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Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Meat, Mexican, Poultry, Sauces and Dips, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas Verde Con Pollo

Enchiladas Verde Con Pollo

Total time:  Plan for 3 hours your first time, 2 hours each time after that.

The 2010 May Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food, and they chose 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.

6-8 fresh Anaheim chiles (or 4-5 pasillas)
4-6 tomatillos – peeled, with stems removed
4 cups Chicken broth
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)
Hot sauce, your favorite (optional)
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)
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled (optional)

Pureed Peppers and Tomatillos

Pureed Peppers and Tomatillos


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.
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.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic. Let them rest until they are cool, about 10 minutes.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out. 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 kept the seeds in the pepper.)

Corn tortillas made with masa

Corn tortillas made with masa

Green Chile Sauce

1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft. (I prefer to grill mine, along with all peppers, onions, and garlic.)
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor, add roasted green chiles, peppers, onions and garlic, and blend some more.
3. Return the tomatillo-chile mixture to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, oregano, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

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.
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.

Uncooked Enchiladas

Uncooked Enchiladas

Skip steps 4-12 if you’re just rolling your enchiladas.

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.
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.
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.

My combination of peppers and chicken broth yielded enough sauce for two dishes. I made these with homemade corn tortillas the first night, with shredded chicken, and then with store-bought flour tortillas and shredded pork the second night. I think the corn tortillas had better texture and flavor, but the shredded pork was far tastier than the plain salt&pepper chicken.

I always use extra sharp white cheddar cheese for “your choice shredded cheese”.

I prefer to boil my meats and shred them, rather than grilling or pan frying. I also feel it’s helpful to season them with at *least* salt, pepper, and some sort of chili powder.

I chose to roll my enchiladas instead of stacking them. If you choose to roll your enchiladas, it’s very important to put sauce on the bottom of the pan, under your rolled enchiladas.

I found this recipe and my adjusted process to be really easy and convenient for me, and it tastes better than the recipe I had been using, so it’s definitely a keeper.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Mexican, Sauces and Dips, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Chipotle Cream Cheese Sauce

Chipotle-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Sauce

Chipotle-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Sauce

Total time:  Approximately 20 minutes, plus optional chill time.

1/2 cup onion
1 jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c heavy cream
2 T cream cheese, softened
1-2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 T ground chipotle powder
1 T tomato paste
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin

Mince onion, jalapeno, and garlic separately or together.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute onions until they start to turn clear. Add the jalapeno and garlic and saute until soft. Add all of the other remaining ingredients except cream and cream cheese. Mix until smooth.

Reduce heat to low. Slowly add cream cheese, mix until smooth. Slowly add the cream. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.

Serve warm or chilled. If you plan to use this as a marinade, chill completely before use.

Make it a dip: Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese at the end and mix well.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Mexican, Sauces and Dips

Honeydew Salsa

Honeydew Salsa

Honeydew Salsa

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour.

5-6 large slices of honeydew melon, skin on
1 large onion, skin on
2 jalapeno peppers
1 lime
1/2 c cilantro, divided

Cut the onion and jalapenos in half (long way for jalapenos). Grill or Broil onion, peppers, and half the melon slices until the edges just start to char. Flip or turn them until all sides are this way. Remove from heat and let cool.

Remove the outer layers of the onion and melon skin, discard. Chop two slices of onion and place in food processor or blender. Add jalapenos, cooked melon, and half the cilantro, puree until smooth.

Chop up the remaining raw melon and cooked onions and place in medium mixing bowl. Add puree and remaining cilantro, mix well. Squeeze in the juice of one lime, mix well. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Makes about 3 cups.

I don’t normally like fruity salsa, and I never thought I’d make some, but I have this honeydew itching to be eaten, and I’m running out of ideas. I imagine you could use cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, or some other sort of fruit. This was startlingly good.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Mexican, Sauces and Dips

Salsa I

Single Serving

Single Serving

Total time:  10 minutes with a food processor or 30 minutes by hand.

If I weren’t so afraid of the food processor, I’d use it. Instead, I peeled my tomatoes and chopped everything really teeny tiny. Your call.

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, peeled (optional) and finely chopped
2 serranos, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped (about a handful)
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Mix well.

Serves two.

A little warmer than I originally thought it was going to be, but perfect for JB.

Crock-pot Cookin', Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Mexican, Soup and Salad

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Garnishes add a unique flavor to every bowl.

Garnishes add a unique flavor to every bowl.

Total time:  1.5 hours on the stove or 4-8 hours in the crockpot.

2-3 chicken breasts
2 cans of chicken broth
2-3 tomatoes
2 poblanos
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 shallot
juice from one lime or half a lemon
handful of chopped cilantro
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp oregano
2 or more tsp NM or CA red chili
1 or more tsp chipotle (for smoky flavor)

garnish with
lime wedges
sliced avocado
green onions
sour cream

8 or more small corn tortillas
1/2 c vegetable oil
alternatively, you can use corn tortilla chips out of the bag

Boil chicken breasts in just enough water to cover them until just cooked. Let cool, but do not drain.

Puree tomato, poblanos, garlic, onion, shallot and juice.

Chop or shred chicken breasts. Combine chicken, leftover water, tomato mix, chicken broth and seasonings in a pot or crock-pot. Bring just to a boil and simmer for one hour.

To prepare your own tortilla strips, slice tortillas in vertical strips 1/4 or 1/2 inch wide. Brown lightly in hot oil, drain on paper towels or in a metal colander.

