Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Tequila a mockingbird

I’m thinking of opening a restaurant that serves only enchiladas. Would you be up for it? I would.

I made a batch of this Mexican staple recently and I promise you, I could have eaten them every day for the rest of my life. Overly dramatic? You wouldn’t think that if you had tasted them.

The picture doesn’t really do it justice either but taste-wise, it was astonishing. Packed full of chicken and oozing with a punchy sauce, the individual wraps were removed and served with yet more spring onions, big dollops of sour cream and lashings of chipotle sauce. It’s the kind of food you can lose yourself in completely, the flavours combining so perfectly it’s almost a religious experience. I’ll admit here and now, expletives were uttered, breathlessly and with lots of emotion.

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Even the cold left-overs were immense the next morning with a few tortilla chips for scraping purposes – waste not, want not. I just couldn’t help myself and it was then that I wondered (not for the first time) about opening an eatery of some description. I’m not entirely dim though. I realise I couldn’t just cook enchiladas and sell those alone to my rosy-cheeked and glassy-eyed appreciative patrons. There would have to be tortilla chips and beer also.

OK, OK… I’ll do tacos and burritos other things as well. Calm down.

What would I call it though? Tequila Mockingbird? Juan in a million? Posh Spice? Any further suggestions can be written on the back of a fiver and posted my way.

Anyway, this recipe for Michael’s Majestic Mexican Enchiladas works in three stages, the Sauce, the Chicken and the Wrapping.

It’s only a little bit labour intensive but the result is well worth the effort. Alternatively, I can take orders (at the right price).

INGREDIENTS (THE SAUCE)
• 1 tbsp of olive oil
• 1 onion, finely diced
• 1 red chilli, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, grated
• 1 tsp of smoked paprika
• 1 tsp of chilli powder
• 1 tsp of oregano
• half a tsp of cumin
• 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
• 1 tbsp of honey
• 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
• salt and pepper

THE CHICKEN
• 1 small chicken
• smoked paprika
• olive oil
• 1 large onion, sliced
• 1 yellow or red pepper, sliced
• 1 small red chilli
• two tbsps of olive oil
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tin of mixed beans (you could also use a tin of kidney beans)
• flour tortillas
• lots of cheddar cheese, grated

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THE PLAN
Start by roasting your chicken. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and as that’s happening, brush the whole chicken with olive oil and then liberally sprinkle on smoked paprika until completely covered. Add a touch of seasoning for good measure. Retire to the oven UNCOVERED for the allotted time (probably about an hour and a half).

THE SAUCE
Now make the Sauce. Add the olive oil to a sauce pan and sweat the onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute or so. Dump in the spices (oregano, chilli powder, smoked paprika and cumin) and stir it around for a minute – this releases all the flavours.
Dump in the tomatoes, the honey, the balsamic and season with salt and pepper and simmer until reduced and thickened (about ten minutes). Use a handblender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

THE CHICKEN
In a large frying pan add the olive oil and dump in the sliced onions and peppers. Stir fry for two or three minutes and then add the garlic and the chilli. Give it another minute and then remove from the heat.
By this stage your chicken should be cooked (when the juices run clear). Remove both breasts, leaving the blackened crispy skin on and chop with a sharp knife. Dismantle the rest of the chicken and add the whole lot to the frying pan with two thirds of sauce you made earlier and the tin of beans. Stir is all up for a minute and then check the seasoning. Set aside.

THE WRAPPING
You’ll need a suitable casserole dish which will fit the wraps snugly but the idea is: You put a few spoonfuls of the chicken mix into each wrap, roll them up and lay them tightly side by side. Keep going until you run out of space (or ingredients).
Pour the rest of the sauce over the wraps and top with lots of grated cheddar. Retire the enchiladas to the oven (same temp) and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and your patience it at an end.
Serve up with the spring onions, some sour cream, maybe sliced avocados and ideally, a crisp Mexican beer with a slice of lime therein.
Fancy opening a restaurant now?
Back of the queue.

Chicken enchiladas with a moreish tomato sauce, sharp cheddar and spring onions. Oh yeah!

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