Chicken Enchiladas are now a part of my life and they can be a part of your life too

chicken enchilada
Once a commodity more valuable and/or scarce in my life than unicorn horn shavings or an honest politician, small snippets of time are now starting to make them selves available so in turn I may be able to make a virginal sacrifice and offer it to the gods of Blogland so they may dine on the purest of bloodied spleen, and in turn be appeased… or, just to clear it up for anyone who may be starting to wonder if all of this crazy talk points very clearly to me being in cahoots with the devil, I’ve got five minutes so I’m going to see if I can’t get another damn recipe out there and into the world wide inter web stratosphere.

Today it’s all about the enchiladas.

Well, yesterday it was all about the enchiladas.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I have never made and/or consumed the filled-with-meaty-topped-with-saucy-baked-with-cheesy Mexican tortilla cannelloni known as the enchilada, and let me tell you right now this was going to be the time for me to remedy said issues.

We made our own tortillas but I’m pretty sure store bought will be fine, and I used some left over roasted chicken shredded with some onion, cumin and home made bbq sauce. So use some leftovers, buy a roast chook from the super market or cook a couple of chicken breasts with the mad cooking skills you have gained from the last couple of years you’ve been following this blog. Heck, you don’t even need to use chicken if you don’t have some. Use roast beef or pork or gerbil or whatever protein it is you like to use for the meat component of your dinner*.

And it will be on the table in under an hour, I kid you not…

Shred some chicken and get it a little saucy
Shred some chicken and get it a little saucy

Roll them up and get them in there nice and snug
Roll them up and get them in there nice and snug
Some sauce and cheese to make them feel really good about themselves
Some sauce and cheese to make them feel really good about themselves
And...
And…
Then...
Then…

This...
This…

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS WITH BARBECUE SAUCE AND SHEEP FETA (serves 4)

3-4 cups of shredded chicken. As I said previously, this can be left overs, shop bought or you can cook a couple of chicken breasts to fulfill your needs… well at least get some thing in your belly because as we all know, that eastern European farming website subscription of dubious legality is the only thing that’s going to fulfill your needs…
1 brown onion, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ cup barbecue sauce or enchilada sauce
12 tortillas, there is a recipe here if you want to make your own
1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup sheep feta
Salt and pepper
Coriander, chipotle sauce, fresh lime and avocado and tomato salsa, to serve

• Mix your shredded meat with the onion, cumin, ¼ cup barbecue sauce and a bit of salt and pepper
• Divide meat between the tortillas and roll into something similar to cannelloni or a big fat Cuban cigar
• Place enchiladas side by side in a baking dish so they are nice and snug. Enchiladas are pack animals and really like the warmth of many more enchiladas snuggled in closely, which is very advantageous for you, the consumer
• Top with remaining barbecue sauce and grated cheese and bake at 180-200C for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and tortillas are a little crispy
• Hit those effers with chipotle or jalapeno, crumbled feta and coriander. Serve with avocado and tomato salsa
• Be happy that enchiladas can now be a part of your life too

And I will give you a recipe for Barbecue sauce really soon…

*Vegetarians/vegans need not write in to remind me that not everyone believes in eating meat and that animals and humans can live a harmonious existence. I know all about it. I’m just trying to get through my time on this giant rock with a smile on my face and a chuckle in my belly. Sometimes I think a lack of meat can ruin a person’s sense of humour

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)… Breakfast Quesadilla

christmas ham quesadilla
The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)

In our humble abode, post Christmas lunches, dinners and breakfasts are ofttimes (always) dictated by Christmas leftovers. There is always a tonne of cooked meats to get through as each year we seem to cook for ourselves plus a traveling troupe of carnie sex slaves… but the carnies never come… next year maybe.

Christmassy looking salad/salsa is the way to go
Christmassy looking salad/salsa is the way to go

Do not cry for us though, as Christmas leftovers are not a cruel and harsh dictator like say, Josef Stalin, Saddam Hussein or Tony Abbot. No. Christmas leftovers are a kisser of small children and a friend to the elderly. They are joyous and compassionate in dictatorship, feeding us ham and other goodies galore, and kind enough to give my tastebuds a friendly reach-around, lubing them up for the ménage-au-trois that would take place in my mouth.

