Welcome to February! Did you know there's a big holiday this month?
I think it's silly, but I would because it's right after my, and my kids' birthday's. Holiday overload one might say.
However! I love chocolate and that is involved with this holiday. I also like the idea of having to celebrate something in the middle of winter, when the nights are cold and long. People need morale boosters in times like these and I'll jump on board with Valentine's Day if only to keep my own spirits up.
I also like cooking and my Guy knows that I'll be looking to use chocolate in creative ways. Though I won't do a boat load of chocolate chili like a few years past, because even though it was good, chocolate chili isn't good for 7 days in a row, mark my words.
I love Mexican food; the flavor, the texture, the gluten-freeness. And, being from California I also happen to find some great Mexican fare no matter which part of the state I travel to.
Ibarra is a Mexican chocolate para mesa, or table chocolate, a product of Chocolatera de Jalisco. Ibarra is typically used for hot chocolate. In my family we use warm milk combining with Ibarra into a blender, resulting in a frothy chocolate perfection that we usually sip on the kitchen floor because we can't move until we drink the entire cup.
And in this meal we combine Ibarra with dried chili's and spices to make a quick mole sauce for enchiladas.
I would eat this for 7 days in a row.
If you have kids who are worried about spice, I have one of those myself, then omit some of the chiles in the ingredients list.
Also, a side of rice and beans do a great job of muting the intensity of the sweet pepper sauce. Make sure to have those warming as you prepare the sauce and tortillas.
8 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 oz. Mexican chocolate, like Ibarra, roughly chopped
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 saltine crackers (gluten free crackers work fine too) or 2 ½ tbsp. bread crumbs
1 clove garlic
1 whole clove
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. canola oil
2 cups queso añejo, grated, plus more to garnish
½ small yellow onion, minced
12 corn tortillas
Make the red chile sauce: Heat chiles with your vent on or windows open, in a 12” skillet over high heat, and cook, turning as needed, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer chiles to a blender with chocolate, oregano, cinnamon, crackers, garlic, clove, and 1 ½ cups boiling water, and let sit for 5 minutes. (If you don’t let it sit for 5 minutes, the water will be too hot to blend – which I very gracefully found out – ahem not gracefully at all) Puree until smooth, and then pour sauce through a fine strainer into a bowl.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 2-qt saucepan over medium-high heat, and add chile sauce; cook, stirring often, until reduced and thickened, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.
Assemble enchiladas: combine the queso añejo and onion in a small bowl and set aside. Pour oil to a depth of 2” in a 6-qt dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350.
Using tongs, grasp all the tortillas in a stack and submerge in oil, swirling in oil until slightly fried and pliable, about 15 seconds. Remove from oil and set aside on a plate to cool.
Dip each tortilla in chile sauce until completely coated. Transfer to plate and top with 3 tbsp. cheese filling; roll up like a cigar and sprinkle with more cheese. Serve immediately with rice and beans.
I made mine with boiled chicken as well, rolled up with the cheese filling, and the household approved.
Happy February friends! I hope it is filled with appreciation and love. Will you be cooking with chocolate this year? What's on the menu?