It isn’t often I get to sit down and peruse cookbooks to my hearts content. Sometimes I feel like I’m reading in sound bites, so to speak. Being surrounded by many great blogger recipes, countless pinterest creations and too many to count food magazines, sometimes means not getting enough of my favorite reads. You see, I love to read cookbooks. To me a cookbook is worth its weight in gold if I can find just one recipe that is worthy of cooking on a daily basis.
I love the story behind cookbooks. I love knowing about what goes into the thought behind the recipe and whether it is traditional or new, creative or classic. I want to know the history behind something and I want to know about the ingredients I’ll be using. I love reading about my favorite foods and that doesn’t just include dessert! Recently I received a new cookbook specializing in enchiladas. It is written by a team from San Antonio; Cappy Lawton who owns three restaurants in San Antonio and Chris Waters Dunn- a former songwriter turned culinary honors student from the Culinary Institute. Together these two have turned out quite a book.
Reviewing Enchiladas-Aztec to Tex Mex, was a no brainer for me! With a Texan husband and both of us confirmed Mexican food lovers, this was a simple send it to me now. It arrived two days later and I’ve been perusing it ever since. To tell you the truth it wasn’t just the subject that caught my eye, it was also the cover. Mexican tiles, fabrics and folk art are some of my faves and the cover of this book with its tile styled book jacket makes me wish my kitchen walls were covered in this!
But on to the food. I’ve never counted the number of enchiladas I’ve eaten, but my favorite involves lots of cheese and red and green chile or as New Mexicans say, Christmas style. Yes, I’m drawn to New Mexican style Mexican food, but I’m also not one to turn down Tex Mex. And traditional Mexican? Well, you can’t go wrong there. This book has a huge, gigantic, enormous amount of recipes to choose from and the recipes are divided into categories based on the main ingredient. The sauces are killer and I love the description of ingredients and the basics on making tortillas and rice and beans. One could look at this as an introductory cookbook to enchiladas but it holds so much for those that have already been introduced.
The book reviews the various types of chiles and other Mexican ingredients. Mexican cheeses and lard vs. oil are other discussions. Fundamentals such as making your own tortillas and making beans and rice, and even chorizo, is all in here. Chilies. Yes, you knew they wouldn’t forget those. Ingredients galore are in here. Now if only someone could find me some huitlacoche, I’d be a happy camper. Love the stuff, but have only had it in restaurants. (If you don’t know what it is, I guess you’ll just have to buy the book!) Then it is on to the recipes. Pork, beef, poultry, seafood and dairy, vegetable and Tex Mex are all covered to the extent that I counted over 53 different types of enchiladas.
One sauce that I’d never heard of contains eggs and chilies and reminds me of a Mexican Hollandaise. There are enchiladas with duck confit and then there are the favorites such as enchiladas suizas and enchiladas rojas. And then there is another sauce with peanuts that caught my eye. There are mole type sauces and even a recipe for Tex Mex brisket and ancho chile gravy. My mouth is watering as I write! The only thing I can think of to miss in this book is the lack of more photos. I love what they have, and there are a lot, but I would have really loved more!
I decided to take a chicken enchilada recipe and make it with turkey, given that the turkey holiday is right around the corner. I also took their sweet potato enchilada and added some sweet potatoes to the turkey. The possibilities in this book are endless! Choosing the enchilada sauce was hard work because there are so may to choose from, but I ended up with a chipotle sauce because I love the smoky heat of chipotles. Combine the turkey and sweet potatoes with a chipotle red enchilada sauce and you have not only a healthy dish staring you in the face, you also have a perfect way to use Thanksgiving leftovers. With so many combinations, I could make a different type of enchilada each week for the rest of my life. Well, let’s not figure that out! And if anyone knows where I can score some huitlacoche, please let me know!
Need a gift for someone? This would be perfect! Kind of like gettin’ the Whole Enchilada!
Turkey and Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Chipotle Red Sauce
Makes: About 12 (2-3 per serving)
Time To Make: Using leftovers this should take about 30 minutes to assemble
1 lb leftover turkey, light or dark, shredded, or fresh turkey or chicken poached
4 t kosher salt (if poaching)
1 medium white onion peeled and quartered (if poaching)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (if poaching)
8 peppercorns (if poaching)
2 baked sweet potatoes, sliced into about 24 pieces
2 1/2 lbs Roma tomatoes
2 T oil
1.2 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 t minced garlic
2 large chipotles en adobo, minced (These are a staple in my kitchen. You can find them in a can in the Mexican food aisle. Once opened they keep almost forever in a sealed container in your fridge.)
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 c crema Mexicana or sour cream
1/2 lb anejo cheese or feta crumbled
Chopped Green Onion ( about 4)
12 corn tortillas
If you want to poach turkey or chicken, start by filling a deep pot with three quarts of water, Add salt, onion and garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, lower heat slightly, cover and let boil for about 15 minutes to infuse the water with seasoning. Add chicken or turkey pieces and allow the liquid to return to a boil. Immediately adjust heat to a simmer and cook until poultry is cooked. Dark meat may take longer than light meat. As the pieces are done, remove them from the pot, moisten with broth and allow to cool. When cool, shred into small pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Sprinkle with a little more broth and refrigerate if not using right away. (I used my leftover broth in split pea soup yesterday!)
To make the sauce:
Preheat oven to 350. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast, turning occasionally until the skins begin to burst and the tomatoes are soft. This may take about 25 minutes. The place under a broiler for about 5 minutes to blacken the skin in spots. Let cool for a few minutes.
Place the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, but not brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotles and cook for another minute.
Place the onion mixture and tomatoes in a blender and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste. The directions did say to puree, but I did not do this. My sauce was a bit thick so I added a little chicken broth to thin it. If using right away, pour back into the saucepan, cover and keep warm over medium low heat.
I warmed my tortillas wrapped in a moist paper towel in a microwave for about 20 seconds. The traditional way is to quickly fry them in about 1/2″ of oil over medium high heat so that tortillas soften. Drain and use. I buy my tortillas from a small Mexican grocery nearby and they are very fresh. I do not worry about them cracking when rolling and so I save the calories and use the micro!
Make sure all your ingredients are ready and near. Fill the lower third of the tortillas with about 2 T of warm turkey, a few sweet potato slices and roll up. Place on a serving plate in a single layer, cover with enchilada sauce, spread on some crema Mexicana and sprinkle with cheese and green onion. Serve and eat immediately. (If necessary, keep rolled enchiladas covered with chipotle sauce and cheese, covered with foil and keep warm in the oven, set at about 275.) When ready to serve, drizzle or spread with the crema and garnish with green onion.