As an ode to these tasty, leftover inspired meals I will do a little series of posts of what I do with my ham and hopefully help you to do something different with yours too. And with a title as clever as this one I don’t think I can go wrong (although I do need to credit Jennee with the smart title. As much as I did want to claim it as my own I think we all know has both the beauty and the smart brains in this relationship).

Now that is just about ready to get the hell into my belly
Now that is just about ready to get the hell into my belly

So without further adieu I will let my fingers take over for now, gently caressing the keys of my laptop as they make consensual love to produce the magical baby that is these words.

Bahahahaha…

At least I gave you something to read, eh?

Now that may not be the prettiest looking thing in the world, but it was damn tasty
Now that may not be the prettiest looking thing in the world, but it was damn tasty

CHRISTMAS QUESADILLA (serves 4)

8 tortillas
A large handful of ham, chopped
A normal sized handful of chopped tomato, red onion and herbs from the garden. The red and green motif keeps it looking nice and Christmassy too
A handful whatever cheese you have lying around
Fried eggs and jalapeño relish to serve

• Divide the ham between four tortillas. Top with a little of the salad/salsa mix, then cheese and then another tortilla
• Fry in a lightly oiled pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes each side. Be careful when you flip these puppies as they do have a tendency to spew out into the pan. In hindsight, it may be a better idea to just have ham and cheese in the quesadilla and then put the tomato salsa thing on top when they’re done. You choose…
• When quesadilla is done top with a fried egg and jalapeño relish if you’re keen

A Tex-Mex feast starring my old friends, the Chicken Mole and Slow Cooked Briskett

The guys... hanging out... warming up for the party
The guys… hanging out… warming up for the party

It’s has been said that there are two things that are certain in this life we live;
1. Death
2. Taxes
3. A Tex-Mex feast of large proportions if you stay at our house for more than a day or two
4. And my lack of appropriate shills needed to do math

My Uncle Rob and Aunty Lizzie were fortunate enough to stay with us recently and, as they hit the “few day stay” bracket, a Tex-Mex feast did indeed eventuate.

We got our finest crockery out, and by finest crockery I mean it may have been vogue in 1978 but we’re still using it now because we think it makes us look pretty cool and shit. Whether there is any truth in the concept that old plates may us look cool I know not. But we were cooking a Tex-Mex feast, no doubt about it.

That’s really nice, isn’t it? We’re nice people, you know…

With out further adieu, and with no beating around the proverbial bush – a task I feel is best left up to Ron Jeremy and his band of merry 80’s porn stars, here is a recipe for my shredded chicken Mole, a must for any table that is supporting a Tex-Mex feast…

That brisket spent quite a number of hours hanging out with little wisps of smoke from the coals of the old hardwood that burns beneath
That brisket spent quite a number of hours hanging out with little wisps of smoke from the coals of the old hardwood that burns beneath

It is safe to say I am well and truly addicted to cooking on this puppy
It is safe to say I am well and truly addicted to cooking on this puppy
Some friends for the chicken, brisket and beans
Some friends for the chicken, brisket and beans
Everyone getting amongst it
Everyone getting amongst it
Time to get in my belly
Time to get in my belly

CHICKEN MOLE POBLANO (for 10-12 as part of a banquette)

2kg chicken breast
4 cloves
2 cinnamon quills
80g Mexican chocolate (if you can’t get hold of it use 1 tablespoon cocoa powder)
2x 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock or water

the almond paste

2 corn tortillas, grilled or roasted with a little oil until brown
80g raisins or sultanas
80g almonds, roasted
¼ cup pepitas, roasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, roasted
1 tablespoon coriander seed, roasted and ground
4 cloves garlic
4 dried long red chillis, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
1 cup water

