Stovetop Enchiladas

So I would never recommend making enchiladas on the stovetop, but when you've got a pan of enchiladas all ready to go and you turn on the oven in your new house and realize that it doesn't work, it's good to have a backup plan!

I was lucky enough to have last Saturday off work, so I was able to make it to the downtown farmer's market where I bought a ton of these beautiful tomatillos (from a real Mexican farmer to boot!) We had some leftover hot coals on the grill on Sunday, so we roasted them along with some poblano and jalapeno peppers I bought from the same. We had no use for them on Sunday, so they went in the fridge overnight. On Monday (also a day off for me!) I pulled them out and decided to make enchiladas verdes, one of my favorite things in all the world.

Here are the roasted peppers - nice wrinkles huh? The verde sauce is incredibly simple - all you do is blend up tomatillos and peppers with a little lime juice and salt. I probably could have gotten crazier with herbs and spices, but the peppers and tomatillos were so good and fresh and roasty, that I wanted to let the flavors stand on their own. I didn't use all these peppers, just two poblanos and one jalapeno.

Enchiladas just aren't right without beans and rice. These are still some of the dry beans I brought with me from California - I need to use them up before the beans in my gardens are done! I had started them soaking early in the day, and they were almost done cooking by the time I started with the enchiladas. I also made Spanish rice.... I've added a recipe for that below - it's really easy!

We had some leftover grilled chicken and pork, and some pork sausage. I cooked the sausage and cut up the leftover meat to use as a filling.

So the sauce was made, the filling was ready to go, and I started the oven only to find that it wasn't working! It was the first time I'd tried turning it on in out new house. The ignition for the stove wasn't working (the landlord had ordered a part) so we had to light the burners with a lighter. It hadn't occurred to me that that might affect the oven as well.... Dave and I looked at it for a while to see if it was possible to light the oven with a match, but it didn't seem that it was. I'd be damned if I was going to let all the enchilada fixings go to waste, so I rolled them up in the cast iron skillet, topped them with sauce and queso fresco, put a lid on it, and cooked it on low.

It wasn't perfect. The cheese of course didn't brown, but it did melt. The bottom of the tortillas burnt a little to the pan, and they didn't really come out in enchilada form at all - it was more of a enchiladas verdes casserole, but who cares? It was just as delicious as any "real" enchiladas, and I had the satisfaction of not letting a broken oven get the better of me!

Enchiladas Verdes
If your oven happens to be broken, you can make these on the stovetop, otherwise I recommend baking them.

For the sauce:
Tomatillos, roasted on the grill
Poblano and jalapeno peppers, roasted on the grill
Fresh lime juice
Salt to taste

For the enchiladas:
Corn tortillas
Filling (whatever you like, cooked chicken or pork, cheese, beans, etc. etc.)
Queso Fresco
Sour Cream

Make the sauce by blending all of the ingredients until smooth. Use mostly tomatillos, adding peppers to taste. Put a little sauce in the bottom of a baking pan. Coat each tortilla in sauce, add a little filling, and roll it up. Fill the pan with rolled up tortillas. Cover with lots of sauce and queso fresco. Bake at 375 until bubbling hot. Serve with refried beans (hopefully not from a can) and Spanish rice, topped with sour cream.

Spanish Rice
1 small can tomato sauce
Rice (I use brown, but traditionally you'd use white rice)
Butter (or better yet, lard!)

Melt a little butter in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add rice and tomato sauce. Cook for 5-10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Add enough water and cook the rice. That's it!
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