Most Viewed Stories
Enchilada sauces transform leftover turkey
Anyone wondering what to do with leftover holiday turkey (or chicken) might consider making different kinds of enchiladas. I didn't even wait for leftovers; I simply made a variety of enchiladas for a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year.
The idea for that dinner began to evolve when I prepared chocolate gravy for a recent food column and kept thinking of mole poblano — a rich Mexican sauce made with cocoa, chilies, peanuts and numerous other ingredients — and how incredibly delicious it tastes with turkey or chicken.
I grew up eating my mother's chicken mole and was taken aback when I called her about a year or so ago to get her recipe and she told me that (gasp!) she had always purchased a jar of prepared mole to which she added a bit of peanut butter to cut the sweetness.
So I went in search of an authentic mole recipe but decided I didn't want to try it after all because all of the recipes I found use at least 20 to 30 ingredients. Bread crumbs, sesame seeds, chicken or turkey broth, tomatoes, raisins, onion, garlic, cinnamon, cloves and anise are among the ingredients that give the sauce its unique nutty flavor and thick, grainy texture.
It's been said that one should never go to the grocery store when hungry, but I went grocery shopping last week while craving mole. Upon seeing all of the cleverly merchandised ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I felt daunted by the thought of spending hours in the kitchen preparing a huge dinner this year.
So I called upon my inner non-conformist and decided to forgo tradition this Thanksgiving for something more simple but just as delicious: turkey mole enchiladas.
Then, feeling especially rebellious (and might I add lazy?), I decided not to even bother with cooking a turkey. I just bought a fully cooked rotisserie chicken instead.
My mouth watered as I thought of how good the chicken would taste with the nutty, chocolatey mole, and I was reminded of the Reese's Pieces commercials that used to air when I was a teen.
The series of commercials showed a person who was eating chocolate colliding with another eating peanut butter. One would say, “You got chocolate on my peanut butter!” And the other would say, “You got peanut butter on my chocolate!”
It is generally believed that mole originated with the ancient Aztecs. So as I put a carton of mole in my shopping cart, I imagined an Aztec noble eating a mixture of chocolate and chilies, bumping into another eating mashed peanuts and saying, “You got peanut butter on my chocolate and chilies!”
Although prepared mole is good as is, I like to spice mine up with either red chili sauce or green chili sauce. Being the fickle Libra that I am, I couldn't decide on which to use this time, so I bought a can each of red and green enchilada sauce.
On Thanksgiving Day, I soft fried corn tortillas, filled them with a mixture of shredded chicken, grated cheeses and minced onion and rolled them. Then I poured mole over some, green sauce over others and red sauce over the remaining ones, added cheese and heated them until the cheese melted.
Placing the mole enchilada in the center allowed the rich sauce to blend with either the medium-hot red sauce on one side, or the tangy green sauce on the other.
My guests enjoyed the enchiladas, which may become a traditional holiday meal at my house. Next time, however, I might make different fillings, such as beef, cheese and chopped olives, and let guests choose their own fillings and sauces.
We could wind up with olive enchiladas and red sauce, chicken enchiladas with green sauce or beef enchiladas with mole sauce. The possibilities are not endless, but they're sure to be delicious.
Makes 2 dozen
4 cups cooked poultry (deboned and shredded)
1 medium sweet onion, minced
3 cups Mexican-style four cheeses, shredded
1 cup canola oil
24 corn tortillas
1 16-oz. can Las Palmas red enchilada sauce
1 16-oz. can Las Palmas green enchilada sauce
2 8-oz. cartons Dona Maria's Ready-to-Eat Mole
Heat poultry, mix with onion and 1 cup of cheese and set aside. Heat each type of sauce in three separate dishes and set aside. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Soft fry each tortilla in hot oil, and set aside.
Place about a tablespoon of filling at edge of each tortilla, roll it up and place with seam down in individual microwave-proof dish. Pour desired sauce over each enchilada. Sprinkle cheese over enchiladas. Heat in microwave oven until cheese melts.