Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Show of Cinco-larity

When spring flowers start sprouting, I know its not too long until the welcome return of Cinco de Mayo! Slowly but surely, this festive event has taken hold of the hearts and bellies of America. Many head out to restaurants and bars, where swaths of green, white and red bolster a plethora of Mexican foods, music and drinks.

I prefer a more low-key evening at home with friends. It's usually a potluck-style affair that's perfectly suited for a crowd-pleasing platter of enchiladas. Inauthentic, certainly, but often it's the first plate to empty.

For a large crowd, casserole-style is the only way to go. Shredded chicken and cheese are combined with chopped onions and tomatoes, then coated with a mixture of salsas- I like using both red and green. For the wrap, purists prefer corn tortillas, but these do just fine with the softer flour sort.

Assembly is quick: load tortillas with desired filling, roll'em up, and place in a salsa-sauced casserole dish. Repeat until full, coat with more salsa, onions and cheese, then pop into a moderate oven for about 35 minutes, until bubbling hot and ready.

When facing more intimate affairs (and with some extra time), I'll pull a Martha and craft cute, bite-sized portions. A small biscuit cutter is the perfect tool to stamp out little rounds from a full-sized tortilla, which are then grilled or pan-fried until lightly browned.

A microwave makes quick work of warming the chicken and salsa, and again, it's basic assembly: chicken, salsa, onions and cheese go for a turn under the broiler. In about five minutes, you've got all the gooey, spicy goodness of enchiladas in a neat, hand-held package. Bring on the cervezas!

Inauthentic Chicken Enchiladas

16 ounces tomatilla salsa (I prefer Mrs. Renfro's)
16 ounces red salsa (I prefer homemade)
1 20-ounce package soft flour tortillas shells
1 whole smoked or roasted chicken, roughly chopped or shredded
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 bunch cherry tomatoes, chopped
3 cups sharp or medium cheddar cheese, shredded
4 Trappey's jalapenos, sliced (optional)
fresh cilantro, sliced (optional)
1 medium red onion, diced

In a casserole dish, cover the bottom with a layer of salsa.
Take a tortilla and line with about 2 generous spoonfuls of the chicken.
Top with green onions, tomatoes, cheese and optional jalapenos and cilantro; roll into a cylinder and place seam side down into the casserole. Repeat with the remaining tortillas until finished.
Cover the tortillas with a generous amount of salsa, then add the chopped onions and remaining shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until bubbling and piping hot. Serve immediately.

Chicken Enchilada Bites

1 20-ounce package soft flour tortilla shells
1 whole smoked or roasted chicken, roughly chopped or shredded
1 small red onion, minced
tomatilla salsa
1 bunch green onions, sliced
red salsa
2 cups sharp or medium cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh cilantro or chives, sliced (for garnish)

Turn broiler to low and pre-heat.
Using a small biscuit cutter, cut rounds from the full-sized tortillas. In a lightly-oiled pan or panini grill, cook until lightly browned.

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the chicken and minced red onion with the tomatilla salsa: cook in the microwave for about 1 minutes, stirring once, until mixture is warmed through.

Place the rounds on a lined cookie sheet, then add about 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture to the center of each round.
Sprinkle with green onion, then place a dab of red salsa on top.
Cover with about a tablespoon (or so) of the cheese.
Place into the pre-heated oven under the broiler and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Remove to serving tray, place slivers of cilantro or chive atop each round and serve immediately.


Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

In with friends is the best way to celebrate almost anything... and with those enchiladas, all you need is a margarita and you're set!

3:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home