Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shrimp Enchildas Rancheros

Your friends will love you for preparing this.


2 pounds wild shrimp with heads (You probably won't need this much.)
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
onion powder
black pepper
white pepper
1 pound Poblano Chile
1 pound tomatillo
1 onion diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
3 cups shrimp broth *
3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1 cup black olive sliced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
10 flour tortilla


Peel, remove heads, and devein shrimp. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, red, white, and black pepper. Set aside until sauce is ready. Make a stock from the peels and heads. I use a potato masher to squeeze fats, brains, etc., out of them. Go for it. This is your flavor base.

Roast chiles over open flame one at a time until blackened all over. Place in plastic bag and allow to steam in their own heat for about 15 minutes. Peel and clean out the seeds and membranes. Cut into a large dice.

Peel and wash tomatillos and parboil for about 5 minutes. Cut up onion and garlic. Place onion, garlic, tomatillos, salt, and chiles into a blender and add a bit of broth. Blend until a coarse consitency is achieved - - about like the consistency of a regular red salsa you'd find on the store shelf. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender.

Place in a pot along with the rest of the broth and bay leaf and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Blend cornstarch with equal amount of water and add to sauce. Set aside and cover. Let sit for about 15 minutes or so.

To assemble enchiladas get cheeses and shrimp ready to go. Pan fry the shrimp in butter until just barely done.

Heat up a dry skillet over low to medium heat. Place a flour tortilla in skillet and turn frequently until warmed up and softened a bit. (Or to make this easier, just zap a tortilla for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)

Drop into green sauce and use spoon to ladle sauce on top of tortilla. You want to get the tortilla coated with the sauce on both sides.

Carefully transfer tortilla to a plate where you'll build the enchilada. It helps if you have an extra set of hands. One to do the clean work, and one to do the messy part.

The messy partner then places three or four shrimp across the middle of the enchilada and then a bit of both cheeses. Roll up the enchilada and place seam side down in a baking pan or shallow Corningware.

Continue until pan is filled with rolled enchiladas. Ladle green sauce over all making sure to cover ends of the enchiladas. Garnish with some black olives and a bit of grated cheese. Bake uncovered in a medium oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Be careful not to scorch.

Serve up with sour cream if desired. Good with Spanish rice and refried beans and a salad. Be sure and have some good cold beer and some Mexican music on hand.


*For years I made this sauce with chicken broth. It works just fine. But believe me -- once you do this with real home-made shrimp stock, you will never want to go back to the chicken stock.
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