My husband’s brother Dustin and his wife Alasha live on the Kenai Peninsula and, while I am somewhat patiently awaiting the arrival of Brito babe number 2, I have been having a wonderful visit at their place in Nikiski. Dustin is also a Bristol Bay fisherman who is out in the Bay for the summer while Alasha is home with their 5 year old son, Ronin.
Alasha is passionate about local food. Not only does she have a lovely garden, a flock of laying hens, another flock of meat birds, turkeys, and raised a crazy pig last summer but she is a coordinating member of the Kenai Local Foods Group, a group which is completely focused on bringing local foods to the plates of local people.
The other night we roasted one of her chickens only to have a dinner that never was, mostly due to poor planning on my part… seriously no three year old can be served dinner at 9pm. Don’t worry though that chicken did not go to un-enjoyed, instead the next day it hit the oven as enchiladas with homemade red enchilada sauce and crisp rainbow chard straight from the garden. The carcass, veggies from the roast, and the rainbow chard stalks went into the crockpot in order to make some stock. Waste not. Want not.
I’m not going to lie these were yummy and exactly what this little Mexican jumping bean of a baby in my belly wanted. This enchilada sauce recipe has been my go to for over a year now so I suppose its time to share it already! The kids scarfed these down too, don’t be fooled by the chard these enchiladas are not lean, spicy and mean by any stretch. They are cheesy, savory, and hearty enough to please even picky eaters, plus throw some sour cream on anything and my daughter will eat it…
Chicken Rainbow Chard Enchiladas
(this makes about two dozen enchiladas in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish)
For the Enchiladas:
2 dozen corn tortillas
One cooked chicken, meat stripped off the carcass and chopped/shredded into bite size pieces
1 cup of salsa (any kind of your choosing)
a large bunch of chard, stems cut off, a chopped (don’t won’t about taking the ribs out, just cut the stems at the bottom of the leaf)
5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 cups of homemade red enchilada sauce
For the Enchilada Sauce:
4 Tbsp. Avocado oil (feel free to use canola or vegetable oil instead)
4 Tbsp. all purpose unbleached flour
8 Tbsp. Chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. smoked paprika
4 cups chicken stock
To make the Enchilada Sauce:
In a medium sauce pan mix the oil with the flour, chili powder, and other spices to make a consistent paste then over medium high heat gradually whisk in the chicken stock until smooth. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until thickened. This can be used immediately or kept in a air tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
To make the Enchiladas:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the chopped/shredded chicken with the salsa, then I like to create an assembly line set up with my enchilada sauce warm on the stove, next to the glass baking dish in which I’ll bake the enchiladas, then bowls with the chicken, cheese and chard lined up on the counter for ease of filling. Put about half a dozen tortillas in the enchilada sauce to soften (2-3 minutes max) then one by one remove to the baking dish, fill with a smallish handful of the chicken, a hearty pinch of cheese, and a small handful of the chard, roll up and proceed until the pan is full and you are out of tortillas and filling. Be sure to reserve a good cup full of sauce to pour over the top and cover with a layer of shredded cheese prior to popping them into the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted.
Serve with sour cream, any raw chopped chard you may have left, hot sauce, cilantro, any other accouterments you can think of!
Enchilada sauce was adapted from this Gimme Some Oven recipe.
Now I’ll leave you with the serious case of garden gate envy that I am suffering from:
Isn’t it lovely…