This One’s For My Sister

So I was on the phone with Shar trying to juggle a few chores in the kitchen, among them getting the Enchilada Casserole out of the oven, and giving Shar the play-by-play.  The prince had interrupted a few times, checking to see if it was ready and to ask if I was STILL ON THE PHONE.  YES I’M STILL ON THE PHONE, if the phone had glued itself magically/tragically to my ear I would have given my left forearm some badly need rest.

So Shar says, “ooh, Mark (her own royal progeny) would love to eat at your house.”  Well, yes of course.  Young men who don’t know how to cook want to eat wherever there are second helpings, and if you’re serving beer they’ll bring their friends too.

But this is one of the prince’s favorite meals, and it’s a real fridge-and-pantry-cleaner.  Don’t tell the prince I said that.

Enchilada Casserole

Two chicken breasts: start poaching them in four cups of water, in a fairly large sauce pan.  When they’re done, pull them out, let them cool on a plate, and strain the broth (use a fine mesh strainer if you have it) into a big bowl or stylish vessel of your choice

Half a stick of butter: wipe out the now empty saucepan with a paper towel, and melt the butter over medium high heat.  When foaming add

Quarter cup of flour:  using a whisk, stir this into the hot butter and stir for a minute, then add

The reserved poaching liquid: add it a couple tablespoons at a time, letting it absorb and seize up before you add more liquid, and stop at about two cups added.  Toss the remainder of the broth (unless you’re super thrifty then freeze it for another use) then add

A 10 oz can of enchilada sauce: this adds a ton of flavor, a bit of spice, and a nice pink color, then add

Dairy:  some milk, or the last bit of half and half, or the third cup of heavy cream leftover that you didn’t know what to do with, or the smidge of sour cream you don’t want to waste.  This is where you start tasting the sauce and adding

A ton of cheese: NOT the time to use the blue cheese, but a lot of other nuggets will do.  Just shred up your last bits of cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella, swiss– if you have a small hunk of cream cheese, smush it and toss it in.  A few dessicated wrapped slices of store brand american?  They will love this pool.  I used at least a pound of cheese.  Maybe lots more, I’m not sure and I wasn’t even drinking…that much.  (This is where you can turn the oven on to 350 if you’re sober and can set a timer and do other things, 400 if you’re drinking and you PROMISE to stay in the kitchen and not email or start laundry in the basement and forget the timer and the casserole).  Just keep tasting, salt it if need be (likely not) and keep stirring, then add

The shredded or chopped reserved chicken: now the thing looks like something, like a rich stew or a thin buffalo chicken dip.  You’re tempted to pour it into small bowls with little endive leaves as garnish but you are not done until you line a not-quite-as-big-as-a-9×13-inch-pan-so-if-you-have-something-smaller-but-not-too-small-a pan with

Crushed tortilla chips: how much is up to you.  I would say for a deep 11 inch round casserole I used about half a 13 oz bag of chips, had the prince crush them (I was on the phone, after all, and that crushing shit is NOISY), then used about half to line the pan before I poured half the saucy mass over it, followed by the remainder of the chip crumbs, followed by the rest of the stewy stuff, followed by

Yet more cheese: stop judging, I’m trying to make the prince’s casserole dreams come true.  A modest half pound of shredded cheddar, like Diana used the night she and William went to Target and picked out Pokemon sheets for his big boy bed (it could’ve happened, you don’t know).  It then goes into the pre-heated oven for half an hour or more.  When it’s bubbly and attractive, take it out.  It will be runny, soupy, or gloopy, depending on how thick your sauce was, how much cheese you used, and how many tortilla chips you crushed.  There’s nothing attractive about this, it’s just easy and good.

Addendum: when you add the chicken, add any leftover bits you want to get rid of that won’t offend: corn, black beans, green chiles, cooked red or green pepper or onion, black olives, jalapenos, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini.





2 thoughts on “This One’s For My Sister

  1. I was pleased when I checked in and saw a new post. And one with a great recipe, no less! I make chicken enchiladas, too, similar recipe (maybe not as much cheese – my mistake!) but I do use tortillas and roll them. I like the idea of the chips. Do they get (excuse the term) soggy, or stay crisp?
    I also had a great mental image of you cooking, talking to Shar all the while. Took me back, give her my best. I think Mark is about 8 in my mind – obviously no longer the case, huh? xo P.S. made me think of sponge candy, too

    1. Thanks Kate– the chips smush in so they’re not distinct, definitely not crunchy, more like couscous or risotto– Also, Shar is coming for Thanksgiving and bringing sponge candy! Wish you could be here to have some with us!

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