Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Sheila Lukins All Around the World Cookbook" - Chicken Picadillo Enchiladas

Date I made this recipe: May 5, 2009 (Cinco de Mayo)

Sheila Lukins All Around the World Cookbook by Sheila Lukins
Published by: Workman Publishing Inc.
ISBN: 1-56305-237-7 © 1994
Recipe: Chicken Picadillo Enchiladas – p. 384

A few years ago when my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, my mother decided she wanted the family to gather in, of all places, Ashland, Wisconsin. Yes, I know—I was just as stunned as you are! But my folks had been to a hotel they liked, a restored Victorian that had a breakfast buffet that my mother salivated over, and so we all hustled up there for a big celebration.

Come to find out that the restaurant was no longer owned by the hotel and no longer served the breakfast buffet my mother dreamed of. Instead, we got packaged cereal, juice boxes and bad coffee.

Now my mother was not one to complain but you’ve never seen a woman so dejected in your life. And so after finishing the horrible fare, she gave a deep, heavy sigh and said “Well that was disappointing.”

I thought we’d about fall over with laughter. But the lady had a point. When you have your mouth all watered up for something and it doesn’t meet expectations, it’s hard to recover.

Sadly, this recipe was a disappointment, partly because of me and partly, I think, because of the recipe itself.

I’ve made picadillo before and talked about it in this blog and this one, sans the tortilla wraps and the sauce was pretty tasty. In fact, I could have eaten the entire bowl without batting an eye. Traditionally, picadillo is served with rice and that’s the way I’ve always eaten it. But that’s not the recipe I selected and so I made it as directed – well, almost.

Sheila’s recipe said to use a marinara sauce and included a recipe for it in this book (p. 302). But to my estimation, that recipe, an Italian concoction containing oregano, basil, tomatoes and wine, should have been used for spaghetti, not for Mexican food. And using a prepared sauce as an alternative didn’t sound much better. And so I went with Plan B – use canned tomato sauce that was doctored up. And might I just pause here to say – yuck!! (In other words, don’t do this at home). The cheese toping didn’t fare much better. All in all, I was doing great until we came to the enchilada portion of our program!

Now Sheila Lukins is no slouch in the kitchen, having co-authored the famous Silver Palate Cookbook and The New Basics (both of which I have and love) but I’m not so sure I’d have pared a sweet filling with a tangy tomato sauce toping. And so today, the day after I made this dish, I performed “surgery” on my enchiladas, taking out the meat (which I will then mix with rice) and chucking the rest. Yes, I hate wasting food but it was either that or the entire thing had to go and that would have been wrong (and the voice of my late mother yelling “Oh Ann Ma-rie!!!” would have been too much for me).

And so it’s up to you but I guess if you were going to be true to the recipe as written, then you need to use a prepared Italian sauce such as Prego or Barilla. That doesn’t fly with my palate but everyone is different.

In the meantime, I’m going to get out my rice cooker and go to town on the delicious picadillo filling!

Chicken Picadillo Enchiladas – makes 16 enchiladas or 8 entrĂ©e servings
3 T olive oil
½ cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
½ cup diced (1/2 inch) red bell pepper
6 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
¼ cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 tablespoons drained tiny capers
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups cooked shredded chicken meat
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 cups Marinara Sauce (p. 302 of her book) or other prepared tomato sauce
16 large flour tortillas (about 8 inches in diameter)
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Spread 2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a large shallow baking dish (or use 2 medium-size baking dishes each large enough to hold 8 enchiladas).

Spoon ¼ cup of the picadillo 1 inch from the edge of a flour tortilla. Roll up and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Continue with the remaining tortillas and picadillo.

Pour the remaining 4 cups sauce evenly over the enchiladas, then sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top. Bake until the top is slightly browned and the cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bought Sheila Luken's All around the World cookbook years ago and pulled it off the shelf yesterday to find this incredible recipe...I served it many years ago after a fabulous trip to Merida, Yucatan and wanted to throw a big party for friends. This particular dish got many compliments...The Margherita's were delicious and needless to say, a good time was had by all. I am thrilled to find the recipe again after so many years.