Saturday, September 4, 2010

Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style

Working our way down our “bucket list” of Sunday dinners, we reach enchiladas – on precisely the same week that Laura decides she wants to cook something “more involved.” And so here we have Rick Bayless’ Enchiladas Especiales. These chicken enchiladas are covered in a cream sauce that’s a vibrant green from roasted poblanos and fresh spinach. While there were quite a few steps, none of them seemed difficult. I like spending time in the kitchen anyway. The result was one amazing dinner. The enchiladas were rich and cheesy and chickeny – As good as I could get in any Mexican restaurant.

Let me just say that this is the best dish of food I've eaten in a while!  I don't think that I'll ever be able to eat enchiladas in a restaurant after this.  They were DE-LI-CIOUS!  The poblano peppers gave the green sauce just a little bit of kick in the background.  And there's spinach!  While the enchiladas were "involved" as far as steps went, it wasn't like we had to do some weird cooking method or anything.  They were easy and straight-forward.

So, if you're looking to wow your guests with a dish that tastes like you spent all afternoon in the kitchen, make this dish.  The best part is that you can make the enchiladas ahead of time, clean up your dishes (you'll have a few), then throw them in the oven as your guests arrive.  Your kitchen will be clean and you'll be relaxing knowing that deliciousness awaits.

Stuffed Pork Chops

It was one of those weeks where we started with an idea and went off in search of our own recipes.

I tackled Emeril Lagasse’s Homemade Andouille-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Double-Cut Pork Chops with Awesome Ham Hock Gravy. Four kinds of pig on one plate? Yep- I went there! Firstly, I did NOT make my own andouille sausage. Other than that, I think I followed the recipe to a T. A couple of things: the stuffing to me was lacking in flavor. The andouille seemed wasted and superfluous; the cornbread stayed grainy; it just wasn’t very interesting. Next, the amount of bacon I was supposed to wrap these chops in? WOW. My saute pan was a pool of bacon fat and I had to pour most of it out before I went into the oven. About half the bacon would have been plenty rich. BUT the star of the show - The Ham Hock Gravy - OH MAN was that ever a winner! Absolutely delicious. I probably won’t bother with much else of this recipe again, but I’ll need to find places to put this gravy in the future.

Well, the recipe I used was supposed to be an easier version of the one Meredith used, but honestly, whoever wrote it neglected to reread it.  (Yeah, this is the part where Meredith tells me that if I read the recipe more than once, I might have noticed it.)  Moving right along . . .

The pork chops were really good.  They were actually better the second time around.  I find that happens a lot.  I always seem to enjoy food the next day so much more.  My only issue was that there was way too much bacon on the pork chops.  I'm not convinced if the bacon was used to flavor or to hide the messy stuffing job.  Look, I'm the only person on the planet that thinks that while bacon does have it's place in my life (BLTs, with eggs, maybe even on the occasional burger), I don't think it needs to be EVERYWHERE.  This might be one of those times.  I feel like everywhere I look, a baconista (just watch that word catch on) is putting bacon in cupcakes or some other similarly inappropriate place.  Wait, I was talking about pork chops, wasn't I?

The end result was very good.  I enjoyed the pork chop.  I'm glad we made them but I'm still not over the bacon!