Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010: Daring Cooks Roasted Green Chile

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

Our hostesses chose a Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe using tomatillos. They recognize that some of you may not have access to fresh or canned tomatillos, or you may have already mastered a tomatillo sauce, so feel free to make any homemade Mexican style sauce that will challenge you.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S. seem to get bigger and better each year. We don't know if that's because of the increasing Mexican-American population in the U.S. or if it's just a great excuse to have a fiesta with fabulous Mexican food. Either way we hope you'll join us in a little Mexican fiesta for May's Daring Cooks Challenge.

Recipe Source (Two recipes):
Fine Cooking (Online),
Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchiladas,
Green Chile Sauce

1. Roasting the Anaheim chiles is a critical part of the Green Chile sauce. More information about how to do this is included below, but please resist the temptation to rinse the chiles to remove the skin or seeds. You will lose lots of flavor if you do this!!
2. If using a broiler to roast the chiles, lining the broiler pan or baking sheet with foil greatly simplifies the clean-up process!
3. You may want to consider using gloves when peeling and removing seeds from the chiles. I keep a set of gloves in the kitchen for just that purpose. All it takes is one hand to the eye or nose for a lot of pain to set in!

For those who can't find tomatillos... Audax Artifex makes the following recommendations -
I've done some research on substitutes for tomatillos and came up with green gooseberries (which you can easily get in Australia and New Zealand) which look and taste very similar to tomatillos but gooseberries can be tarter than tomatillos so use only 3/4 of the recipe amount or add some sugar. A number of recipe sites in Australia mentioned this substitute and they stated it was a good sub for tomatillos.

I just got a phone call back from a mate of mine who does a lot of Tex-Mex cooking he suggests green tomatoes with tamarind paste (1 kg tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste) which he says is the best sub he has found - the tamarind paste is very tart and adds that unique taste. Also he says that green tomatoes with equal amounts of lime juice and prune juice (no added sugar) is better than lime juice alone.

Tomatillos look like green tomatoes, except they're encased in a husk that you peel off using.

For this challenge we'll be roasting green chiles.

Roasting Fresh Chiles
1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.

I've never used my broiler so this is a chance to break it in after owning it for 6 years.
Also, I didn't bother oiling the peppers before roasting.

2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.

Char, baby, char!
Remember to turn on your vent fan and open some windows. :-)

3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.

The charred peppers were placed in a bowl and covered to steam.

4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.


I found that using a spoon made for easy skinning and seeding. Tongs were used to steady the pepper so I don't accidentally get pepper juice onto my hand and eventually into my eye. Fortunately, I don't contacts.

Green Chile Sauce

1½ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams - roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely. Other green chiles (NOT bell peppers) could probably be substituted but be conscious of heat and size!)
7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium)212 grams - peel, remove stems
4 cups Chicken broth (32 ounces/920 grams)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolve in 2 tablespoons water, for thickening)
Hot sauce, your favorite, optional


1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.

Instead of boiling, I went broiler crazy and started charring all the other sauce ingredients.

Slightly charred :-)

I added a jalapeno just in case I wanted to boost the heat level. However, I opted not to use it in the end.

2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.

3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.

Ready for the cooking.

4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.

6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas
2 Boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
Kosher salt and pepper
12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm). (you can also use wheat tortillas or other wraps)
6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)
Green Chile Sauce
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled optional

1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Instead of grilling a chicken, I went to the local Costco and purchased a rotisserie chicken. Inexpensive and tasty with the emphasis on easy.

Also, I used the bones and meat bits to make a stock for the green chile sauce.

2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.

3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.

4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.

5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).

6. Drain on paper towels.

7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.

8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.

9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.

10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.

Tortillas are fried and layered into a baking dish

11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.

12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.

13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Baked 450F for about 20 minutes. Finished off with Mexican cheese, Queso Blanco. A semi-crumbly cheese almost like Feta, but not as crumbly and salty as Feta.

14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.

The final dish... the stacked enchiladas topped with queso blanco and fresh tomatillo and avocado salsa. Mexican style brown rice and shredded lettuce. The shredded lettuce adds a nice cooling crunch to contrast the rest of the dish.

Overall, the flavor of the dish was good. The stacked enchiladas were a little mushy in the center... so that means I should have fried the tortillas a lot more darker, crunchier.

Recipe: Tamatillo-Avocado Salsa


Bunnee said...

Your pictures are great and I loved reading the comments on the steps you took. The final product looks wonderful, despite your concern about the middle tortilla layer, and I think the salsa sounds like a perfect garnish.

Jo said...

Whatever it is, it looks absolutely delicious to me. I wouldn't mind having some of this.

Audax said...

John wondrous step by step (as always) and the final dish is inspiring lovely work on this delicious challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.