An Enchilada Recipe with a side of healthy relationship.
Friday is here and we are starving. We have been talking about food all week and it’s time to get cooking. As the Holidays quickly approach, all of us turn to thinking about some delicacies that hold warm memories and link us to a simpler time. Some things just taste so damn good that we can’t get enough. Comfort foods are different for each person but the feelings these dishes give us are truly universal. So grab a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a grilled cheese sandwich and read on.
Lee says: I’m Cuban so those foods are yummy but mean nothing to me. Now if you said white rice and a friend egg then my mind would flood with memories of my youth. If you said Tamal en Casuela I would remember special Sunday dinners that would be warmed by the goodness of this meal. Cuban toast and café con leche was a breakfast that I would eat when I was pregnant with Bobby. That combo, in addition to some cheesy 70s music, tapped me into a sense of peace that I was sorely lacking during that pregnancy.
So what is comfort food if not a type of drug (panacea)? We use food to take away or drown a pain. When emotionally hurt, a woman is supposed to eat ice cream. When a guy is angry he eats a steak. I know I’m generalizing but clichés are based on some sort of reality. For example: Chicken soup for a cold. Is there antibiotic properties to boiled chicken? No but it does have anti-inflammatory effects. And they have found that chicken soup stops the movement of neutrophils which are responsible for mucous and possibly the cough produced during a cold. Wow! I thought it just was soothing, especially how my Mommy made it.
My Mom boiled a whole chicken in water with spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder) and one whole sliced onion. She added squash to the mix and boiled the hell out of it. She would remove the chicken, check the seasoning then blend and puree the squash with the chicken broth. This was Sopa Amarilla (Yellow Soup). You could have it with or without noodles or over white rice. This was the magic soup. My little brother called it Sopa Maria (Maria’s soup) since he misunderstood that my Mom would choose a name for this ambrosia solely on the color and consistency. Go ahead and ask him right now what it’s called and he’ll swear that it’s Maria’s Soup and you can’t change his 36 year old mind.
So my point is, and I do have one, food is not just something to sustain life. It holds a special place in our psyche. It is sacred and should be revered. Do you find it interesting that the longer it takes to cook the better it is for you? Or, the simpler the food the healthier? The question is: Are you treating your body like a temple or a state fair?
Recipe for Green Enchiladas- Lee style
Please note that I always make a lot of these since they tend to be great for leftovers and Paul cries when we run out.
5 lbs. Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 yellow onion
1 can of green chilies
Large Package of corn tortillas (this isn’t really a good recipe with exact measurements. This is CoupleDumb. We talk about relationships.)
Cheese (lots and lots)
2 bunches of cilantro
2-3 lbs of tomatillos (or if you can find them in cans even better since you don’t have to wash them and roast them with salt in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes).
Salt to taste
Garlic powder (for broth only)
Pepper (for broth)
Boil chicken, half a can of chilies and onion with seasonings until chicken is cooked. Save this broth for some really yummy soup. Meanwhile blend roasted tomatillos and cilantro in a Cuisinart. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Take chicken and use two forks to shred them. Take shredded chicken and mix them with some of the sauce and cheese (so that it has a consistency where it sticks together). Then put some chicken mixture into a raw tortilla and roll and place in an oiled oven resistant pan with some sauce on the bottom. Continue until you finish the bottom row. Then cover it with sauce and cheese. I repeat another layer on top since Paul likes it stacked. Cover it with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (make sure the cheese is all melted). Eat it with a fried egg. Yummy.
Paul says: It’s kind of weird that both my mother and Lee make enchiladas that elicit in me an emotional reaction. Even though they are wildly different, they bring a gluttonous tear to my eye every time that I eat them. They are like love with an egg on top.