Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spicy Tomato Enchiladas

Recently, two of my high school classmates started their own company.  They wanted to flex their  creative gustatory muscles and craft their own jams made with all natural, local ingredients.

Thus began The Essential Table.

After months of providing them with my (unsolicited) opinions on everything from their website to their labels, I finally had a chance to taste the final product.

This past Saturday, I attended a tasting, where I snacked on jams to my stomach's delight.

Shockingly, my favorite was the Spicy Tomato.  I had gone in thinking the Stout Beer Jam would clearly emerge the winner on my score card.  But no.  It was the Spicy Tomato I kept going back to.

And by the time I got home with my jars of jam, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.


And let me just tell you, they were pretty darn good... if I do say so myself.  Served with sweet corn and black bean salsa and (what I'm calling) Mexican potatoes.

The enchiladas and the corn & black bean salsa are super easy to throw together.  The chicken can cook in the crockpot while you're at work, and it's a quick thing to shred it and throw together the enchiladas when you get home.  The potatoes take a little longer, so start there, and get those in the oven.  You can put together your enchiladas while the potatoes are baking.

Spicy Tomato Chicken Enchiladas:
1 lb. chicken breasts
1 jar Spicy Tomato Jam from The Essential Table
1 8oz. block cream cheese (softened)
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Ground Cumin
Red pepper flakes
Vegetable stock or chicken stock (enough to cover your chicken breasts in the crockpot)
Tortillas (I used wheat tortillas)
Shredded cheese of your choice
White American cheese (in a block from the deli) + milk or cream

1. Place chicken in a crockpot.  Combine vegetable stock with 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  Pour over chicken breasts.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.  Chicken is ready when you can shred it with a fork.*

2.  When chicken is ready, chop softened cream cheese into 1 inch cubes and place in large mixing bowl.  Shred hot chicken (careful with the hot chicken, folks) and place on top of cream cheese to further soften.  Stir together chicken and cream cheese.  Add half a jar of The Essential Table Spicy Tomato Jam.  Stir until incorporated.

3.  Spoon chicken along center of tortilla.  (I used a good bit of chicken for some really meaty enchiladas.)  Top with a little shredded cheese (to your taste - I only used about a tablespoon per enchilada.)  Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in a baking dish.

 4.  Cube your white American cheese.  The amount of cheese you use is completely up to you, based on how cheesy you want your enchiladas.  I like a good bit of cheese, and I used approximately 1 cup of cubed cheese.  Place cubed cheese in a microwave safe bowl and add 1/4 milk or cream.  Remember, you can always add more milk to thin out your cheese sauce, but you can't take it out later.  Microwave milk and cheese in 45 second intervals, stirring in between, until cheese mixture is smooth.  Stir in 3 tablespoons of the Spicy Tomato Jam.  Pour over enchiladas.

5.  Bake enchiladas at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

*If you don't want to cook your chicken in the crockpot, you can always mix together your dry seasonings and rub them on the chicken, then grill the chicken and shred it.

Mexican Potatoes
2 large baking potatoes (this made five Rachel size servings - which is a pretty large serving)*
3 tablespoons melter butter OR butter alternative spray OR 3 tablespoons olive oil**
Extra olive oil for your baking sheet
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground sea salt

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Cube baking potatoes into 1 inch chunks.  Place cubed potatoes into bowl, pour or spray butter/oil over potatoes and stir to coat all potatoes.

3.  Stir together all seasonings.  Sprinkle half the mixture over potatoes and stir well to coat potatoes.  Add remainder and stir again.

4.  Brush large baking sheet with olive oil (the potatoes will stick if you don't use a liberal coat of olive oil).  Spread potatoes in an even layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, using a spatula to turn potatoes at the halfway point.***

Reduce the heat in your over to bake those enchiladas you put together.

*If you don't have baking potatoes, use whatever kind of white potato you have on hand and just chop up as many as you need.

**  I use a butter alternative spray.  Because I'm lazy, and it's easier than melting butter.

***  I like my potatoes extra crispy, so I'll leave them in a little longer, but be careful.  If you don't turn them during baking, they will burn.

These turned out even better than I had hoped.  You can dip them in ketchup or your Spicy Tomato Jam.  Or you can mix some ketchup and Spicy Tomato Jam.

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salsa:
1 steam in bag frozen sweet corn*
2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 ground cumin
1 cup vegetable stock

1.  Rinse and drain black beans.  Add to medium size pot with vegetable stock and seasonings.  Stir to combine.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low heat.  Cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.  We just want those flavors to blend.

2.  Cook corn according to package directions.

3.  After your beans have simmered for a while.  Stir in your sweet corn.

* Tis the season for fresh fruits and vegetables.  If you're in the mood to shuck corn, replace the frozen corn with fresh corn.

Plate it all up and enjoy.