Monthly Archives: September 2011

Dos Pollo Enchiladas, Por Favor

Dos Amigos!

If you have read this blog so far you may have noticed a combination of staple dishes from different cuisines. Truth be told, Italian is my favorite to cook, but “Tex-Mex” is in close second. As Jim Gaffigan says: “Mexican food is all the same- tortilla, cheese, meat or vegetables. You just cook it in different ways.” The only flaw with this bit is that he should refer to it as Tex-Mex. Now I don’t know about you, but the above mentioned ingredients are pretty much my favorite things, regardless of how simple the combinations of them can be.

One good thing about Tex-Mex is that you can make it at home on a weekenight, contrary to true Mexican food. REAL Mexican food (not what you get at “The Bell”)  involves things like mole’ that has 20 ingredients in it, takes hours to make and years to perfect. And when was the last time you roasted a quail? Hmmm? When have you made a tres leches cake?  We Americans have actually created so many shortcuts for Mexican food that it, well, is easy. Not to say that this is a bad thing- just different.

I have been making this enchilada recipe for quite some time. I make my own enchilada sauce, and you should too; just remember to get good spices as mentioned in a previous post. Other than that, it pretty much involves throwing the whole thing together and baking it, or you can split up the batch and freeze them (for 2 people, this recipe is perfect for 2 dinners). Another bonus is that I use one of those rotisserie chickens from my local stupermarket.  You can use the breast meat for the enchiladas and the dark meat for say, chicken salad, or just snack while you cook…

Chicken enchiladas: Enough to feed 4

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, breast meat removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 4 oz can of chopped green chiles
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas (8 inchers)
  • 8 oz block of cheddar shredded
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • fresh cillantro for garnish
  • sour cream for garnish 

For the enchilada sauce:

  • 3 Tbls vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbls chili powder
  • 2 Tbls flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 can low sodium chicken broth


Preheat oven to 425. In a skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium low heat. Cook diced onion and green chiles with a pinch of salt and pepper until the onion is slightly softened. Turn the heat off and add the chopped chicken. Stir to combine and set aside to cool.

For the sauce: In a small saucepot, heat oil over medium heat, add in all of the spices and flour at once (pre-measure into a seperate bowl). Stir constantly for 1 minute, the spice/flour mixture will resemble a dark paste. Dump in the chicken broth and whisk until everything combines and there isn’t any lumps of spices. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. Reduce the sauce until it slightly thickens (about 10-15 minutes), then remove from heat.

Assembly: Lay out a tortilla and spread a small small spoonful of the sauce right down the middle. Add some of the chicken/onion/chile mixture next, then the beans and finally some of the cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it seam side down in a lightly greased 9 X 13 baking dish (I use glass). Continue this until you get about 8 enchiladas. You should have sauce and cheese leftover. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray (this makes the tortillas crispy). Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and lower the heat to 350. Drizzle the leftover sauce all over the top of the enchiladas and top with more cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges are slightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cillantro and sour cream.


Don’t be crabby…

Too many smashed fingers from little wooden mallets? Still hungry after an hour of prying miniscule pieces of meat from stubborn shells? Wondering why you are surrounded by a pile of dead carcasses? Well, sounds like you need to put the mallet down and learn how to make some crab cakes!

I’ve been to my share of Maryland crab feasts. Sure, they are great for sitting around socializing and eating other things to fill up on; but lets face it, I want to have a full belly of crab. Maryland blue crab cakes can be made anywhere now, thanks to hand-picked cans of crab meat bought at your local seafood counter. This saves you a ton of time, not to mention the people who pick the crabs are much better at it than you or I (this means less shells to pick out of your teeth).

After spending Labor Day weekend in Baltimore for the Indycar race, the smell of Old Bay spice everywhere I went reminded me it was time to write this post. I am pretty sure they melt the snow and ice on Baltimore roads with Old Bay in the wintertime…

Recipe for Maryland crab cakes with chipotle lime mayo sauce. Good for 4 tennis ball sized cakes.

  • 1/2 lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1/2 lb backfin crab meat
  • 8 Ritz crackers crushed
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbls honey dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbls whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp sri racha hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbls diced chives
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil for basting.

Preheat oven to 450. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a large bowl and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least half an hour to let the flavors get to know each other. Scoop a handful of the mixture, gently form into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Remove crab cakes and drizzle with olive oil. Fire up your broiler and broil the cakes until browned and crusty on top. Sprinkle extra chives on top and serve with chipotle mayo sauce.

Chipotle Mayo Sauce:

  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • juice from half a lime

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth and incorporated.

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