Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Creamy Shrimp Enchiladas

If your New Year’s resolution was to drop a few pounds – stop reading now. If your doctor has advised you to cut back on cholesterol and saturated fat – read no further. If you follow a low calorie diet – come back tomorrow, I implore you. If you are still reading, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

For those of you still with me, you are in for a treat. A gooey, creamy, cheesey treat. We’re talking butter and cream and cheese and sour cream and more cheese. Do you feel your arteries clogging yet? Seriously, this may be one of the most fattening main dishes I’ve ever made. But I couldn’t resist. It just sounded so darn good. And the freezing temperatures make me want hearty, comfort food. (They also make me wonder what the heck is up with Tennessee’s weather. Aren’t we in the South??)

These enchiladas really are worth the splurge. They are packed with flavor from the peppers, onion, and spices. The shrimp add little pops of sweet flavor, and the cheesey sauce holds everything together for perfect, belly-warming mouthfuls. The recipe is easy enough to make it a good one for weeknight dinners, but it’s also special enough to be used for entertaining. Either way, you’ll enjoy it. Even if you do feel obligated to eat nothing but salad for the next three days.

Shrimp Enchiladas
Adapted from My Kitchen Café

1 cup bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 cup onion, minced, divided
6 T. unsalted butter, divided
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican 4-cheese blend. Monterey Jack would be great too.)
1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat okay)
1 lb. shrimp, raw or pre-cooked, peeled and deveined, tails removed
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained
8 large flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot or skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add bell pepper and 1/2 cup onion. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook for about a minute, until vegetables are coated and flour loses its raw flavor.

Add cream and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese. Stir until melted. Add sour cream, and stir to combine. Remove pot from heat.

If using raw shrimp:
In another pot or skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add remaining 1/2 cup minced onion and raw shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from pan, cool, and chop into small bite-size pieces. Return shrimp to pan with onions.

If using pre-cooked shrimp:
In another pot or skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add remaining 1/2 cup minced onion. Cook until slightly softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. While onion is cooking, chop shrimp into small bite-size pieces. Add chopped shrimp to pan with onions.

Add diced tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce to the shrimp.

Spoon 1/2 cup of the shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Roll up tightly and place into a greased 9x13 pan.

Spread remaining cheese sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the top.

(I got distracted at this point and sprinkled my shredded cheese directly onto the tortillas, then added the cheese sauce. This didn’t hurt the flavor, but it did keep me from getting crispy, golden brown cheese on the top of the baked dish. No harm, no foul, but I do love that crispy cheese.)

Bake enchiladas for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.
Makes 8 large enchiladas.

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