I had my first green enchilada experience at a friend's house in Brooklyn. He was actually from New Mexico and used to make a huge batch every weekend for anyone who happened to stop by the apartment. But he made them unlike any enchilada I'd ever had. Instead of rolling them up and baking them with loads of meat, he just stacked them on a plate layered with cheese and tomatillo sauce. Instead of the heavy, orange-cheese covered ones that I grew up on in the Midwest, these were bright and acidic. I'd always have two plates' worth.
Now back in the Midwest, it was harder to reconstruct this memory than I had anticipated. Nearly all the green enchilada recipes contained chicken in some integral way. So first I had to track down a green sauce, which I finally found in Bon Appétit. Then it was just a matter of stacking the tortillas, layering on some sauce, and sprinkling on a little cheese. You can melt the cheese in an oven, which will take 15 minutes or so, or you can do what I did and just zap it in the microwave for about a minute. That way you can have seconds in a flash.
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 serrano chiles
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 12 corn tortillas
- 6 ounces Chihuahua cheese or Monterrey Jack, shredded
Heat a large iron skillet over medium-high heat. Set a timer for 9 minutes. Add the onion quarters and cook, flipping after 4 minutes. With 6 minutes left on the timer, add the tomatillos and chilies. Flip both after 3 minutes. Add the garlic with 4 minutes left. When all are slightly blackened transfer to a food processor. Toss in the cilantro and sugar, and process until very smooth.
Clean out the iron skillet, then pour in the oil over medium-high heat. Carefully pour in the tomatillo mixture. Cook for 2 minutes or until it has thickened. Pour in the chicken broth and lime juice. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Time to stack. Place a tortilla on a plate. Top with a little bit of sauce and sprinkling of cheese. Repeat process two more times. Place plate in a microwave and cook until cheese has melted, about a minute.