I'm the first to admit that my knowledge of Mexican cooking is less than Mexican 101. Encilada to me was a cool name that I liked to say but didn't really have an emotional connection to. I also had no real smell recognition for enchiladas. It's not that I didn't want to, it's more that the opportunity just didn't somehow present itself.
I have a friend named Eury (unusual and beautiful name don't you think), pronouned YooRee. She's also quite shy and really very lovely.
Eury's from Mexico and always tells me about the foods she grew up on and we share food stories often. I've introduced her to the marvels of the kosher style deli; most certainly not something that would roll off her lips when thinking of what to make for dinner.
Pictured above, you have the essentials; good rye bread, incredible smoked turkey, cole slaw and potato knishes.
Today it was Eury's turn to teach me something in our cross cultural exchange. She wanted me to try her Encillada Verde; she picked up all the ingredients and brought them over.
We had a good laugh trying to figure out how hot the chilis would be. When I looked up arbol chilli I realized I was in for heat; a relative to the cayenne pepper was sure to create some perspiration.
3 Arbol Chilis (jalapeno is fine also)
1 clove garlic
1 thick slice of onion
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of cooking water
handful of chopped cilantro (optional but adds great flavour)
6 corn tortillas
In a medium sized pot, bring tomatillos and chilis to a boil and turn down to medium cooking just long enough to allow both to soften (approximately 8 minutes). Remove the stems of the chilis.
Place tomatillos, water and chilis in a blender with sliced onion and garlic and blend until smooth.
In small pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and a thin slice of onion - just long enough to release flavour. Add blended salsa to seasoned oil and bring to a boil.
Microwave corn tortillas just long enough to soften (20 seconds)
Layer queso fresco (or whatever filling you chose)** and fold over tortillo
Place filled tortillas in lightly oiled saucepan and heat long enough to slightly crisp the tortilla and allow for the cheese to warm. Queso fresco is great cheese since it's made from raw milk and doesn't melt quickly.
Add cilantro to salsa verde and pour over tortilla to coat well.
We started with a little kosher deli, went to Mexican and then ended up with old country blueberry buns. Does life get any better than this?
For me, this was such a fun experience and a wonderful learning. There was salsa verde left over that Eury suggested I freeze for the next time. Sorry, it didn't last long enough. I'm hooked and can't wait for my next Mexican cooking class.