce was just something she didn't mess with.  I don't begrudge her for it one bit ;)
So pour on your sauce.  Between your two pans of enchiladas you will use at least 1.5 cans, and I always like to reserve about 1/2 a can to pour on after they're done cooking if you wish.  Sometimes they get a little dry when baking, so the extra sauce helps to moisten them back up.
Once your sauce is poured on top, smoother them with a bit more shredded cheese and bake them up!  25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven should be just enough to get them nice and hot and the cheese melted.
Now here's the thing that I've discovered about Mexican food, it never really looks that good in pictures.  Yes, I admit, I am not the best at styling and photographing food, but even in Mexican restaurants the pictures in the menu always just sort of look like a big blob of stuff with cheese smothered on it.  Don't you think?  I'm sure Adam and his partner Matt could make these enchiladas look freaking amazing, like you hear angels sing  when you look at the photo, convincing you that heaven must look, or taste something like a gooey cheesy enchilada.  But me?  Not so much.  All this to say, don't hold this very sad picture against the enchiladas.  Even though they look sort of meh, believe me they are anything but.  As I always suggest, serve alongside Grandma Tita's Spanish Rice, some good ol' frijoles, and of course a margarita or Dos Equis, and you'll be having yourself a rip roaring good time.   

It's the weekend friends, so have a good one.  Make something fattening and gooey and enjoy.  You only live once after all, make it count.  

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