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Stacked Enchiladas

Stacked Enchiladas // www.LisaSamuel.com

I’ve been trying to get this recipe posted for over a week now, but finding the time to write has been challenging. Did I actually say the other day that Theo was consistency sleeping in until 7 am every morning? Ha! For the past week, I’ve been waking up around 6 am to write, only to have him wake up 10 minutes after me. Yesterday morning, I woke at 5:30 and tiptoed into the bathroom and sit on the floor to finish this post. I had no sooner opened my computer when I heard, “Mommy, where are you?” And last night, he crawled into bed with us at midnight, and I didn’t sleep much after that. Ah, well. Hope you all are getting more sleep than me.

Here are a few things I listened to in the past week that gave me hope or made me smile.

This podcast on parenting during the crisis, from Ten Percent Happier.

Brene Brown always inspires, and the first episode of her new podcast gives us hope. This will end. Also, it’s okay to not know what we’re doing. In this episode, she describes a very helpful tool for couples during this time. And, grief is not comparable.

This short podcast made me smile. Finally, technology really is keeping us connected. 

I know we will emerge on the other side of this crisis changed and better.

In the meantime, I’m still cooking. If you’re on Instagram, I recorded a few stories showing how to make fish tacos and a very simple roast chicken. They made me feel connected to all of you, so I’ll continue these in between cooking new recipes from my large cookbook library. Maybe I’ll even get organized enough to do an Instagram Live. But in the meantime, here’s a recipe for enchiladas.

I have been meaning to share this enchilada recipe for a long time. Maybe I waited so long because the universe knew that now would be the perfect time for this kind of comfort food. This dish was first inspired by the enchilada’s we order at Pepper Sisters, a long-standing Bellingham restaurant. Although stacked enchiladas aren’t commonly served, they are a traditional dish of northern Mexico.

Layering the enchilada means that the tortillas stay crispy on the edges and soft and saucy in the middle. You can layer these with anything you want. In this recipe, I suggest using up leftover chicken, but you could easily substitute cooked beans, roasted sweet potatoes, hominy or any other kind of filling. I usually add big handfuls of an easy-wilting green (like spinach) to this, just to get a serving of green vegetables in there. You don’t even notice it. But I’ve often just cleaned out the fridge of all the leftover bits of vegetables–roasted broccoli or cauliflower, cooked kale–and they are always delicious, no matter what. You could also easily make these vegan using vegetable stock, beans and vegan cheese (or maybe just a cashew cream for the cheese).

Lastly, I love making my own tortillas. They are really easy to make, and it’s also a great activity for getting kiddos into the kitchen. I have a tutorial in my Instagram stories, if you’d like to try them. I love adding a little turmeric powder to the masa, but that’s optional.

If you have any questions about this recipe, please don’t hesitate to message me. I’ve been cooking from my large cookbook library this week, and recipes can sometimes be hard to follow.

Sending you all big hugs. I hope you are finding some joy in the kitchen.

Stacked Enchiladas // www.LisaSamuel.com
Stacked Enchiladas // www.LisaSamuel.com
Stacked Enchiladas // www.LisaSamuel.com

Stacked Enchiladas

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small red peppers, sliced
  • 2 poblano peppers, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced (or pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 2 – 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (or 1 large tomato)
  • fresh cilantro
  • about 8 ounces leftover chicken, or any other protein you have on hand
  • 2 big handfuls of easy-wilting greens (optional) or any other cooked vegetables you have on hand
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or any other good melting cheese)
  • For serving, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds or anything else that sounds delicious to you. Sour cream would be great, too.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Add the cumin, coriander and fennel to a small skillet and heat over low heat until you start to smell the spices toasting. Remove from heat immediately (they can burn quickly) and grind with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. If you don’t have whole spices, just use equal parts of ground cumin, coriander and fennel.

Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you could also use avocado oil). Add the sliced onion and a good pinch of salt and let the onion cook slowly, until almost to the caramelized stage. If your heat gets a little high and the onions singe a little, it’s just fine. If the pot gets dry, you can add some more olive oil.

Once the onions are cooked until soft and browning, add about a tablespoon of the reserved spices and stir to coat the spices in the oil. Add the sliced garlic and stir, cooking the garlic for a minute in the oil. Add the sliced peppers and the jalapeño (or chile flakes) and cook, stirring, until the peppers are coated in the oil and beginning to soften. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring to scrape off any darkened bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatoes and stir everything together. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have collapsed and all of the vegetables have softened.

At this point, you are going to puree half of this mixture to make the enchilada sauce. Remove half of the vegetables to a blender and try to remove as much of the liquid from the pot as you can and add that to the blender. It’s okay–actually preferable–to leave a little liquid in the bottom of the pot to keep everything saucy.

Add a big handful of cilantro to the vegetables mixture in the blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt and heat. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little extra chicken stock.

Add the shredded chicken (or whatever protein you are using) to the pot. Add the greens or any other vegetables that you are using. Stir to gently warm and then turn off the heat.

I usually make these in four individual skillets, but you can also just stack them in one large baking dish and serve from there. You’re just going to divide the filling, cheese and sauce evenly between the four enchiladas.

Pour a little bit of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the skillet. Place a tortilla on top and then top with a little of the chicken and vegetable mixture and a little bit of cheese. Place another tortilla on top of the cheese and then top with a little more of the chicken mixture and a little more cheese. Place the final tortilla on top of that mixture. Pour a little more sauce on top of that tortilla, letting some run down the edges. Place all of the remaining cheese on top. You can pour any remaining sauce into the bottom of the skillets or baking dish.

Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas, making four enchiladas.

Place the enchiladas in the oven and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until the cheese has just melted and started to brown, but the sauce has not evaporated.

Remove the enchiladas from the oven and garnish as desired. I usually top with sliced avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds* and fresh cilantro.

*To make toasted pumpkin seeds, just pour a layer of pumpkin seeds in a skillet and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Toast on low heat, stirring often, until browned. Slow and steady is the best method here, to prevent burning. Remove from heat and season with sea salt.