Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Erin's Enchiladas, from TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST - #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: I always say that one of the secrets to a happy life is friends who cook well.

And nothing proves that better than my longggg friendship with Lita, whom I met during sophomore year of college. She married a man with a Hispanic mother and embraced Mexican cooking with both very strong arms. This is Lita’s recipe, which I think she based on one from America’s Test Kitchen. Admittedly, it’s a bit, oh, involved is the best word, and in TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Erin admits that she occasionally grabs a jar of sauce from the Merc’s shelves when she craves enchiladas. Granted, she and the Merc are fictional—don’t tell her I said so—so this is the recipe in those jars.

TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the 4th Food Lovers' Village Mystery, will be out officially on June 8. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy!

Fill the enchiladas with chicken, shredded beef, or black beans---or a combination, as described below.

This sauce freezes beautifully, and can be used in burritos, tamales, tortilla soup, or other recipes. Double it some Sunday afternoon and stick a pan of unbaked enchiladas in the freezer for a night when even reaching for a jar seems like too much.

A NOTE ABOUT CHILES: After I posted this, a few comments asked about the California and Guajillo chiles in the sauce. Both are mild, red chiles. California chiles start out green and turn red as they ripen; they are apparently sometimes called chile seco del Norte or Magdalena chiles. Guajillo chiles are the dried mirasol chile. This guide has more details and pictures, as does this site. I've noticed that naming varies and is not necessarily consistent. If you can't find dried chiles with these names, look for a red chile with a mild flavor and try combining a couple; if you like more heat, you'll have more options. Remember that cooking is an art, not a precise science, and be willing to play -- if you're not sure whether a pepper will be too hot, try a small amount, and add more later if you'd like.

Enchilada Sauce

2 ounces dried Ancho chiles
2 ounces dried Guajillo chiles
2-3 ounces dried California chiles
½ large or 1 medium white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife blade
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
½ - 1 orange, sliced, including the peel (if the peel is thick, use half of it)
4 – 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in your hands
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon masa harina (corn flour) or very finely ground corn meal
½ lime, juiced (2-3 tablespoons of juice)

Using kitchen scissors, and optional gloves, stem and seed the chiles.

Heat a large skillet on high and quickly dry roast the chiles, in batches, 1-2 minutes, to darken the skin; do not burn.

Place the peppers, onion, garlic, carrot, and orange in a large pot, and cover with the stock. Cover pot and bring to a rolling boil, then turn off the heat and let mixture sit about 30 minutes.

Ladle 2-3 cups of liquid and vegetables, about half and half, into a blender. Puree about 3 minutes and place in another pot or a non-staining bowl. Repeat with additional batches till complete.

Return sauce to pan and add the cumin, oregano, and salt. In a small bowl, make a slurry of the corn flour and about 1/4 cup of the chile puree, to prevent clumping, then add to pot and stir in. Add lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust the seasoning.

The Enchiladas

8 - 8 inch corn tortillas
1 pound beef (stew meat), slow cooked until it can be shredded with a fork, OR 1 pound chicken breast, cooked and shredded, OR 1 pound black beans, cooked (or a 16 ounce can)
2 ounces diced green chiles, fresh or canned
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
10-12 green onions, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
sour cream (optional)
fresh tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil the tortillas on each side and warm them in the oven to prevent cracking—you can warm them while the oven is preheating.

Mix your beef, chicken, or beans with the green chiles, and if you’d like, a few green onions and cilantro.

Pour ½ cup (about a ladleful) of sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Place a warmed tortilla on a plate. In the center, place about 1/4 cup filling and a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up tightly and place in the baking dish.

Ladle more sauce over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle with cheddar. Bake about 15 minutes, until cheese melts. Serve with chopped onions and cilantro, and optional sour cream and tomatoes.

Unbaked enchiladas freeze beautifully, in the pan. To serve, thaw and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and the cheese is melted.

Makes 8 enchiladas.

Does your BFF have a favorite recipe you adore???

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017). (US and Canadian addresses only; winner will be chosen Thurs, June 1.)

From the cover:   

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

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