Monday, December 01, 2008
A Man's Gotta Do What a Man's Gotta Do
The ongoing crisis in the Middle East, the struggle between mainland China and Taiwan and now the flare-up between Pakistan and India over the recent terrorist attacks? They've got nothing on the potential fireworks involved in negotiating holiday meals with the family. The delicacy and maneuvering required as must-have side dishes are put forward for consideration, old family recipes are tossed in (and out) and dietary restrictions are figured into the mix would have Hillary grabbing for her migraine pills.
Like when Dave learned we were going to my brother's for Thanksgiving dinner. Normally an invitation to his and Ms. W-'s place isn't even a question due to the depth of his liquor cabinet and the quality of his cooking. But for this occasion Dave's reaction was a look of disbelief and a cry of "But I was planning to smoke the turkey in the smoker!"
After assuring him that he could smoke a turkey the next day, leaving plenty of leftovers for turkey sandwiches and his beloved turkey enchiladas, he immediately switched into research mode, looking up which wood charcoal to use as well as the complex calculations involved in getting the temperature and timing just right.
Suffice it to say that not only did we have a wonderful holiday meal with the family that included incredible cocktails and wines, a whole grilled turkey and some great side dishes, but the next day's smoking produced a bronzed beauty (top photo) and some rocking turkey enchiladas (left).
Another year, another negotiation successfully concluded. Now to start putting out feelers for Christmas.
Dave's Favorite Turkey Enchiladas
For the sauce:
6 dried ancho chiles, seeded and torn into pieces
2 small hot red chiles, seeded and torn into pieces (optional)
3 1/2 c. boiling water
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. (6-8) garlic cloves
4 tsp. oregano
3 Tbsp. paprika (I use 1 Tbsp. smoked Spanish pimenton and 2 Tbsp. regular paprika)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
For the enchiladas:
4-6 c. cooked turkey, chopped
2 c. grated Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 green onions, chopped
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. sauce (recipe above)
Salt to taste
8 flour tortillas
Place the torn chiles in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Soak for 30 min. until they are soft and pliable. Drain them, reserving the soaking water, and place them in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add remaining ingredients and 1/2 c. soaking liquid and process till smooth, gradually adding the rest of the soaking water. Pour into saucepan and heat to simmer, then remove from heat.
Mix turkey, cheese, onions, sour cream and sauce in large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Pour 1/2 c. of sauce in bottom of 9" by 12" baking dish and spread evenly over bottom of dish. Put 1/8 of enchilada mixture down center of one tortilla and roll, placing it seam-side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture and tortillas. Pour sauce over top to cover thinly (there should be sauce left over). Bake 40 min. in 350° oven. Serve leftover sauce on side or save for use in huevos rancheros, tacos, etc.