• Blitz ingredients for almond paste until it nice and pasty like your chefs’ tan
• Fry paste off in a little oil until you are starting to detect delicious aromas with your nose. Yep. I’m afraid your nose is in charge of this one
• Add all other ingredients, except chicken, and chuck some salt and pepper in there too. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, for 30 minutes
• While sauce is cooking roast chicken breast in 180C oven for 15 or so minutes, until just cooked. Once cooked, shred chicken apart using two forks
• Add chicken to the sauce and check seasoning
• Serve it up with a heap of other shit such as slow cooked brisket, chilli beans, pickled jalapeno slaw, brown rice salad, guacamole, feta, charred salsa picante, jalapeno relish, natural yoghurt or sour cream and home made or shop bought tortillas

The Pork Taco Challenge

pork taco
Recently my friend Dana at I’ve Got Cake challenged me to a cook-off of an old school classic with a bit of new school flair. A bit of the old “take a dish everyone knows and loves and make it a little bit our own”. Well, at least that’s what I think we’re doing. I didn’t really understand (or even fully read) the brief… was there even a brief? I do recall the phrase “there are no rules” being in there somewhere… or maybe I just dreamt that one too. We are posting this at the same time, yes, that was definitely in the brief!

Dana had thrown the gauntlet. And by that I mean I goaded her into it like a little brother, running down the street and taunting her every second of the way until she finally submitted and said I could play with her Barbie dolls and Californian Vacation doll house. Pulling her hair and, in later pre-pubescencey, the strap of her trainer bra.

I seriously would’ve made a great younger brother. Seriously.

Sometimes I think Dana likes conversing with me because I am like a weird red-bearded, skinny assed, white boy, interweb version of the younger brother she never had… or maybe she does have a younger brother, I don’t know. She does swear at me and says she hates me a fair bit though…

So what could I do to the humble pork taco to make it my own? Make the special kind of love to it down by the fire? Marry it in a Las Vegas cathedral ceremony conducted by a fat gay man in sunglasses (or maybe it was Elvis?)? Or force a Street Fighter-esque three hit combo of my favourite pork products into my face via this little rolled corn edible plate?

I’m going for the three hit combo, don’t be doubting. And I shall cook it on the fire, eat myself fat enough to be the next Elvis and be very gay about the whole situation, with out so much as a fashionable jacket (or something else a girl would wear) on my person, but just damn happy (Happy is what gay used to mean, you know?). See what I did there?… I didn’t think so…

These things were good. Really good. I was caught a little off guard by my family’s sudden embracing of the blood sausage and their forth with consumption of a good percentage of it, as normally I get to eat the blood sausage around here and no, that is not code for anything – just a comment about a grown mans’ love for the black pud.

I would also recommend giving the home made tortillas a try. They’re well worth the effort!

PS if you want to have a look at what Dana came up with (you should because it’s going to be funny and delicious, I don’t mind telling you) you will be able you see that right here.

This is called fore-play around here. Pork belly, morcilla and chorizo, and tomato and onion charring up for the salsa
This is called fore-play around here. Pork belly, morcilla and chorizo, and tomato and onion charring up for the salsa
Damn sexy
Damn sexy
This was sooooo damn good
This was sooooo damn good
When you make you own tacos aint nobody going to deny you're the boss
When you make you own tacos aint nobody going to deny you’re the boss
I really wish I could take better photos. I really do
I really wish I could take better photos. I really do
Pretty grass
Pretty grass. I gaurentee Dana’s photos will be a heap better than this

PLENTY OF PORK TACOS (for 4)

400g pork belly, sliced into 3cm thick pieces
2 morcilla, black pudding or other kind of ethnic blood sausage
2 smoked chorizo sausage
1 chipotle chilli, if you like it hot, very finely chopped
tacos, salsa picante, cabbage & apple ‘slaw dressed with a little vinegar, radish, sheeps feta, coriander and lime wedges, to serve

• Cook the meats just as you would normally cook those meats. Just remember the pork belly is going to take a lot longer than the sausages are they are already cooked. That’s some quality free advice right there
• Once cooked to your liking chop it all up. Get two knives out and do it like a crazy Asian chef if that makes you feel good about yourself. Chuck the chipotle in there too
• That’s it
• Get it on the table and make sure you get yourself a good heap of the morcilla before your kids get to it!

