My husband and I have some friends who have an annual cookout on the first Saturday in May. They call it their Cinco de Mayo party, though it only occasionally falls on the fifth of May. Still, there’s always a bounty of chips, guacamole, carne asada and other appropriately celebratory foods.
It’s always a challenge to come up with something to bring that will please a number of palates, will transport well (they live about an hour away) and is in keeping with the theme of the day. In past years, I’ve brought hand-chopped coleslaw with a cumin dressing, a vat of homemade pico de gallo and jars of my favorite roasted corn salsa. All good options, but this year I was ready to up my game a little.
I’ve been thinking that enchiladas would be a good way to go, but I didn’t have a recipe I really loved. Happily, there was a wealth of recipes to be found in the Food Network archives. I settled on Tyler Florence’s Chicken Enchiladas With Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa. I find that chicken is nearly always a crowd-pleaser, and I liked the idea of making the sauce from scratch.
These enchiladas are definitely a multi-step process, but they’re easy to make once you get an assembly line of sorts established on your kitchen counter (they go even faster if you enlist help). The finished product is an enchilada that is tangy, cheesy and pleasantly spicy. They are just the thing for your Cinco de Mayo Weekender!
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— If you’re going to be in a hurry when you assemble your enchiladas, do yourself a favor and make the salsa a day or two ahead. It will keep in the fridge, and it will make things easier to have it already made.
— Speaking of salsa, if your family isn’t big into spice, use just one jalapeno instead of the two that the recipe calls for. To reduce the heat even further, make sure to reduce the seeds before you blend.
— Don’t pack your enchiladas too tightly into the pan. If you press them excessively, it can be hard to get them out of the pan to serve.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.