Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Multi-tasking up a Storm

I always thought of myself as pretty low-key.  Then when I made that comment to a friend and the response I got was a choking sound followed by peals of laughter, I thought... well, maybe not.  I do know that I'm at my best when I'm busy.  And the busier I get, the more laser-focused I am.

Not to be daunted by the 500 tasks all needing to be completed this week, I decided to do a little multi-tasking by making a simple dinner and chicken stock for the soup I'm making this weekend (more on that later).  Homemade chicken stock is so very easy to make and tastes 500x better than the canned stuff.  Not that I don't use the canned stuff.  I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, Offspring 2 had a big grin on her face when she wandered into the kitchen and saw a dish of enchiladas about to go into the oven.  Sometimes making a teen happy is no easy feat.  I'll consider it a victory.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

1 rotisserie chicken
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 - 3 Tbs. diced green chiles (canned)
2/3 - 3/4 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar/jack blend this time), divided
10 - 12 corn tortillas*
1 32 oz. can enchilada sauce
Crumbled cotija cheese (optional)

Heat oven to 375º.

Heat the olive oil in a small pan, then add the onions and garlic.  Sauté for a couple of minutes and then add the cumin.  Continue to sauté just until the onions are soft.

In a large bowl, shred the meat from the chicken.  Keep the carcass for the stock!

Add the onion mixture, chiles, sour cream and 1 cup of shredded cheese.  Mix thoroughly. **

(You could also add a little cilantro to this mixture, but I'm one of those people it doesn't agree with, taste-wise, so I leave it out).

Pour just enough of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a glass baking dish to cover.  Fill each tortilla with a heaping spoon of the chicken mixture and place it seam-side down in the dish.  You can pack these in very tightly.

Cover the tortillas with more sauce (You may have more than what you need in the can.  You want to give them a good coating of it but not have them swimming in the stuff).  Cover with remaining cheese (including the cotija if using).  Bake for about 30 minutes, or just until it is bubbly, and the cheese is melted and golden.

*Note:  Rather than buying a nationally branded tortilla, I use a local brand sold in independent stores.  They seem to not only taste better, but they're not as dry and don't tend to fall apart when you roll them.

**Note:  I don't add salt to this because I find that between the chicken and the enchilada sauce, there's usually more than enough, but you may need to adjust seasoning accordingly.

Now for that chicken carcass we were talking about...

Homemade Chicken Stock

Carcass (including skin) of one rotisserie chicken
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
1/2 large onion, cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, including leaves, cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
5 - 6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 Tbs. whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
1/4 cup white wine
2 quarts water

Toss all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Pour in wine and water.  Bring to boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for about an hour.  Cool in pan and then strain at least twice through a small-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.  Pour into storage containers.  Freeze if desired.

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