Please Excuse Us While We Devour These Tex-Mex Enchiladas
If you’ve spent any time in Texas, you’ve likely eaten Tex-Mex, the more-is-more mash-up of Texan and Mexican cuisines that came to life in the early 1900s and is known for gooey enchiladas, sizzling fajitas, and oversize frozen margaritas. The Lone Star State’s countless Tex-Mex restaurants are worth a trip to the South alone, but you can also bring the soulful cooking style to your own home with Tex-Mex ($30) by Ford Fry and Jessica Dupuy. Flipping through the colorful cookbook, which teaches you to fix everything from tacos to tequila cocktails, feels almost as comforting as diving into a giant bowl of chile con queso.
Tex-Mex is a feel-good reminder of the nights we’ve all spent with friends and family over salt-rimmed margaritas and never-ending bowls of tortilla chips. Its boldly designed pages are graced with rich refried beans, melt-in-your-mouth meat dishes, and just about every feasible combination of tortillas and cheese (including Velveeta, because even chefs adore how smoothly it melts). But the best part of all is that it’s approachable. As long as you have a kitchen stocked with chiles, onion, and lots of cheese, you can make it yourself. Fire up your stove tonight to make cheesy enchiladas Suizas, smothered in a zippy tomatillo sauce.
On just about every Tex-Mex menu, chicken enchiladas with verde sauce is an option. The tangy flavor of the tomatillos in the sauce is a perfect match for the corn tortillas and shredded chicken. Enchiladas Suizas, so named for the Swiss immigrants to Mexico who introduced dairy farming to the country, include sour cream, which adds a richness to the enchiladas and makes them decadent.
1. Place an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven to broil. Spray an 8 x 12-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the canned tomatillos, green chiles, poblanos, onion, fresh tomatillos, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, salt, and cloves. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables have softened, 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture until smooth. (Alternatively, carefully transfer the mixture to a regular blender and purée until smooth, then return it to the pan.) Stir in the sour cream to combine. Taste and add more salt as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep the sauce warm.
3. Fill a Dutch oven or large heavy pot with oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to 350°F.
4. Using tongs, dip a few tortillas at a time into the hot oil until softened, 3 or 4 seconds. Stack them on a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
5. Place a softened tortilla on a clean work surface, spoon 2 tablespoons of the chicken down the center, and roll up to enclose the chicken. Place the rolled tortilla seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and chicken. Top the enchiladas with the sauce and sprinkle with the Chihuahua cheese.
6. Broil until the cheese is golden and bubbling, about 5 minutes.
7. Top with the queso fresco and cilantro and serve warm.
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(Reprinted with permission from Tex-Mex Cookbook: Traditions, Innovations, and Comfort Foods from Both Sides of the Border, by Ford Fry, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.)