White. . . a recipe

3 Aug

This week’s You Capture theme is white. . . which reminded me of the beginning of every good recipe:  diced onions.

It’s funny the things that encourage me to cook. . . a photo assignment. . . a pile of chopped onions. . . well, these became the start of yet another batch of Tyler Florence’s Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa.   I’ve actually made this so many times that I hardly look at the recipe anymore. . . which is no surprise since I hardly followed it the first time.  So, without further ado, this is sort of how I go about preparing this most AWESOME casserole type dish. . .

It all starts with the chopped onion. . . half of an onion, chopped to be exact.  Aren’t they lovely and WHITE?  You saute these in a little olive oil until they begin to soften, then add the cumin and garlic, and consider how you now smell a little like b.o.  Why does cumin smell so bad, yet taste so yummy?  While you have this going, run quickly to your bedroom and put your favorite Conway Twitty album playing.

Next, sprinkle some flour into the pot, and spend a few minutes thinking about how life isn’t the same since you gave up WHITE flour and switched to using brown flour in everything. . .  glance at the whole wheat tortillas that you bought for the casserole, and remember for a minute how great this tastes when you use corn tortillas.  Then, move on.

Next, add two cups of chicken stock – unless you forgot to buy more.  In that case, add the 2/3 cup of chicken stock that you DO have, plus 1 1/3 c. of water.  Stir until it thickens and the raw flour taste has a chance to disappear.  You can tell just by looking at it that it doesn’t taste all flour-y anymore. . . right. . .

Where was I?  Oh, yes, now is the time to add some of your tomatillo sauce, made from scratch. . . right, because we all have time to do that after work?  Or, you could use some of this stuff. . . it’s my not so secret, secret ingredient.  After many taste tests and randomly picking whichever brand of green salsa I can find, I’ve finally come to realize that this is the brand that I like best (out of the two or three at the local grocery store).

I imagine this recipe is BEYOND awesome when you bother to make your own tomatillo sauce, but it really is good as it is, with a little bit of cheating.  It’s like Semi-Homemade combined with Tyler’s Ultimate, and it doesn’t get any better than that, right?   Sigh, it’s been way too long since I’ve had cable television at my disposal. 

Okay, so. . . dump some of the salsa (one can if you take this route) into the skillet with the other saucey ingredients, and then toss in some of the chicken that you deboned and chopped the night before.  Let’s talk about chicken for a second, shall we?  Until I made this recipe, I’d never spent five minutes thinking about chicken, or what it’s like to take a deli roasted chicken and sit quietly at the table, pulling all of the meat off of the bones and setting it aside. . . but, I have to tell you, this is one of my new favorite things to do.  It’s so calming and peaceful, and it really makes me feel connected to all of the women over the years who have done the same thing. . . there is something so elemental about cleaning a chicken and trying to be frugal and get every last bit of meat off of the bones, tossing bones and fat and skin into a little pile on the side. . . 

So, right, chicken into the pot, along with a handful of fresh cilantro.  The fresh cilantro is really what makes a difference in this dish, so don’t think of leaving it out just because you don’t keep it on hand, and the rest of the bunch will go bad if you suddenly can’t think of what to do with a heck of a lot of cilantro.  Okay, so that’s all mixed together, and you’re ready to assemble.  Haul out your trusty Pyrex 9 x 13 and get started!  There’s a dinner at the end of this, and the end IS in sight.  Oh!  Now’s also a good time to preheat that oven to 350, if you haven’t done it already.  Did I not mention that earlier?  Oops.

Crack open another can of salsa verde, and dump it into the pan, then throw on a layer of, sigh, whole wheat tortillas.  Then layer on some of your meat mixture, and a little bit of cheese. . . be careful with that cheese.  Tyler thinks that 2 cups is enough for such a large casserole. . . and if you followed his directions, well, let’s just say things might look a bit sparse on top if you use too much now.  Then, go at it again, more tortillas, meat, cheese.  Finally, top with a layer of tortillas, the third can of salsa verde and that little bit of cheese that you have left. 

Next, open the oven, and. . . curse. . . because you forgot to take the frickin cast iron skillets out of the oven AGAIN.  Pull those out, and just TRY to find room on the crowded counters and mess of a stovetop to put them down.

Finally, toss the casserole into the oven, and half an hour later, dinner. . . one that wasn’t too difficult to throw together and gave you an excuse to play with chicken in the meantime.  Don’t you feel at one with the universe now?

You almost forgot there was a white theme here, didn’t you?



4 Responses to “White. . . a recipe”

  1. Maggie Leckelt Cormier August 3, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    That was so funny! I loved reading it and I might have to try that recipe even though I’ve never picked the meat off a chicken before.

    • Like A Broken Umbrella August 4, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

      Oh, you don’t know what you’re missing. You should REALLY go and buy a chicken today and get to work.

  2. Jenifer L Higgins August 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    That looks really good!

  3. Teresa August 5, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    That looks so yummy!

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