Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas With Spinach and Mushrooms

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Delicioso! You guys know I am a fan of Rick Bayless and his food, and these delicious enchiladas are no exception. This is a great recipe for using a rotisserie chicken or leftover roasted chicken. As for many of the ingredients, they are perhaps already sitting in your pantry and refrigerator. The only “exotic” grocery item would be the tomatillos. If you are unfamiliar with tomatillos, here are a few informative tidbits: Tomatillos are in the same nightshade family as the tomato (they are also called Mexican green tomatoes). They resemble small green tomatoes, but with a papery husk. Choose tomatillos that are firm, with dry, tight-fitting husks. Opt for small tomatillos, they have more flavor than large ones. Simply remove the husks and wash before using. This reminds me, I have a few delicious salsas with tomatillos that I need to post this summer! Anyway, back to the enchiladas. The combination of chicken (which is optional) mushrooms, onions, and spinach is made even tastier when wrapped in a warm tortilla and topped with tomatillo sauce and cotija cheese.  ¡Buen provecho!

from: Mexican Everyday
serves: 4

3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 serranos or 1 jalapeño stemmed, and quartered
1 ½ pounds (10-12 medium) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, olive oil or bacon drippings (divided) plus some for tortillas
2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
10 ounces (about 10 cups) spinach, stems removed
1 cup shredded cooked chicken from a rotisserie (optional)
12 corn tortillas
3 tablespoons Mexican crema, sour cream, or crème fraiche
½ teaspoon sugar
1 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like feta or goat

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Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. With a food processor or blender running, drop in the garlic and chiles one piece at a time, letting each piece get finely chopped before adding the next. Add the tomatillos and cilantro; process until smooth.

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Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil or drippings in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the puree and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick tomato sauce, about 7 minutes. (The more you cook down the base, the richer and sweeter the sauce will be.) Add the chicken broth and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

While the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a very large skillet over medium-high. Add the mushrooms and cook stirring frequently for a couple of minutes, until they begin to brown. Add about three-quarters of the onion (reserve the rest for garnish) and continue cooking for another minute or two, until the onion looks translucent. Add the spinach and optional chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or so, until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and cover to keep warm.

Lay out the tortillas on a baking sheet and brush lightly on both sides with oil, then stack in twos. Slide the tortillas in the oven and bake just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and stack them in a single pile; cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.

Stir the sour cream into the sauce. Taste and season with salt. Holding a tortilla by the edge, dip most of it into the sauce, then lay it on a plate. Spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons filling down the center, roll up and lay seam side down on a dinner plate. Repeat with 2 more tortillas, arranging them on the same dinner plate. Douse the enchiladas with about ¼ cup of the warm sauce, sprinkle with a quarter of the crumbled cheese and garnish with some of the reserved onion and cilantro. Assemble the rest of the servings, and carry to the table immediately.

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Variations and Simplifications

*skip the vegetable filling and use only shredded cooked chicken (about 2 cups or ½ of a rotisserie chicken)
*use store-bought tomatillo salsa (about 4 cups) blend until smooth, bring to a boil, add the sour cream and check the seasonings. You may want to add extra sour cream and/or sugar.
*substitute cubed ham for the chicken


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