Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Came Late This Year - Chicken Enchiladas and Angry Guacamole

Today, May 18, would have been my grandparents-who-raised-me's 69th wedding anniversary.  Unlike my in-laws, they had a perfectly miserable marriage.  When Pop died of cancer in 1983, they'd been married just 36 years, most of it spent screaming at each other.  The day he died - we were in the hospital actually - she went into some sort of fugue state, and when she came out of it three years later, it was for the dual purpose of bad-mouthing him mercilessly and making my life a living hell.   When my grandmother died in 2000, her senile dementia had taken him from her yet again.  Probably just as well.

On that happy note, it's time to discuss the menu for Cinco de Mayo.  It came late this year, or it's right on time if you live by DDST, as I do.  That has nothing to do with Daylight Savings Time.  Never mind what it does mean, just know it is a useful time zone for procrastinators, such as myself.

If I was going to throw a Cinco de Mayo party, which is highly unlikely since I don't throw parties anymore, I would have crammed into it every Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Faux-Mex recipe I know.  Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.  Chicken enchiladas, beef burritos, beef empanadas,  tamales, shrimp chimichangas, refried beens, chili, guacamole, Savannah red rice, arroz con gandules, sweet corn pudding, and more.  For the purposes of today's "better late than never dinner", I finally pulled together an acceptable version of green chili chicken enchiladas, a guacamole I can only describe as angry, and a new recipe called "refried beans with everything", that I have been wanting to try for a while.

Why angry guacamole?  Well, for starters, I am feeling angry, part of whatever it is I am passing through right now.  I did not merely chop the vegetables on the cutting board - I whacked them into submission, with a great deal of sound and fury.  And I threw in one large jalapeño, which wasn't part of the recipe I thought I was making, along with the cayenne pepper, which was part of the recipe I suppose I thought I was making. It seems I had my personal ring binder cookbook open to my recipes for guacamole, and for some strange reason, thought they were the same.  So I looked back and forth,  one page or the other, depending on where I happened to be standing in the kitchen.  By the time I realized it, the guac was finished.  Since nothing tastes right to me today, I couldn't begin to tell you how it all came out, and my official tasters are busy elsewhere.

Angry Guacamole

2 ripe Haas avocados
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
1 very small onion, chopped small
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 heaping tablespoon dairy sour cream
pepper, granulated garlic (to taste)

Scoop the avocado flesh into a medium bowl and mash with a fork.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.  Cover and place in refrigerator for an hour before serving. Try as I might, my guacamole always reverts to an unappetizing olive drab color, but it tastes good.  Really.

The chicken is on the right; the chicken fat is already in the freezer

Remember that whole chicken you cooked the other day to make soup?  Well, now all shall be revealed - we are going to use it to make Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas Suizas.  This make an enormous amount - a little over four dozen smallish enchiladas, perfect for a party.  If you give parties, which I don't, not anymore.

2-3 bags of Mission brand yellow corn tortillas (24 to a bag, extra thin)

For the filling:
1 whole chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, skin and fat removed, cooked as for  chicken soup in crockpot for 4 to 6 hours on High
1-2 oz. jar Dromedary diced pimentos, drained
1-4 oz can sliced back olives, drained
1-7 oz can chopped fire-roasted green chilies
2 very large green onions, all green and white parts, halved and sliced
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sweet green bell pepper
1  jalapeño, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped culantro (or cilantro)
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 packets Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote
2 cans cream of chicken and mushroom soup
3 cups sour cream
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, and onion powder, all to taste
12 oz. shredded cheese (Mexican blend and/or sharp cheddar)

To finish:
1 bunch slender green onions, all parts, sliced thin
1 large Roma tomato, seeded and diced
2-10 oz. cans mild green enchilada sauce
1-15 oz. can mild red enchilada sauce
2-3 tablespoons  chopped cilantro
12 oz. Mexican four cheese blend

Chop up the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Stir in all of the remaining filling ingredients. Set in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.  When you are ready to fill the enchiladas, set a small skillet on medium high heat.  Spray an aluminum lasagna dish with some no-stick spray.  Warm the tortilla in the hot pan just until it softens enough to roll easily. Place two medium scoops (same size you would use for meatballs and matzo balls) just above the center of the tortilla and roll up to enclose the filling.  Set each enchilada seam side down in the prepared pan.  Repeat until all the filling is used up.  Refrigerate covered overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle the enchiladas with the green onions and chopped Roma tomato pieces.  Drizzle first with the green enchilada sauce, then with the red.  Sprinkle on the chopped cilantro and finally cover with the cheese.  Bake between 20 and 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the filling is hot.  Serve with angry guacamole and sour cream.

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