Friday, September 21, 2012

Enchiladas de Pollo con Salsa Verde (Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce)

This is Part 2 of our Tall Cans recipes.  The first recipe, Tall Can Mexican Black Beans, was actually made with a whole tall can of Tecate.  Between the enchiladas and salsa verde here, it's really only 2/3 of a tall can of Tecate, but that just leaves the extra 1/3 for you to finish off.  I really liked the beer flavour in the salsa verde.  I don't usually use beer when I make it, so this was a first, and I think I'll make it with beer from now on!

Much like the black bean recipe, these recipes were inspired by the Transplants' song, "Tall Cans In The Air."  But since I used that song for the bean recipe, I think it's fitting that I use a different Transplants song.  Justin and I always joke about their song, "Gangsters and Thugs", because living in Humboldt County, we can relate to the chorus, "...some of my friends sell records, some of my friends sell drugs."  It's a good sing-a-long, kiddies.  -jen

ENCHILADAS DE POLLO (Chicken Enchiladas)
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time:  30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes (not including the chicken baking)
Makes:  15-20, depending on the size of your chicken thighs
  • 6 baked chicken thighs
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, julienned
  • 2 red bell peppers, julienned
  • 2 jalapeños (de-seed for less heat), julienned
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup Tecate beer
  • 1 can (4oz) diced green chiles
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • corn tortillas (15-20)
  • salsa verde (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
*I seasoned the thighs under the skin with salt and pepper, but left the skins on to bake.  Baked at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeños.  Sautee for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, Tecate, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Continue cooking until all of the liquid has disappeared and vegetables are soft.  Remove from heat to cool.

Discard the chicken skin and shred the chicken meat from the bone into a large mixing bowl.  Add the cooked vegetables, green chiles, cilantro and cumin to the chicken, mixing.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste.

"Wet" tortillas, fried and dipped in salsa
Place 1/2 a cup of the salsa verde into a shallow dish (I like to use a pie plate) and have an additional plate available to hold the "wet" tortillas.

In a small skillet that will fit a single corn tortilla, heat enough oil just to cover the entire bottom of the skillet over a medium-high heat, and keep the oil nearby for refills.  Using tongs, place a corn tortilla into the hot oil for 5 seconds, then flip and cook 5 seconds on the other side.  Let the excess oil drip into your pan and place the tortilla right into the salsa, just to coat.  Remove from salsa, letting excess salsa drip back into pie plate and set the wet tortilla onto your extra plate.  Repeat, stacking the wet tortillas on top of each other on the plate until finished.  Add oil to your skillet and salsa to your pie plate as needed.

Create an assembly line with your stack of wet tortillas, shredded chicken mixture, shredded cheese, and a large, rectangular baking dish.  Place a thin layer of salsa verde on the bottom of your baking dish.  Set a wet tortilla into the baking dish, fill with shredded chicken mixture and shredded cheese, and roll, placing the enchilada seam-side down.  Continue until your baking dish is full.  Spoon the remainder of your salsa (about 1/2 a cup) over the enchiladas, as well as the remainder of your shredded Jack cheese (also about 1/2 a cup).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

SALSA VERDE (Green Sauce)
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes:  about 3 cups
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 can (28oz) tomatillos, drained (or 7-8 fresh, large tomatillos, roasted)
  • 1 can (4oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 cup Tecate beer
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook for 5 minutes until translucent and tender.  Add all remaining ingredients except salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer for 25 minutes.  Pour into a blender to puree (but don't fill your blender more than half-way or it could explode hot salsa all over you!  Ouch!  Work carefully in batches... or use a stick blender and avoid that whole mess.)  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shown with Tall Cans Mexican Black Beans

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tall Can Mexican Black Beans

I love when a recipe is actually inspired by a song, rather than coming up with a recipe and then searching for a song to go with it!  I'd been in a Tim Armstrong mood the other day (when aren't I?), but wasn't feeling like Rancid, so I pulled out both albums by the Transplants.  As soon as I heard the song "Tall Cans In The Air", I knew I had to do a beer recipe with tall cans!  I brainstormed a lot of ideas (and will still do more), but in the end, I decided going with a Mexican theme.  The black beans are Part 1 of my Tecate dinner, and they came out great!  I'm not even a big fan of beans, but seasoned with all these great flavours, I couldn't help but love 'em.

