Chow Bella

Stacked Cheese and I'itoi Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

Lately, in this In Season series, we're taking a look at what I take home from Crooked Sky Farms each week to see what I've done with my CSA share, or part share. This week I'm using dried chiles and i'itoi onions.

Normally, I only share recipes that look and read pretty simple so that I might encourage many of you to make it at home. This will be one of those recipes that takes a bit of time and effort, but it'll be worth it. I still want you to make this if only to know how it's done. Warning: this sauce is spicy but so flavorful.

Stacked Cheese Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce Makes: a lot - enough for 6 - 8 servings of enchiladas (I like to freeze the extra for future cravings)

6 anaheim chile peppers (or guajillo or pasilla or any combination) Water to cover 2 cloves crushed garlic 1 onion, chopped 4 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock (or the chile's rehydrating liquid) 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin Salt to taste

20 corn tortillas (12 for the dinner plate, 8 to make chips) vegetable oil

8 eggs

Shredded or crumbled cheese (cotija, cheddar, or jack would be great) 3 i'itoi onions (or green onions) chopped fine

Before you start the sauce, you might as well be making yourself and guests some snacks. In my home we always make chips with our corn tortillas no matter what meal we're making with them.

Put about a ½ an inch of oil in a high sided pan over medium high heat. Place a tortilla one at a time into the hot oil and fry until crisp, flipping once or twice. Lift up with tongs and let excess oil drain back into the pan. Place the chip on a paper towel lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt while it's still shiny. Let cool and break into chip sized pieces or just chomp on a the whole round chip while no one is watching. Task someone to make these while you make the sauce. Or just pay attention and you can do it yourself. It's not too challenging, although you'll probably have some toasty ones.

I have a ristra of dried chiles that I use for my crushed red chile flakes throughout the year, but also for making enchilada sauce. With scissors, clip off 6 chiles at the top of the stems. Mine are always dusty, so I give them a quick rinse under the faucet, dry well, and toast in a 400 degree oven until I can smell them. Believe me, you'll know; it'll be wonderfully fragrant in your kitchen.

Remove the toasted chiles, place them in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and stick a plate on top to keep them submerged. Let them rehydrate for about 30 minutes.

Consider putting on gloves for this next part. With a sharp knife, cut off the stems of the rehydrated soft and pliable chiles. Make a slit down one side of each chile. Flatten each chile and with the knife's edge angled and scrape off the seeds and veins. Once cleaned, place the rehydrated chiles aside or have them wait in the blender.

In a saute pan over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic until soft in the butter. Once soft, sprinkle in the flour, cumin and oregano. Let cook a minute or two to cook off the raw flour taste and to toast the spice and herbs. Scrape this mixture into the blender with the chiles, top off with the stock, and blend at least 2 minutes until completely smooth and velvety. Pour the sauce back into the pan and bring to a simmer until thickened. Season to taste with salt and keep warm until you're ready to assemble the meal.

This is a good time to start dipping the chips into the enchilada sauce that tastes worlds better than cracking open a canned one. This homemade sauce is so rich and smoky. It's much more flavorful and comforting than others. Plus, you did it yourself.

Poach the eggs by filling a wide pan with sides about 3" tall with water about ½ way up. Bring the water to a simmer and salt it generously so that it tastes good. Carefully crack the eggs into the simmering water making sure to fish out any shells with one of the egg shell halves (try it, it works). Let simmer for about 3 minutes making sure the water doesn't boil too furiously. Carefully flip the egg over with a slotted spoon if you like them more cooked and remove once you have it as done as you like. Set the eggs back in the water once you've turned the water off. Let them sit in the warm (not hot water) to wait until you've flash fried some tortillas.

Once you've made your chips, you can start flash frying your tortillas. That just means you put the tortilla in the oil for just a few seconds until the tortilla is pliable and delicious. Keep warm stacked up on a paper towel lined plate. Season them with salt as you go if you like, but I don't.

Now it's time to assemble.

You can dip the flash fried tortillas in the enchilada sauce, or spoon it over, if you prefer. Layer up two tortillas like lasagna but with cheese and green onions inside. Top with the egg (which you could fry, too, but I think poaching is easier when you're cooking for a crowd), and you're done. Hit the egg with freshly cracked pepper since it's pretty and adds some flavor, but you don't have to do that.

Sit down and enjoy this with friends.

My beverage of choice as of late (that I would recommend with this) is strawberry lemonade made from your friends' lemons from their backyard trees (that's what I did) poured over a smashed/muddled organic strawberry from California. Such a treat. Sort of like Torta de los Reyes -- but at home.


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Jennifer Woods
Contact: Jennifer Woods

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