Sunday, August 20, 2006

Fiery-Foods: Hatch Green Chile Sauce and Calabacitas (Creamy Corn and Zucchini)

Every year there's a shipment of green chiles that come from Hatch, New Mexico. They get roasted in giant roasters and sold in bulk. And then everyone makes delicious recipes in celebration. I wanted to participate at home this year since Tex-Mex cooking has become so close to my heart, so I made a green chile dinner in honor of the yearly chile festival.

First I decided on some green chile chicken enchiladas. The mild chiles are perfectly matched with the delicate chicken, and these enchiladas were a hit. To go with them I served a mixture of zucchini and corn called calabacitas that is popular in New Mexico.

Hatch Green Chile Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup roasted Hatch chiles, peeled and chopped
4 small tomatillos, husk removed, chopped
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Black pepper

Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add the oil when hot. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until soft, about five minutes. Stir in the flour and blend well. Simmer for a couple of minutes to cook the flour, but make sure that it doesn't brown. Slowly add the broth, while stirring, until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, about fifteen minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups rotisserie chicken, pulled into bit-size pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 roasted Hatch green chiles, peeled and chopped
12 yellow corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
Green chile sauce
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (pepper jack or queso blanco cheese is also okay)

Spray a 13x9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix chicken, cream of mushroom soup, and chiles. Set aside. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add tortillas, one at a time, and cook briefly on both sides (about five to ten seconds) until soft. Immediately remove the tortilla to the prepared dish. Spoon chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla and fold both sides over to form a tube. Make sure the seam is on the bottom before moving to the next tortilla. Repeat steps of cooking and stuffing tortillas until all tortillas are in the large dish.

Pour green chile sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Place in hot oven and cook for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Calabacitas (Creamy Corn and Zucchini)

3 zucchini squash, sliced into half-moon shapes
½ cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup roasted Hatch chiles, peeled and chopped
2 cups cooked whole kernel corn
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Sauté the zucchini and onion in the butter until the zucchini is tender. Add the chile, corn, and cream. Simmer the mixture for fifteen to twenty minutes to thicken the sauce. Add the cheese and heat it melts.

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