Justin and I actually were discussing whether or not we could taste the beer in the beans... 3 cups in a recipe is a hell of a lot of beer.  However, it didn't really seem to stand out.  There wasn't a super distinct beer flavour, but I'm sure after simmering for hours with a load of other flavours, it's just going to blend in with the rest.  I wouldn't change the recipe at all... though I might be inclined to try a darker beer next time, perhaps a Negro Modelo?

And so I present to you the Transplants (whom I've been listening to all week), doing "Tall Cans In The Air"... lemme see 'em!  -jen

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: Overnight soaking
Cook Time:  3-4 hours
Serves:  6-8 
  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tall can (24oz) Tecate beer (separated)
  • 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped (de-seed for less heat)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 can (4oz) diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • few dashes of Green Tabasco 
Sort through dried beans to check for small pebbles.  Soak in 8 cups of water overnight.

Using a colander, drain soaking water from beans.  Place beans in a large stock pot with 5 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of the Teacate beer.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and turn heat down to simmer for 1.5 hours.

Add tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeños, garlic, green chiles, cilantro, lime juice, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, Tabasco, and remaining 1 cup of Tecate.  Continue simmering with the lid off for another 1.5-2 hours.  Part way through the second simmer, using a masher, mash up some of the beans to help thicken the sauce.  Cook down until desired consistency.  Sauce should be slightly thickened, but they shouldn't be soupy.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Smoked Tri-tip Roast

This is my first attempt at BBQ (note: I have grilled extensively before but never done true, low n' slow, smoked BBQ) and I have to say that the flavor was spot on, though I need to work on getting better  color to the finished product.  We ate it all before I could get a pic but we'll be doing this again soon so we'll add pics when the next round is attempted.

We have a gas grill so I used that and have to say that the temp control was a cinch.  One of the three burners on low was a perfect grill temp of 225 F which exactly what you want.  I used a blend of wood chips, half hickory and half apple wood, and the flavor and smell were awesome!  An Oneida Digital Probe Thermometer let me know when the internal temp hit 145 F, after about 4.5 hrs in the smoke, and I pulled it, wrapped it in heavy duty aluminum foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing off the first taste.

It was perfectly medium rare inside but little to no smoke ring present, even though it had the smokey flavor.  The dry rub on the outside of the roast didn't quite turn into the "bark" you see on good BBQ but it was definitely an amazing flavor, none-the-less.  Since my smoke wasn't super heavy, I'm assuming it didn't color the meat, hence my desire to get more smoke on it next time.

The dry rub recipe contained herein is one of my own devising that would work amazingly on any beef or pork cut and can be applied the night before or the morning of.

A slab o meat, closely resembling brisket, made me think of Jewish deli and our love of pastrami and other cured meats.  So, here's some NOFX doing their song, The Brews about hardcore Jewish punk lifestyle.  "We separate our milk plates from our meat!  Oi, oi, oi!" - justin

Tri-tip Dry Rub
Time: 10 min
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: Enough to cover a 3lb roast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Accent
  • 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 3/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 3/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 of a bay leaf
Just toss all of this in a spice grinder, or a mortar and pestle, and grind thoroughly.  Apply to meat the night before cooking, or at least a couple hours before, and enjoy!

Tri-tip Smoke Steps:
  1. Apply the rub to the roast, place in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. Remove from the fridge at least an hour before smoking to let the meat come up to room temp.
  3. Get your gas grill up to temp by turning one burner, not the middle, on as low as it'll go and wait a half hour or so for the grill to reach 225.
  4. While the grill is heating, soak your wood chips in warm water for 15-30 minutes and place them in either foil pouches, or an old tuna can or some sort of metal container that will not give off fumes.  
  5. Place you wood chips over the single burner and let the smoke build in the grill before adding the roast.
  6. Place your meat in the grill on the opposite side of the lit burner.  You're trying to cook using indirect heat, not the using flames like you would with grilling meat.
  7. Place a drip catch under your meat.  Foil works fine.
  8. Insert your digital probe thermometer, if you're using one, and set it to go off at 145 F.
  9. Open a beer and enjoy the smell.  Wait.
  10. When the meat is done, use tongs to pull it off the grill and wrap it in foil.  Set it aside to rest for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Cut it in slices, against the grain, and eat your heart out!