Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Suisse Enchiladas

My Mom is a fantastic home cook. I have many fond food memories from my childhood: thickly frosted homemade chocolate birthday cakes, apricot bars, meatloaf, beef stroganoff, turkey tetrazzini, sweet and sour meatballs and creamy enchiladas. I have fond memories of frozen Weaver chicken too but that’s another entry for another day.

She was self taught and learned by trial and error. Most of her recipes are very reflective of the 70’s back when my brothers and I were still mighty young. By the time I was off to college, she had added salmon and healthier food to the mix and even used such exotic spices as cilantro.

I think many of us long for the foods of our childhood but lately my craving for my Mom’s enchiladas was getting a little out of hand.

So this past Sunday, I called my Mom intent on getting the recipe for the enchiladas of my childhood. Little did I know that E was listening as I was getting the recipe and was starting to get a little alarmed.

“Whipping cream? Do you think I can use half and half and milk instead?”

Yeah. So since I grew up with these enchiladas, I never once thought they might be “odd”. But as Mom went thru the ingredients which included whipping cream, tomato sauce, I realized that perhaps this dish might be only delicious to me and was hardly “authentic:.

Nevermind that E might find my enchiladas repulsive at least she’d get a taste of what 7 year old Leah liked.

The dish took a bit of time because I decided to use chicken quarters and I needed to roast those. I used my beloved Goya adobe seasoning and generously sprinkled it on the tops and bottoms of my chicken. Once cooked, E and I skinned and shredded the meat so it could get combined with the chopped spinach.

Once the enchiladas were assembled and popped back into the hot oven, the dish was quickly done!

But how did it taste? Awesome! No, really, it was good. Rich and creamy and just like I remember as a kid. I think E liked them too but I doubt that they are crave worthy for her. But they are delicious. Sure, they are fat filled and kinda decedent but perfect for a chilly day dinner. I think pairing it with a crisp light salad would be lovely and very complimentary.

When I called my Mom back to give her the full report on how the enchiladas, she mentioned that the original recipe is a James Beard creation called “Suisse Enchiladas”.
I don’t know about the original recipe but here is the one I got from my Mom, enjoy!

8 Flour tortillas (I used 12)
3 Chicken Breast or a whole roasted Chicken (I used 5 chicken quarters)
Tomato sauce, enough to moisten (I used tomato paste thinned out with water b/c it’s what I had on hand)
1 package chopped Frozen Spinach
1 medium onion, chopped (I omitted b/c E doesn’t like onion)
3 cups whipping cream (I used half &half and 2% milk again b/c it’s what I had on hand)
3 chicken teaspoons of chicken granules
A generous slice of jack cheese for every whole enchilada

Step by Step
1) Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add chicken, spinach and just enough tomato sauce to moist but not be wet and simmer 20 minutes.
2) Heat cream gently; dissolve chicken granules in cream.
3) Fill tortillas with chicken mixture, roll and place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with a non-stick coating.
4) Pour cream over.
5) 375 degrees for 20 minutes or less.
6.) Put cheese slices on top and bake until golden and bubbly.

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