SOFT TACOS (you best believe I made my own)

3 cups masa harina flour
400(ish) ml hot water

• In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is dry add more hot water
• Cover dough tightly with cling wrap (plastic film) and allow to stand for 30 minutes. If it dries out while resting, sprinkle with more water
• Preheat a frying pan to medium-high.
• Divide dough into 20 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of baking paper
• Place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more and then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Wrap tortillas with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

A Mexi feast that would make a Mexican proud… possibly… i don’t know any Mexicans I can ask…

This is the Mexi Fiesta we served at work. A photo of the domestic version is down below
This is the Mexi Fiesta we served at work. A photo of the domestic version is down below

Recently, at my place of paid employment, I cooked a Mexican fiesta for anyone and everyone to try… providing they had a burro for transportation, a fake big black moustache and the fare of six silver pesos to pay their way.

 

After a day of sending out feast after feast after proud gringo Mexicano feast, I came to the conclusion that it would be silly, nay, down right irresponsible of me to not consume this same damn tasty looking spread of Mexican influenced treats for my own dinner that evening. A quick call was placed to my darling Jennee to determine if she was conducive to the idea. Upon hearing her reply in the negative, followed by a heap of other dribble that I missed due to the fact I had stopped listening and went to my special place where I was definitely eating a Mexican feast for my evening meal, I decided I WOULD BE be eating a Mexi feast all of my own because I was bloody well cooking the dinner and I am the boss of this house and… and… and Jennee could have some too if she was extra nice… or even just if she wanted to eat some because my dream bubble has burst and I have come crashing back through the walls of my dream world, all covered in bubbly juice – bubbly afterbirth if you will, into the reality that Jennee is the boss of me and she is very nice and I should start digging upwards sometime soon…

 

So in the true spirit of the theme I smuggled my dinner out of the kitchen under the dress of a pregnant woman, and then quickly got it into the back of an old F100 truck which sped away to safety…

 

We also had sangria with our Mexican Fiesta because a Mexican fiesta without sangria is not a Mexican fiesta at all. It actually becomes null and void. It becomes consciously uncoupled (yep) from the glorious heights it could have reached. So now that I have segued Gweneth’s quote of the year into that story I feel my work here is done. Time to move onto the recipe!

 

Pork and beans...
Pork and beans…
plus tortilla...
plus tortilla…
plus a bit of all of this other stuff...
plus a bit of all of this other stuff…
equals happy Grazza!
equals happy Grazza!

 

PORK WITH KIDNEY BEANS AND ROAST CAPSICUM (as part of a fiesta for 6 or so. Or a cracking dinner for one big fat bastard… I’d do it)
500g left over pork shoulder roast (or braise 500g pork shoulder on a low heat with a sliced onion, salt and pepper and 1 cup water for 1.5-2 hours or until tender), shredded with a fork
1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh jalepeno chilli, sliced
2 fire roasted red capsicum (make your own or get them from a jar if you’re feeling lazy), diced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons mexi-seasoning (recipe follows)
2 400g tins kidney beans
¼ cup olive oil
A handful of fresh coriander and sliced radish to serve
• Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent
• Add everything else except pork and beans, and cook out over low heat for 10 minutes
• Add pork and beans and cook for a further 10 minutes, adding a splash of water (or pork juices if you were smart enough to keep them) if it starts to get a bit dry. For dry beans are like… um… well, other dry things that shall not be discussed on these pages now or ever
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
• Garnish and serve
• Serve with a pile of other mexi goodies. No, I am not referring to a cheap Mexican rip off of the classic English comedy from the ‘80s, The Goodies. Although I would be really keen to see it if it does exist… But I am referring to dishes like beef ribs with mole sauce, salsa picante, charred corn rice, pickled jalapeño ‘slaw, yoghurt (I always have yoghurt with my Mexican) and tortillas to make a little Mexican sandwich of mucho goodness. Ole!