I used my crock-pot, and I cooked it on high from 2pm to 6pm… but I think I could have had the same results in a pot on the stove for an hour. I didn’t puree my vegetables, either. It was more like stew, so next time, I’m definitely pureeing. New Mexico or California chili powder doesn’t add a lot of heat, but it does add a lot of flavor. You can leave them out or substitute cayenne to make it hotter or normal chili powder to change the flavor. Or leave them all out… I’m sure it’ll still taste good. I squeezed in a lime wedge into my own bowl to get the exact taste I was looking for.

Some people add corn or black beans. I’m not a fan, as I like my soup to be just chicken and tortillas.

Beef, Ethnic Foods, Meat, Mexican

Empanadas II

Total time:  Plan on 1 hour per 10 empanadas.

Beef Empanadas

* 2 hard-boiled large eggs
* 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 3/4 pound ground beef chuck
* 2 tablespoons raisins
* 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
* 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
* 1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed, or make dough
* About 4 cups vegetable oil
* a deep-fat thermometer

Cut each egg crosswise into 10 thin slices.

Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.

Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.

Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then roll out an empanada disk on plastic wrap to measure about 6 inches. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk and top with 2 slices of egg. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. Make more empanadas in same manner.

Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Mexican

Empanada Dough II

On the way to the refrigerator

On the way to the refrigerator

Total time:  15 minutes.

* 3 cups flour
* pinch of salt
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 3 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 cup lard or shortening
* 3/4 cup chicken stock
* 1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg and mix into chicken broth. Mix the broth and egg into the flour mixture and knead until dough forms. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour a surface and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 4-inch circles for small empanadas, 5-inch for medium ones or 6-inch for large ones. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough circle for small empanadas, 2 tablespoons for medium and 3 tablespoons for large.

Fold dough over to make a filled half circle and use a fork to press the edges together. Refrigerate uncooked empanadas for 3 hours.

Fry in 350 degree oil for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Update June 16, 2009 – Used this dough recipe for potato pockets, and it was cuppylicious! I didn’t use a circle cut-out, though. Instead, I divided up the dough into 12 equal fist-sized balls and rolled them individually. Also, 1/4″ is a little thick for me, so I rolled mine thinner. It’s really preference.

When I put flour down on my board, it seemed to make the dough sort of elastic-feeling, so I wiped the board clean and rolled without. I think Empanada Dough I is “flakier” than this recipe. Perhaps if I’d only rolled the dough to 1/4″ thick instead of so thin like I did…? Regardless, my potato pockets recipe made the exact right amount to use all the dough. Woohoo!

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Meat, Mexican, Pork

Empanadas I

Total time:  Full recipe of 30 empanadas will take close to 3 hours.  Plan on 1 hour per 10 empanadas.

A great addition to our "Meximeal"!!

A great addition to our "Meximeal"!!

This dough made only 9 of my preferred sized empanadas the first time I did it.  I’ve had mixed results since.

1 pound of hamburger (or shredded meat of your choice)
.5 pound of sausage (I like a tube of Jimmy Dean sausage) (optional!)
1 can of black beans (or one cup dry beans, soaked over night and boiled for 10 minutes)
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
1-3 serranos, finely chopped
1/2 can of corn
1 tomato, pureed
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I like to use 2 tablespoons of the garlic that’s already chopped up in a jar)
1/4 cup or more of cilantro, finely chopped
salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
1-3 cups of corn or vegetable oil

Prepare empanada dough as directed; set aside. Brown meat in medium skillet on medium heat; drain. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix well.

Shape dough evenly into 9 balls, using about 3 Tbsp. of the dough for each ball. Flatten each ball into 6-inch round with a rolling pin. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture onto center of each round. Fold dough rounds in half to enclose filling; press lightly on tops to remove any air pockets. Seal edges with fork or fold over and press down.

Heat oil in large deep skillet to 375°F (you can flick a drop of water into the pan and it’ll sizzle). Add empanadas, in batches of three or four; cook 3 min. on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil; drain well. Cool slightly before serving.

This filling makes about 30 empanadas!!! I had no idea it was going to make so much! I wouldn’t do that much meat again! I made 9 for JB and Brett and myself, and then I put the rest of the filling in the refrigerator. I made 9 more the next day, and I still had too much filling leftover. So… cut back on the meat and vegetables for a smaller amount of filling.

We served them with cheese, sour cream, homemade grilled salsa and guacamole.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Mexican

Empanada Dough I

Total time:  15 minutes.

From the folks over at Kraft Food & Family.

2 cups flour
1 tsp.  salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup  lard
1/2 cup water

COMBINE flour, salt and baking powder in large bowl. Cut in lard with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add water, stirring until mixture forms a ball.

PLACE dough on lightly floured surface; knead 5 min. or until smooth and pliable.

WRAP tightly; set aside while preparing empanada filling.

How to Make Sweet Empanada Dough
Prepare as directed, substituting 1/2 cup sugar for the 1 tsp. salt.

Make Ahead
Prepare dough as directed. Wrap tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days. Remove from refrigerator about 30 min. before using. Let stand, covered, at room temperature until ready to use as directed.

Breads and Desserts, Cookies, Mexican


Here’s a recipe for you: always a holiday hit around our houses.

These are technically Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Teacakes, but we call them snowballs or melt-in-the-mouths! Original recipe makes 5-dozen (30 servings).

Total time:  Approximately 2 hours.

From the recipe exchange.

Recipe has been scaled to make 60 servings. (They go quickly!)

2 cups butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped pecans
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cream the butter with 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla. Mix in the flour, nuts and salt. Roll about 1 tablespoon or so of dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 15 minutes. Do not allow these cookies to get too brown. It’s better to undercook them than to overcook them. While cookies are still hot roll them in confectioners’ sugar. Once they have cooled roll them in confectioners’ sugar once more.