Satisfy my enchilada craving using a thawed chicken breast, part of a pork shoulder and a poblano that I didn't realize had started to mold until I was already through the checkout at the grocery store. Technique was adapted from a recipe found on What's Cooking, Mexico?.
Hypothesis 1: These enchiladas will be the most incredible enchiladas I've ever had. Poblano peppers are currently tied with serranos for my favorite type of chile pepper. After filling myself with enchiladas, I won't even want to try the Chocolate Eclair Cake (don't judge me! I would normally make it from scratch, but frankly, I'm just not in the mood. I truly doubt the edibility of "whipped topping," but hey, at least they are truthful in not claiming it to be a dairy product) that's setting in the fridge.
Hypothesis 2: Pork is gross.
1/2 lb. chicken breast
1/2 lb. pork shoulder
1 clove garlic
1 poblano pepper
1/2 large yellow onion
2 Tbs. cilanto leaves
2 Tbs. cream
6 corn tortillas
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Place chicken breast and pork shoulder in the bottom of a medium sized saucepan and add just enough water to cover the meat. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Add one clove of garlic (minced or pressed). Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, remove the seeds and veins from the poblano. Chop the poblano, onion and cilantro. Place in food processor (or blender) with 1/2 cup of the broth from the meat and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into the saucepan with the meat.
4. Simmer 20 more minutes.
5. Remove the meat from the water and let it cool.
6. Add cream to the saucepan. Keep the sauce simmering and stir until it begins to thicken. If it's taking too long to thicken, whisk in some cornstarch until it reaches the desired consistency.
7. When the meat has cooled, shred it or chop it into small chunks.
8. In a hot pan with a tiny bit of oil, heat the tortillas until they soften.
9. Fill the tortillas with meat, roll them up and place them seam down in a small baking dish. Cover with the poblano cream sauce and top with shredded cheese.
10. Bake 20 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and the topping has begun to brown. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
While cooking, the kitchen smelled very porky, but even so, I don't think the pork flavor overpowered the chicken. The verdict? I wasn't impressed. As a standalone dish, it wasn't flavorful enough. When I cut the poblano, it was surprisingly hot, but lost all the heat while cooking. The chicken was moist and tender, but the pork was tough.
Discussion and Future Directions
If I were to make this again, I would skip the pork and just use chicken. That would make the texture more consistent and much more tender. I would serve the enchiladas on a plate with cheesy refried beans, spicy rice, lettuce and tomato. That would give more textures and flavors and be a quick way to make it a meal.
The sauce is the heart of the dish. Without a good salsa, enchiladas are just meat and tortillas. Next time, I would add a jalapeño or serrano to the ancho and onion in the blender. Instead of adding the puree back to the saucepan, I would heat it up in a skillet. Then, I would add the cream and season with salt and pepper. I would double the cream, then add milk to keep it light while adding to the quantity. I would keep it simmering and whisk it until it thickened. I would add a tiny bit of the sauce to the meat in each tortilla, then pour the rest over the top. Then, I would sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese before baking.
I've never been a pork lover. I can't say I don't eat pork, because I wouldn't want to live without bacon. This meal has me leaning toward the "pork-is-gross" side. I'm going to keep trying, but something is going to have to be really spectacular to turn me!