So much stuff to write about! Good news and bad news.
First the bad news. As is my tradition, I tried to make sweet rolls for conference. They bombed. Badly. I could NOT get them to rise, and they ended up baking up as inedible bricks. Bleah. I double-checked my recipe, and I’d followed it right. I also checked it against some other recipes in books and it seemed reasonable to work. So, I have no idea why it flopped.
But, later that day, I made a chicken enchilada soup, sort of in the style of chili’s restaurant. THAT turned out GREAT!
Here’s the recipe:
Dutch Oven Chicken Enchilada Soup
12” Dutch Oven
20+ coals underneath
½ c vegetable oil
1 chicken bullion cube
2 medium onions, diced
2 t minced garlic
1-3 lbs boneles chicken, cubed or cut into small chunks
2 t ground cumin
2 t chili powder
½ t cayenne pepper
1 jalapeno, sliced thin
Liberal pour lemon juice
2 C Masa harina
1 quart water
2-3 more quarts water
2-3 chopped tomatoes
½ lb processed American cheese, cubed
I started out by putting my 12” dutch oven on a lot of coals, about 20 or so. I put in some oil and let it heat a little while I gathered all the ingredients in the first list. Once assembled, I dumped them in and started them sautéing in the oil.
The next step is to prep the masa. This is corn masa, the same stuff used to make tamales and things. I mixed the two cups with a quart of water, and stirred out all the lumps. Actually, I got out my pastry cutter and used that for a while, too. Once the lumps were out, I added that to the pot. I’m keeping the pot covered this whole time, opening it up only to stir, because it’s cold out, and I’ve found I can keep it hotter inside if I do it that way.
Once that was bubbling, I added more water. I don’t really know how much, I just added enough to fill the dutch oven. Not to the brim, but close. I also wanted it to have the texture of a really thick soup, not a paste.
Finally, I added the tomatoes and the plastic cheese. I really don’t like using velveeta. I shudder even to type that. My wife insisted that it was the only way it would melt smoothly. Later, a friend of mine said that there was probably enough masa to keep the cheese smooth. I don’t know. I just have this aversion to “pasteurized process American cheese food substitute”. I mean, how far from “cheese” can you get?
But in the end, the result was what I was looking for. It tasted great!
As it was simmering, I put another 15-20 coals under an upturned dutch oven lid, and I heated up a stack of flour tortillas. The way I love eating this soup is to scoop it up in a torn tortilla and eat them both.
Now, this recipe makes a LOT of soup. And, it’s also VERY filling, so unless you’re feeding an army, there will be lots left over for lunches. I’ve found that when I reheat it, I need to mix in some more water to get it back to the consistency of a soup, and not so much of a gel.
Oh! And I promised another bit of good news…
Brendon, my budding chef, made fruit smoothies tonight. Ice, milk, grapes, sugar, all like he likes it, but he couldn’t find the cinnamon to spice it up. So, on a whim, he tries ground dried mint leaves. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe the taste! It had a delicious, and almost indescribable aftertaste. A bit minty, yes, but with the grapes very different! It has made me start to rethink all of my rules regarding “sweet” herbs and spices.
He’s good, that one…