Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

My dear friend Addie loves pumpkin everything. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin colored hats--she is in heaven when fall arrives.

Just the other day, she was lamenting the disappearance of pumpkin both at Starbucks and everywhere else. I tried to find her a pumpkin muffin at Au Bon Pain the other morning and found she was right.

Thankfully, I keep a can of pumpkin puree in the cupboard at all times, as one never knows when a muffin craving will sneak up on me. When I saw this recipe in Everyday Food's new book, Great Food Fast, highlighting pumpkin as a savory flavor, I was curious to try it again. The best thing we ate in Lesotho, in my opinion, was roasted pumpkin. When combined with mashed potatoes, it was heavenly.

It is also true that I love enchiladas. Having the chicken already on hand, I decided to try it.

It was surprisingly good--with a little salt. I under seasoned the dish in all regards, as it lacked both salt and heat. I regretfully de-seeded the jalapeno chile and forgot to season the sauce before baking. The pumpkin sauce ended up tasting a little bland by my standards, but done right, I think this could be a real winner. And perhaps satisfy Addie's love of pumpkin past the fall.

Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
from Great Food Fast
Serves 4
1/2 roast or rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
4 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno chile, quartered
1 teaspoon chili powder (though I added more, and some cumin)
2 1/2 cups water
8 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) grated sharp white cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the scallions. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. In a blender, puree the pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper until smooth. Pour 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of an 8" square baking dish.
3. Lay the tortillas on a work surface; mound the chicken mixture on half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Roll up each tortilla into a tight log; place seam side down over the sauce in the baking dish.
4. Pour the remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with cheese. Place the dish on a baking sheet; bale until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Everyday Food mentions that you can assemble this dish up to 8 hours ahead of time, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to bake. Just add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

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