Rick Bayless’ Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas with Spinach and Mushrooms

This recipe is inspired by Rick Bayless’ “Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas with Spinach and Mushrooms.”  I have been a devout fan of Chef Bayless and dutifully watched him on Bravo’s Top Chef Master’s, Season 1.  While Chef Bayless is known for lengthy, authentic Mexican recipes, and while I love his attention to detail, it’s not always practical for me to come home after a full day of work and spend two hours cooking.  So when I discovered Chef Bayless had written Mexican Everyday, I immediately ordered a copy through Amazon.com.  The recipes in this cookbook are adapted to the American way of life – meaning easy, ingredients that are more readily available, and several “riffs” for recipes are noted.  I love how Chef Bayliss writes a detailed introduction to each recipe and includes variations, too.  Packed full of detailed instructions and photos of Chef Bayless creating his masterpieces, this cookbook radiates a marvelous simplicity.  If you love Mexican food and want to feel inspired to eat healthier, this is a perfect cookbook to compliment your collection.

While not one to intentionally mar a classic, there were a few ways I reinvented this recipe so it was more practical for my locale and lifestyle.

If you have never tried cotija cheese, it’s well worth seeking out.  It has a distinct saltiness that adds brilliant flavor to any Mexican dish.

Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas with Spinach and Mushrooms
Inspired by Rick Bayless
(Please note that I have altered the original recipe.  To view the original recipe, click here.)

3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 jalapenos and 2 serrano chiles, stems removed
10 to 12 medium tomatillos (about 1 1/2 pounds), husked, rinsed, and quartered
3/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
16 ounces button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 large vidallia onion, thinly sliced
10 ounces spinach, stems removed
1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded cooked chicken, or cubed ham (optional)
Coarse salt
12 corn tortillas
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled Mexican cotija

Tomatillo Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8-1/2×11 baking dish.

With a food processor running, drop garlic cloves and chiles through feed tube one at a time, pureeing each piece before the next addition. Add tomatillos and cilantro; process until smooth.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add puree; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has reduced to the consistency of a thick tomato sauce, about 7 minutes. Add chicken broth; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

Mushroom, Onion & Spinach Filling

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring constantly, until they begin to brown. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach and chicken, if using; cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Set aside.

Microwave tortillas for 30 seconds; cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

Tortillas in Tomatillo Sauce

Stir sour cream into sauce; season with salt. Holding tortilla by one edge, dip into sauce, and then lay it on a cutting board. Spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons filling down the center, roll it up, and lay seam-side down in 8-1/2×11 baking dish.. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Top enchiladas with reamining tomatillo sauce, sprinkle with Mexican cheese blend, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, garnish cotija, chopped onion (optional), and cilantro.  Serve immediately.



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