I saw this recipe in Food & Wine magazine, with the photo accompanying the article food styled to perfection. Each bean was meticulously placed, and the enchilada stack was a veritable tower. In contrast, my stack looks humble indeed. And I made it EXACTLY as the recipe specified. But never mind, I enjoyed eating my stack very much. And not to worry, even though the recipe lists chilies as an ingredient, it's not hot at all. The chilies in question are ancho and poblanos, which add flavor but no heat. The combination of taste and texture makes this a very satisfying dish. Two corn tortillas are layered with cheese, then baked until slightly crispy with the cheese melting. Then each stack goes into a shallow bowl with the stew ladled on top, bringing the crisped tortilla, savory stew, creamy cheese and hearty broth all together. Very, very good.
The rest of the preparation wasn't photographed because my cousin called me and I was juggling cooking the tortillas and talking to her. I think it shows fabulous physical coordination to fry corn tortillas, sandwich them with grated cheese in the middle, and bake them in the oven while commiserating with my Cuz. I may not be able to make a decent recipe index for this blog, but I can cook and talk on the phone with the best of them!
If you want your stack to look higher, you could stack three or four tortillas, instead of the two I used. But, that might make it difficult to eat the stack.
Enchilada Stacks with Chicken-and-White-Bean Stew (Food & Wine)
Allow time for the beans to soak overnight for this hearty stew.
1/2 pound dried white beans (about 1 cup), such as Great Northern (Or use canned)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic, plus 7 unpeeled whole cloves
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded roasted chicken (about 3/4 pound)
1 large poblano chile
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
12 corn tortillas
About 1/2 pound shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (2 1/2 cups)
1. MAKE THE STEW: In a bowl, soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain the beans and put them in a saucepan. Add the stock, onion, minced garlic, bay leaf, oregano, thyme and 1 1/2 cups water.
2. Heat a small skillet. Add the cumin seeds and cook over low heat just until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and crush to a coarse powder; add to the beans. Add the ancho to the skillet and toast until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds per side. Cut the chile into 4-inch pieces and add to the beans. Cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy, about 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt about 10 minutes before the beans are done. Pick out and discard the bay leaf and chile pieces.
3. Toast the unpeeled garlic in the skillet over moderate heat, turning, until softened and blackened in spots, about 12 minutes. Peel and mince the garlic, then stir it into the beans. Stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until heated through; keep warm.
4. MAKE THE ENCHILADAS: Roast the poblano over a gas flame or under the broiler until charred all over. Transfer the chile to a bowl, cover and let cool. Peel, seed and chop the chile.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and poblano and cook over high heat until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in the skillet until shimmering. Using tongs, dip both sides of a tortilla into the hot oil just until softened, about 10 seconds. Pat dry with paper towels and set the tortilla on a work surface. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
6. Arrange 6 of the tortillas on a large baking sheet and top with the onion mixture and half of the cheese. Cover with the remaining 6 tortillas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about
10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Transfer the enchiladas to large plates, top with the hot stew and serve.
7. Garnish with cilantro--and serve with a good bottle of beer,