Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shrimp Enchiladas

I was faced with a fridge full of misfit foods...all leftover from a recent party and I used the leftover cooked shrimp as my inspiration for this Coastal Mexican dish.

Here are my components:
Tortillas: I used flour tortillas because that is Jim's preference. I personally like corn tortillas for their distinct flavor and texture but I agree with Jim that corn tortillas always seem to fall apart after you add the enchilada sauce and flour tortillas seem to hold up better.

Filling: I used a combination of shrimp, chives, cream cheese, prepared verde salsa and avocado. Don't let my list limit you though. A lot of the seafood enchilada recipes I looked at online had a combination of shrimp and crab with some sort of binding like cheese or sour cream. If available, crawfish tails, often sold already cooked, would be fantastic here.

Sauce: I like to put sauce on top of my enchiladas before baking. Some people like to add sauce after the fact, it's all up to you. A jarred verde salsa could be used as a topping with a sprinkling of cojita cheese to add an authentic flavor. I really wanted an ooey gooey sauce so I made my own with butter, flour, cream, fontina cheese and some seasonings.

Let me show you what I did...

My shrimp was already cooked, so I simply gave it a rough chop. You could have started with raw shrimp and cooked them on the stove in some olive oil, salt and pepper...or get fancy and add some sort of spice or salsa to the shrimp while they cook to add a flavor boost!

I ended up with two cups of cooked and chopped shrimp. To that I added about a 1/2 cup of jarred salsa verde to give it some saucy consistency.

Next, I added chopped chives to the filling mixture (only because I had it and had no plans for them.)

This is probably 1/2 cup of chopped chives.

I had an avocado that I wanted to use up. I debated whether to slice it thinly and serve it on top of the enchilada, or slice it thinly and roll it neatly into each enchilada roll up...but ultimately I diced it up and added the pieces to my filling mixture.

Lastly I added 8 ounces of softened cream cheese.

Mix all the ingredients well and taste for seasoning. I added a pinch of salt to this.

To make the enchiladas, I took a flour tortilla and stuffed it down the center with heaping tablespoons of the shrimp and cream cheese mixture.

Roll like a cigar and line up in a baking dish. Sometimes a recipe will have you add sauce to the bottom of your baking dish first before layering in the enchiladas. This helps when you remove the enchiladas after baking...but it is not necessary. For me, I had not made the sauce yet so I laid the enchilada roll ups in there naked.

Lets talk abut my mornay (cheese) sauce. This has proven to be a very important kitchen technique for me because I use it over and over again. Bechamel sauce, also known as white sauce, is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine and is used in many cuisines.

Some research online led me to this list of classic sauces all made from the basic Béchamel sauce with additional ingredients added:

Mornay sauce (cheese)
Nantua sauce (crayfish, butter and cream)
Crème sauce (heavy cream)
Mustard sauce (prepared mustard seed)
Soubise sauce (finely diced onions that have been sweated in butter)
Cheddar cheese sauce (Cheddar cheese, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce)
Croque Monsieur (some variations)

The term "white sauce" or sauce blanche may also be applied to a simple sauce consisting only of milk and melted butter, without flour or spices.

A sweetened béchamel flavoured with rum, brandy or spices is a traditional accompaniment to steamed pudding such as Christmas Pudding.

To make a bechamel sauce, you need butter, flour, milk and salt. To make about three cups of sauce, melt five tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add four tablespoons of flour and stir with a whisk allowing it to heat and cook until the mixture turns a golden sandy color, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat four cups of milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and set aside until ready to use.

So now that you know how to make a bechamel sauce, let me show you what I did to make my Shrimp Enchilada Sauce!

In my heavy dutch oven I added about two tablespoons of butter. I would have rather used stick butter, but this soft spreadable butter was all I had on hand.

Next, I added two to three tablespoons of flour and stirred with a whisk moving it around until the flour cooks for about five minutes. Don't let it burn, just keep moving it around.

Next, I added 2% milk (yes, my picture shows whipping cream....but that was way too thick for what I wanted here.) Whisk whisk whisk after every addition.

I also added a small can of green chiles.

Next, I grated the fontina cheese, and add to the hot milk a handful at a time, whisking after each addition.

This will thicken quickly, drop the heat and taste for seasoning.
I had more shrimp filling than I needed, so I scooped it on top of my enchiladas. Alternatively I could have added this to my cheese sauce. Wouldn't that have made a wonderful dip for chips?

Next, I poured my cheese sauce over the top of the enchiladas.

Baked in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Topped with fresh cilantro.
YUM! These didn't last long in my house. They were meaty and full of flavor but the best part was the ooey gooey cheesy sauce.


  1. YUM! I want one now. So impressed that you made such a great meal with leftover stuff.

  2. "misfit foods" thats some funny stuff! they look amazingly delicious.
    Happy Holidays

  3. Oh my God. That looks so decadent and yummy.


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