Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

I served two types of enchiladas during  a recent dinner party, along with Mexican rice, refried beans and guacamole.  I found myself forgetting to take pictures along the way because I was having too much fun visiting with friends and family. 

Consider this Part I of a three-part series of posts.

Ingredients:

4 chicken tenderloins

1 Tbs chicken bullion

1 tsp cumin powder

1 bay leaf

5 oz fresh spinach (I used half of a 10 oz bag)

4 Tbs butter

4 Tbs flour

2 cups vegetable stock

14 corn tortillas

1 lb Chihuahua cheese, cut into ½” strips

½ cup salsa verde

Directions:

Trim 4 large chicken breasts and remove the tenderloins.  Add the tenderloins to a pot of water (about 4 cups) and reserve the breast meat for another dish. Add the bouillon, cumin powder and bay leaf.

Cover the pot and simmer the tenderloins on low heat for one hour.  Turn the heat off and leave the pot covered for 30 more minutes. 

Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board.

Partially flatten the chicken by pressing with the broad side of a kitchen knife.  Pressing the chicken breaks apart the meat and makes it easier to shred. 

Gently scrape the chicken across the grain to shred the chicken.

Note:  I stored the chicken in a seal-able container, along with the chicken broth.  This can keep for a few days in the refrigerator with no worries.

Steam the spinach for a few minutes until it begins to wilt.  Drain and set aside.

Start a roux with butter and flour.  Add vegetable stock and whisk until the sauce forms and thickens.  Add the chicken and chicken broth.  Continue to stir to incorporate.  Keep the heat set at medium and stir until the sauce thickens again. 

Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce into a ceramic or glass casserole dish. 

Arrange some tortillas on a clean work surface and place equal amounts of chicken and spinach on the tortillas.  Add a strip or two of cheese.  Roll the enchiladas and place them side by side in the casserole dish.  Continue rolling and placing enchiladas until the dish is full.  Pour the remaining sauce on top of the enchiladas.

Top with more Chihuahua cheese.

Lightly cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and uncover. Serve warm.

Make Your Own Pizza

Recently, I was expecting dinner guests and I didn’t have a plan for the meal.  This happens every now and then and, when it does, I usually resort to something I can practically do in my sleep.  Maybe tacos.  Maybe spaghetti.  No, let’s do pizza again. 

I know what my family likes on their pizzas so I normally just make them according to what I know to be their taste preferences.  If I’m making two pizzas, I might make one with half pepperoni and the other half pepperoni and Italian sausage.  The other pizza might be an “everything pizza”, meaning all of the veggies and assorted meats.  I might slip some anchovies in on the other half of the “everything pizza”, but I have to make sure to put up warning cones around that half of the pizza and announce, “this side has anchovy!” 

It never fails, someone always inadvertently gets a slice with some anchovy.  Life is unfair sometimes.

But, this time I didn’t know what all of the guests like on their pizza…or even if they liked pizza at all, for that matter.  So I thought, why not lay out all of the toppings and allow the guests to dress their own pizza.

I prepared the vegetables and meats and cheese and I even put out a container or marinara, so that they could add as much as they wanted.

It turned out that the dinner party fizzled out and it was just my wife and I.  We wound up making nearly identical pizzas…go figure.

I still think this is a pretty neat idea for a party.  It allows people to congregate in the kitchen, which seems to occur naturally, anyway.  And, it gives everyone the illusion of being able to control their own destiny.  I like that.