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.

 

 

 

Fish Tacos

A great recipe for wonderful fresh fish tacos. Strips of fresh Sea Bass in a light beer batter inside corn tortillas, served with salsa, lime wedges and sour cream.

One of my favourite Mexican dishes and also one of the easiest to make. Simply cut fresh fish into strips, coat in flour then batter and then deep-fried until crispy on the outside. Served inside a warmed corn tortillas with a side of salsa made from tomatoes, sweetcorn, avocado, red onion, lime juice, coriander leaf, a little sugar and seasoning. A dollop of sour cream completes the dish.

The important thing here is the freshness of the sea bass and the salsa ingredients to give that true taste of Mexico. Making the salsa around 1-2 hours in advance lets the flavours fully develop, it is best kept at room temperature as tomatoes love the heat. It is also important to leave making the beer batter until the last-minute so it stays light.

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Serves two People

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes (salsa best made 1-2 hours in advance)

 

Ingredients

2 Sea bass fillets – remove skin and cut into strips 2 cm thick

4 corn tortillas – warmed in a pan before serving

50g seasoned flour – in a plate or flat-bottomed bowl to coat fish

Oil to deep fry

Sour cream – a dollop on the side

Lime wedges – to garnish

For The batter

225-250g plain flour

330ml chilled lager beer – I used san miguel

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/3 tsp salt

For the salsa

4 round tomatoes – finely chopped

1 avocado – diced

2-3 Tbsp sweetcorn

1 medium red onion – diced

Handful coriander leaf – finely chopped

1 red chilli – finely sliced

Pinch of brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Cooking instructions

  1. Start by making the Salsa. Combine ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well, cover and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve. The salsa is best made at 1-2 hours in advance as this gives the flavours time to develop.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan to around 190ºC – the oil needs to be deep enough to completely submerge the largest piece of fish. Heating the oil to this temperature also ensures the fish will cook very quickly and that the batter will seal and prevent oil seeping into the fish pieces.
  3. Mix the batter ingredients in a deep bowl until a smooth batter is formed. Coat each piece of fish in the seasoned flour then into the batter mixture then add to the hot oil. The fish will cook very quickly and try to turn each piece after 1 minute. Once the fish is a light golden colour on all sides remove from the oil and drain well on absorbent paper.
  4. Warm the corn tortillas in a frying pan, then serve immediately with the fish inside the tacos and the salsa on the side – adding it too early will make the tacos go soggy. A dollop of sour cream and a lime wedge completes the dish.

 

 Fish tacos

Crab salsa taco bites with roasted refried bean stuffed Peppers

Tomato and crab salsa taco bites, perfect for nibbles over the christmas period or as a main meal with my refried bean stuffed peppers.

This is a very easy recipe which tastes like you have been slaving away for hours.

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Serves two people

Preparation 30 minutes, cooking 30-35 minutes

Ingredients and method

For the crab salsa taco bites:

1 packet of corn tacos – cut into squares slightly larger than the wholes on your muffin tray

1 red onion – finely diced

4 round tomatoes – finely diced

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 red chilli – finely chopped

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaf

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaf

2 dessert spoons tomato ketchup

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil to brush the tacos

You require a Muffin or cupcake tray for this recipe

  1. Make the salsa by combining the tomatoes, garlic, chilli, herbs, spices, ketchup, lime in a bowl. Mix well then season to taste. Cover and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C then start cutting the tacos into squares. These need to be slightly larger than the holes in the muffin tray. Experiment with one or two tacos to get the right size before cutting all your tacos – remember its easy to cut a little bit off if they are too large. See picture below for example.
  3. Brush the muffin tray with a little oil then brush each of the cut tacos lightly. Push one taco into the muffin tray firmly then press it down into the mold. Place another taco square on top of it at a 45 degree angle (as shown below) so it forms a star shape in the mold. Firmly press the tacos together into the mold. Repeat for the rest of the taco shells.
  4. Place them in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the tacos have crisped up then remove them from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  5. Once cooled spoon the salsa into the tacos and serve immediately.

 

 

For the stuffed Peppers

2 bell peppers – cut in half, remove white stalk and seeds.

1 tin of refried beans

1 small red onion – finely diced

1 red chilli – finely sliced

1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

50g cheddar cheese – crumble/cut into small pieces

  1. Start by halving the peppers, removing the seeds and inner white stalk. Retain the outer green stalk. Make sure when you cut them, you halve them in a way that both sit flat on the baking tray.
  2. Spoon in the refried beans so they fill slightly more than 3/4 of the hollowed peppers.  Sprinkle some sliced chilli and diced onion on top then finish with some crumbled cheese.
  3. Place in a preheated oven at 180°c and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheeses melts and bubbles
  4. Remove from the oven and serve.