Chicken enchiladas with tomato and guajillo chilli sauce.

Enchiladas stuffed with leftover chicken in a rich Mexican tomato and guajillo chilli pepper sauce. Oven baked and served with tomato and avocado salsa.

This dish is a great way of turning leftover chicken into something really special. Garlic, tomatoes, red pepper, red chilli and guajillo chillies are pan roasted until charred to unlock their deep flavours, then blitzed into a smooth sauce which is mixed with the leftover chicken. The tortillas are brushed with a mixture of a little oil and tomato sauce before baking so that they take on some flavour and to prevent them over crisping or burning. A little of the sauce is also used as a garnish on top of the enchiladas.

A simple yet delicious salsa is made from tomatoes, red chilli, red pepper, avocado, coriander, red onion, lime juice, a little sugar and seasoning. It is important to leave this covered at room temperature for 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to fully develop. It just doesn’t taste as good if its been chilled, like tomatoes in general.

The dish is completed with some sour cream drizzled over the enchiladas, along with a garnish of coriander and lime wedges. I have been to Mexico many times and this takes me back there…..

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Serves two people

Preparation 15-20 minutes, cooking 10-12 minutes (plus time for salsa to develop)

Ingredients and method

For the salsa:

1/2 a red chill – finely chopped, remove seeds (keep for hot)

1/2 a red bell pepper – finely diced

3 tomatoes – diced

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 baby avocado – diced

1 medium size red onion – diced

Good handful coriander – roughly chopped

Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

Salt – to taste

Method: Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, cover bowl and set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This helps the favours combine and gives a far tastier salsa.

For the enchiladas

Approx. 150g leftover/precooked chicken – cut into small pieces or shred

4 corn tortillas – must be corn ones 

3 large garlic cloves – keep skin on (see method)

2 guajillo chillies – if using dried, soak for 45-60 mins then discard water

1/2 red chilli – remove seeds and stalk

1/2 red pepper

3 round tomatoes

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp. coriander leaf, plus a few leafs for garnish

1/4 tsp salt

Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Sour cream – to garnish

Method: Start by dry roasting the pepper, chilli, tomatoes, garlic (keep skin on) and guajillo chilli peppers over a medium high heat. Turn occasionally but the aim here is to dry roast and get some charred colour to bring some deep flavour to the sauce. Once the peppers and chillies are charred on all sides, carefully remove the garlic and tip the rest into a small food processor/mini chopper. Allow the garlic to cool then squeeze to remove roasted garlic from the skin then place in food processor. Add the coriander, sugar, salt and pepper then blitz until a smooth rich red sauce is formed. Taste test and add a little extra sugar, salt or pepper if required, the sauce should be rich and flavoursome, but not too sweet. Retain 1-2 tbsp. of the sauce and mix the rest through the chicken. With the retained sauce mix with a tbsp. of vegetable oil – this will be used to brush the enchiladas.

Preheat your oven to approx. 180°C then start to make the enchiladas. Lay one out flat on a chopping board, place a generous amount of filling just below the middle then roll the bottom over carefully then roll into a enchilada. Place into a roasting dish with the seam on the bottom. Repeat for the other three enchiladas, making sure to space them out in the roasting dish. Using a brush give the enchiladas a thin coat of the sauce/oil mix to prevent the tortillas crisping up too much during baking. If you have any sauce left you can also add a couple of small drops on top of the enchiladas before baking, this is mainly for aesthetics and entirely optional. Add to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

When plating, take care when transferring the enchiladas so they don’t loose their shape or any of the contents. Serve with a side portion of the salsa and garnish with sour cream and a few coriander leafs.

 

 

 

Chicken Wing Curry and Pilau rice

Using a wonderful tomato based curry paste to slow cook skinless on the bone chicken wings for a delicious curry dish. Served with flavoured pilau rice.

I was inspired to make this dish after watching an old episode of Rick Steins India where he watched a fisherman’s wife make a white fish curry. It got me thinking that using similar techniques and a modified version of her curry paste with chicken on the bone could make a wonderful dish. Turns out I was right, if I don’t say so myself. This dish is also nice and healthy as there is not much oil used and no cream or coconut milk, with no compromise on flavour.

The curry paste is made in a mini blender out of tomato, onion, garlic, cumin seeds, ground turmeric, paprika, black peppercorns, salt, ginger and chillies – all blitzed into a smooth curry paste. Mustard seeds are fried in hot oil until they begin to pop then the curry paste is fried to release its wonderful flavours and aromas. I removed the skins from some good quality chicken wings which were browned in the fried curry paste. Next some water was added to loosen the sauce along with some curry leafs and a little sugar before turning down the heat and simmering uncovered for 40-50 minutes. The curry is finished off with a little chicken stock and some chopped coriander just before serving.

This curry would work well with your choice of rice or Indian bread, I served it with a simple pilau rice which complemented the flavours very well. This is simple to make and can be easily cooked towards the end of the curry process. Onions, bay, sliced garlic, ground cinnamon, ground coriander, ground turmeric, cardamom, cloves and saffron are fried in some melted butter until softened. Washed rice is then added and stirred until each grain is coated. Twice the rice volume of chicken stock is added then the heat is reduced, pan covered and left to simmer until the stock has been fully absorbed. The rice is fluffed up with a fork and then served. I use this rice recipe with some of my other Indian dishes such as Special Cod Makhani  and Chicken Makhani.

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Serves two people

Preparation 20 minutes, cooking time 1 hour

Ingredients

For the curry paste:

4 round tomatoes

3 onions – mixture of red and white is best

6 cloves garlic – peeled

Tsp cumin seeds

Tsp ground turmeric

Tsp Paprika

Tsp Salt

4 black peppercorns

1/2 thumb of ginger – peel and chop finely before adding to blender

2 large red chillies – remove seeds for less spicy

2 red bird eye chillies – remove seeds for less spicy

Method: add to a min blender/mini chopper and blitz into a smooth paste.

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For main dish:

500g skinless chicken wings – must be on the bone

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

12 fine green beans – trimmed, cut in half

6-8 curry leafs

1-2 tsp sugar

Handful coriander leaf – roughly chopped

water to loosen sauce

Chicken stock – I used approx. 150ml

Method: Add 1-2  tablespoons of vegetable oil to a non stick pan, preferably a wide, deep frying pan, over a medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry them until they begin to pop. Add the curry paste and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until fragrant then add the chicken wings and brown them in the paste. Add approx. a mug of water to loosen the sauce then add the curry leafs, green beans and a teaspoon of sugar. Stir through, bring back to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 45-50 minutes. The sauce will slowly reduce as it cooks so you will need to add some chicken stock to bring it to your chosen consistency, I used approx. 150ml stock but this depends upon how thick or thin you like your curry sauce. A few minutes before serving, heat the sauce through (if required), add the coriander and stir it through the dish.

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For the pilau rice:

150 basmati or long grain rice – rinsed thoroughly 

1 white onion – diced

2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced

15g butter

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods

Bay leaf

Pinch saffron

Chicken stock – twice the volume of the rinsed rice 

You require a medium to large pan with a tight fitting lid (glass is best)

Method: melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat then add the onion, garlic and all the spices. Stir and fry for around 4 minutes until the onion softens and the spices become aromatic. Add the rice and stir through until the rice is fully coated and the mixed through the spiced onion mixture. Add twice the volume of stock to the volume of rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid and leave on a low heat. Let the rice drink the stock as it cooks, it should take around 10 minutes for the rice to fully absorb the stock. Once stock is fully absorbed carefully remove pan lid and fluff rice with a fork before serving.

 

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