mise en place and shrimp-pepper jack enchiladas
Mise en place (pronounced miz ahn plas) literally “putting in place” is a French phrase defined as “everything in place.” As in, set up and ready to go. I can’t imagine relaxing and enjoying cooking without using this important technique, whether with entertaining or everyday meals. For instance, with this dish, I peeled, chopped, and measured everything in the morning, then later when it’s time to make dinner, I pull it out of the refrigerator (on a plate covered with plastic wrap) and just “throw it together.” For a large party or holiday, I prep everything and place the items in snack and sandwich size zip-lock bags a day or two ahead. If there are several dishes with many different components, just clip them together with either office clips or bag clips and label what dish the ingredients are for.
A question that comes up often is, “what is the difference between separated and divided in recipes?” Separated is always in reference to eggs – separating the white from the yolk. Divided is usually used in the ingredient list, as with this recipe, in reference to the onions and the cheese. A portion of the onions and cheese are used for the sauce and other portions are used for the shrimp filling, a final portion of the cheese is used for filling and then topping the enchiladas before baking. When writing recipes we use the word divided to give the reader a heads-up not to use all of the measured amount at one time.
Shrimp-Pepper Jack Enchiladas
3/4 cup red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
3/4 cup poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 1/4 cup diced onion, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash or two Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 tablespoon flour
3 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/2 cup yogurt (preferably Fage 0%, found at Trader Joe’s)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
2 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
10 (9-inch) whole-wheat or flavored flour tortillas
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add olive oil and swirl to coat pan, add red or yellow pepper, poblano pepper, and 3/4 cup of the onion and sauté until crisp-tender, three or four minutes. Stir in garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add oregano, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and half-and-half to blend. Mix in flour and stir for 2 or 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese; until melted. Add yogurt, stir to blend. Set the pepper-cheese sauce aside.
In another skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Sauté shrimp and remaining 1/2 cup onion until shrimp are just pink. Add chopped tomatoes and half of the cheese-pepper sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13x2-inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Divide shrimp mixture evenly between 10 tortillas. Sprinkle half of the remaining cheese on top. Roll up tightly. Arrange enchiladas seam side down in prepared baking dish. Spoon remaining pepper-cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with the last of the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.