MEXI SEASONING

1/2 tablespoon ground dried chilli

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons whole cumin, roasted and ground

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday.

Last night I got enough beer into my belly to give me one hell of a head ache. I quite literally feel like I did get older last night. The boys were up at 5:30am (yeah, there’s a 5:30am now) hiding my presents which in turn meant that I was up shortly after, questioning what ungodly soul would make a 5:30 in the morning on a mans birthday. One’s birthday should include a clause that omits times like that and possibly moves straight onto a 9:30 or even 10:00. Was it the Myans? I told myself right there and then that I would investigate further…

I guess I should start at the beginning.

Yesterday I invited a few friends over for dinner and quite possibly a drink or two. We cooked an absolute cracker of a meal, and when I say “we”, what I actually mean is that I put the pork in the oven when I left for work. It would be correct to say that even our friend Scotty did more work than me. Jen had him rolling tortillas like a small Mexican grandmother by the time I got home from work, but that’s what you’d expect if you rock up to a birthday dinner at 1:30pm… at least 3 hours early, right? Claiming ignorance, or stupidity, or something? But the best I could figure is this was only going to benefit my situation. With the preparation for the meal all but complete, I could get started on a crispy cold birthday drink. On with the day.

It was my birthday and I felt not even a small urge to shed a tear.

And that, my friends, is where the details start to get a little sketchy. Photo diary from here I think.

Greg tried to camouflage    himself with the table cloth. Chameleon skills
A lovely afternoon for some corn chips and salsa. Greg tried to camouflage himself with the table cloth. Chameleon skills
Too many good things on one table; 12 hour shoulder of pork with beer and spices, chicken mole, red rice, corn with cheese and chilli powder, home made tortillas, guacamole, pickled 'slaw, salsas, pickled chilli... some recipes will follow
Too many good things on one table; 12 hour shoulder of pork with beer and spices, chicken mole, red rice, corn with cheese and chilli powder, home made tortillas, guacamole, pickled ‘slaw, salsas, pickled chilli… some recipes will follow
Emma is going to be happy with this one. She's been keen for a mention/photo/song dedication on this blog for a while. She's on the left with her "I'm in the photo" face on
Emma is going to be happy with this one. She’s been keen for a mention/photo/song dedication on this blog for a while. She’s on the left with her “I’m in the photo” face on
There it is folks
There it is folks

SAMSUNG CSC

Finish the night with a croquembouche so every body knows you're a boss
Finish the night with a croquembouche so every body knows you’re a boss

Right now all I have left are the memories of a swell night of eating, drinking and all round merriment, a cracking headache and a brand spanking new MacBook. So I’m going to go out on a limb and see if I can predict how the day shall go from here; I will lay in bed or possibly on the couch. No, let’s do bed today and then I can really look like a little girl, I will watch some cooking shows, eat more of last nights dinner, drink some coconut water because I am convinced it has the power to make me feel better, have a little snoozey, try to write some witty words that will camouflage themselves cunningly inside my brain so I can’t find them, then I shall repeat this scenario until I come good. Hopefully that will be today. The big problem for me seems to be that as soon as I start to feel a little better, a little more like I could possibly conduct a legible dialogue, or maybe that I should get up and go and give those carnies a damn good flogging, the bloody thing is back. BAM! In the face like a bitch. Like the woman scorned she demonstrates her wrath upon me, and like a bad acid trip it just keeps coming back around again. And it’s only bloody 10am.

I truly have to get on with my tasks for the day…

But before I do that I think that I’ll check my facey, see how popular I am and all that and this is what greets me. A message from my mate Jaz. It made me smile and it is what I shall leave you with today; “Happy birthday Graeme! I’m glad I know you because you’re Graeme, but also because you’re ginger and its my goal in life to know as many gingers as I can. Thanks for being my friend and being ginger hehe”…